The Ghost and the Goth

By Stacey Kade

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Hyperion, 2010

Genres:  Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, paranormal

Series: A Ghost and the Goth Novel; 1

ISBN: 9781423124870

Audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 281

Setting: Groundsboro (state not specified but the town is near Decatur, so it could be Illinois)

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: When the most popular girl in high school, Alona Dare,  is struck by a bus and killed, she finds death to be more challenging than life.  As a ghost, there is much she doesn’t understand about her existence.  One of the worst aspects, however, is that the only one who seems to even notice her is Will Killian – one of the most unpopular kids in school.  People think that Will is mentally disturbed, when his real problem is that he has a hard time ignoring all of the ghosts he encounters.  He’s been particularly disturbed lately by a spirit who attacks him every time it’s close.  He has no reason to help Alona.  She’s just one more ghost clamoring for his attention. Continue reading

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Kafka on the Shore

By Haruki Murakami; translated by Philip Gabriel

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Vintage International, c2005, 2006

Genres: General fiction, magical realism, fantasy

ISBN: 9781400079278

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 464

Setting: Japan – mostly Takamatsu (Shikoku) & Nakano Ward (Tokyo), but also some unspecified mountains

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: Two stories converge into one;  the first centers around a fifteen year old boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home and finds refuge in a library.  The second story centers on an aging mentally challenged man, Nakata, who has the ability to talk to cats, but cannot read.  The two characters are drawn to the same place in Japan for reasons which they do not understand.  While they both seek answers to complex questions about themselves, another character who goes by the name of Johnnie Walker, seeks something not entirely of this world. Continue reading