Review: Ghost Songs by Andrew Demcak

It’s not easy being Todd Williams, a fourteen-and-a-half-year-old gay musical prodigy. The bullies, Bob and Ari, at his fancy private school make his life a living hell. Todd’s drunken, irresponsible mother, Eddie, constantly embarrasses him and puts his artistic future in jeopardy. And now, his best friend, Jennifer, who plays clarinet with him in the orchestra, isn’t speaking to him. Maybe Leroy, Todd’s friendly poltergeist, knows what’s going on with her. To top it off, he can no longer rely on Jennifer's help in the race to solve a puzzle that could lead to a buried treasure. Todd must learn to stand alone. He’s finding out that growing up is far scarier than he ever imagined.

It's hard not to root for Todd from the beginning. There's something very relatable and likeable about him being a teenage boy just trying to survive his high school years.

This is a very relationship and character driven story and all of the relationships in Todd's life are put to the test.

Todd and Jennifer are besties and regularly interact with their friendly poltergeist, Leroy. He makes his presence known, answers their questions and even protects them. Todd and Jennifer have a genuine friendship that, thankfully, survives some horrific events. Jennifer meets a guy, an older, hot guy. We all know how a teenage girl would react to that! Yeah, she was all about Paul. In my attempt to be spoiler free, I'm not going to go into great detail about what happened with this guy, but I was shocked to say the least. Shocked that the kids treated the situation (<- vague review is vague) with such flippancy. I was outraged and the kids did nothing!  I know, they were kids and didn't think they had anyone to turn to, but I still think they should have been more responsible.

Now Todd's relationship with his mother is a different story altogether. I was pleased with the turn of events in regards to his mom. So often we see either the villain parent or the hearts-and-rainbows-perfect parent. Eddie was neither, and she was both. She loved her son but needed help to show it and she got that help. Even though she drove me crazy, I can't help but appreciate her efforts.

Leroy. I would have loved more of Leroy and his ghostie shenanigans! Especially at the end. There was some buildup surrounding him, then it was just over and I wanted more.

I'm not even getting into the whole 'buried treasure' part. I thought it was random and weird. I could take it or leave it. Preferably, leave it.

The cover, title and even the blurb were very deceiving to me. I totally judge a book by its cover (I know I'm not the only one), so when I saw this I thought it would be a creeptastic, ghost, YA story. It was ghostie and YA, minus the creepy. I was bummed about that, to say the least. Shockingly, I was cool with the zero romance, but with a cover like that I was expecting to be staying awake all night with the lights on. Being that I'm a total wuss, if I didn't think it was scary, then I'm pretty sure nobody else would either.

I found myself constantly looking for more. In every scenario I was thinking 'This can't be all there is to it. There's got to be something else.' But no, that's all it ever was. I kept trying to read more into everything. I don't know why. But I think I was just looking for more of everything.

It was good. I liked it and found myself staying up late to finish and to find out what would happen with Todd and the people in his life. But in the end, it still left me wanting. I felt as though there was something missing. More that could have been explained. More page time with the ghosts. More of a resolution with Paul. Just... more.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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