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Book Reviews

Review: “Love You To Death,” Meg Cabot

January 18, 2016
Review: “Love You To Death,” Meg CabotLove You To Death (The Mediator #1)
Written by Meg Cabot
Published August, 2004 by Pan Macmillan
208 pages
Genres: Ghosts
Purchase: The Book DepositoryBookworldBooktopia
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five-stars

There's a hot guy in Susannah Simon's bedroom. Too bad he's a ghost.

Suze is a mediator - a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won't leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn't seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.

But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it's not that easy. There's a ghost with revenge on her mind... and Suze happens to be in the way.

It’s with much excitement that I dive back into a re-read of one of my favourite YA series of all time. Since Rememberance, the 7th instalment of The Mediator series comes out on February 2nd after SO MANY YEARS, I wanted to rekindle my love of this series.

“Whatever it is that happens to people after they’re dead. Rejoicing in heaven, or burning in hell, or being reincarnated, or ascending another plane of consciousness.”
– Suze

I’ll always fondly remember Susannah Simon and her world – it was one of the first YA series I really adored. I read it for the first time back in 2007 and instantly fell in love with the characters, the setting and the amount of humour Meg Cabot poured into these books.

From previous experience, I know each book has its own ‘story’ inside a bigger story. There will usually be a ghost-of-the-day type scenario, but the series also has an overall arc that develops with each book.

Love You To Death (aka ‘Shadowland’ in the US) is a great example of the method this series employs. It’s our introduction to our narrator – the incredibly hilarious and butt-kicking Susannah Simon, a New York native who’s just moved to Southern California. She’s also a ‘mediator’; someone who can see and interact with ghosts.

“I’m sorry, Heather, but everything was not just fine before I got here. You know how I know that? Because you’re dead. Okay? You are dead. Dead people don’t have lockers, or best friends, or boyfriends. You know why? Because they’re dead.”
– Suze

While this book serves as a starter (we really get to see what Suze is all about straight up) it also has a mini-plot revolving around a particular ghostly problem. Love You To Death revolves around the suicide of popular high-schooler, Heather, who happens to be haunting her ex-boyfriend, Bryce at the new school Suze has just enrolled in. Suze’s interactions with Heather are fantastic – Suze isn’t going to put up with a dangerous ghost, and we get to straightaway that Suze is a tough, able main character.

Love or hate her methods, Suze gets things done. She isn’t a heroine that’s willing to wait around for a happy ending. Yes, she sometimes needs saving, but she’s always the first to throw herself into a risky situation.

Love You To Death also introduces us to a slew of characters such as Suze’s new friends, high school peers, fellow mediator and Priest, Father D – and Jesse. Jesse happens to be the 150-year-old ghost that’s currently haunting Suze’s new family home – oh, he’s also incredibly swoon-worthy! Despite Suze’s initial hesitation at having him around, their friendship develops and he soon becomes a trusted ally (and the promise of something more *wink*).

“And try to remember what we discussed, Susannah. A mediator is someone who helps others resolve conflicts. Not someone who, er, kicks them in the face.”
– Father Dominic

The book also has a really interesting narrative style – made so for maximum laughs. It’s as if Suze is talking to the reader, telling her story from experience. She also likes to keep some things secret (like the incantations to her exorcisms, etc. so you don’t get any funny ideas!) While it may sound like the trappings of a book aimed at younger audiences, it really isn’t. Despite all the years in between reads, I still find this series incredibly funny and witty. Please don’t let the covers or synopsis put you off.

Each book in The Mediator series is a fun, quick-paced read. I managed to finish this one (at around 200 pages) in one sitting. As I write this, I’m about to head into book two. My only disappointment with Love You To Death is that the situation with Heather didn’t take very long to resolve, nor was it overly complicated. For some reason I was thinking there was a bigger explanation from memory, but clearly I was mistaken. It can be forgiven, though, because Love You To Death was primarily a stage-setter for the rest of the series.

If you haven’t ever read The Mediator series, what are you waiting for? There’s no better time than now. Before Remembrance comes out (the first ever ‘adult’ Mediator book), get acquainted with Suze and Jesse! It has, and still is, a favourite of mine.

About Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot was born during the Chinese astrological year of the Fire Horse, a notoriously unlucky sign. Fortunately she grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, where few people were aware of the stigma of being a fire horse -- at least until Meg became a teenager, when she flunked freshman Algebra twice, then decided to cut her own bangs. After six years as an undergrad at Indiana University, Meg moved to New York City to pursue a career as an illustrator, at which she failed miserably, forcing her to turn to her favorite hobby--writing novels--for emotional succor.

2 Comments

  • Reply Kj January 22, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    I love this series, I’ve read a few and out of order – I was a religious Princess Diaries reader when I was younger – made it up to book 5 before I stopped reading the rest of the series. I thought this was a pretty scary read when I picked it up – I was 16 at the time. Maybe at 29 It’s time for me to fall back in love with this series.
    Kj recently posted…Book Tour: The New York Night – QnAMy Profile

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