Brown Girl Ghosted

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

This book was billed as "We Were Liars meets Riverdale" and I was like SIGN ME UP, but that is......not at all accurate?! I think something like Buffy the Vampire Slayer would be a better (if older) comp. But, fine, that's not the author's fault. What is the author's fault is the reallllllly weak character and worldbuilding. The premise--Violet Choudhury is called to be an aideo, an ancient order of warriors trained as guardians against demons & other supernatural baddies, but she rejects it because a) her mom died (or did she?) on aideo affairs and also b) she's one of very few kids of color in her small midwestern town so she doesn't want to do anything that would make her stand out...ok, sure, I can work with that premise! Honestly would LOVE to work with that premise, I'm always looking for more diverse urban fantasy-type books to read.

But then it's just like...we learn SO little about Violet beyond the fact that she doesn't want to stand out in a crowd. And we learn so little about the aiedeo itself--like at first I assumed it was tied to Indian culture but then the main other aiedeo figure we see is a rando white dude named Lukas (who has a really weak enemies-to-romance going with Violet). also--I think this was just because of an error in the ARC formatting that abruptly inserted Lukas's POV into the middle of chapters, but it was off-putting.

Also I searched for the term "aiedeo" to see if that was an actual tradition from India, and the ONLY matches I found for it are for this author's full name, Aideo Mintie Das. Honestly kind of a baller move, if confusing, since other terms used are from aspects of Indian culture/religion (BTW I know "Indian culture/religion" is like a really broad term) like "bhoot" (Sanskrit for "ghost") are used.

Anyway then the PLOT involves her having to solve the rape and murder of the school queen bee, and Violet learns Valuable Lessons about slutshaming and not running away from her ghosthunting duties. 

It's just kind of a mess and also wasn't even very entertaining (which, say what you will about Riverdale, it's ALWAYS entertaining.)
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This story tried to combine many different things but in a way that seemed forced. The biggest issue I had with this book is how inconsistent some of the scenes are. It’s almost as if it was just convenient to solve issue quickly as opposed to realistically. 
Not a favorite.
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Not even one star

I do not normally rate books that I DNF, especially when I do so this early on (I had to FORCE myself to get to 15%), but I would like for folks to consider this a warning not to waste their time. Also, I skimmed the rest to see if I should persist. NO. 

This novel needs so much editing. The flow of information is nearly impossible to follow. The main character sounds like a 40-year-old trying to talk like a teenager. The word choice, the interactions between characters, and so on are ridiculous. My mom might as well have run into the room while I was reading and yelled, "That's like totally tubular!" in 2019. I laughed repeatedly and inappropriately several times during the first couple of chapters due to the bizarre choices demonstrated throughout. 

Like many other reviewers (I HAD to know if others were having the same extreme reactions), I thought the premise sounded super interesting and was excited to read this. However, it is a complete disaster, and that is apparent from the jump. I truly dislike writing negative reviews because I know how much work and heart go into producing a text. That noted, I'm having a hard time understanding how this is making it to publication. I hope to see much more polished, organized, and focused work from this author in the future. 

There is NO chance I'll be recommending this to my students or colleagues.
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I wanted to like this book.  The characters had a lot of potential.  However the book was very frustrating to read.  In fact I kept forcing myself to read to about the 50% mark and gave up.  The book was almost  switching genres as it went along.  First the book focused on the interaction amoung the girls (mean girl attiturde).  Then it seemed to switch abrutly to more supernatural/fantasy elements.  Overall, did not enjoy this book.  

ARC provided by NetGalley
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I got about halfway through this book before I had to put it down. The flow of the writing was very distracting and there was way too much exposition. I found myself often flipping back to remind myself what happened because I was so confused.
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The premise of this book had potential, but it never lived up to it. The writing was clunky, info dumps abound, and the world building vacillated wildly to suit the needs of the author in the moment.
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I gave up on this book at about 70% because I just couldn't force my way through it anymore. The author just kept changing the rules to suit the story and it was driving me nuts. Spirits can only affect the people who can see them. Wait! Spirits can affect the physical world. Nope! Spirits can go through everyone's personal belongings as if they were physically there, BUT the people don't notice because it's done in some alternate space? And, apparently because the author couldn't think of any other way to do it, boys are just dumb and always set their phone passwords to 1234. All of them. Every single one. Even her crush. 

The perspective would also shift on a dime with one character having about 2% of the story with no warning of when it was his perspective vs. hers. Even the main character's time and location would shift with no warning. Part of this may be an ARC Kindle formatting issue, but there were quite a few times that I had to scroll back and reread to try and figure out what the heck was going on.

This was just not well done. I strongly recommend avoiding this one.

ARC provided by NetGalley
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Violet feels like an outsider in her small Midwestern town. She's one of only a few people of color, and she is keeping a major secret--she's part of a supernatural warrior tribe. When the Queen Bee of the school is murdered, Violet must use her abilities to help solve the murder.

I really wanted to like this book. It had an interesting premise and I thought it would appeal to murder mystery fans. Unfortunately, the supernatural element seemed really forced and it didn't seem to truly work for the storyline. I'm not sure that many of my high schoolers will be able to overlook the supernatural parts to enjoy the mystery.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts are not affected by the free copy.

This is a really difficult one to talk about, because it does touch on a lot of things that are important and worth discussing. The main character brings up a lot of racial issues, sex issues, gender issues, nationality/heritage issues, and that's all really well done. But something about the writing style never quite clicked with me. The mystery was pretty lackluster, and the ending was just plain terrible. But I'll get to all that.

Let's first tackle the overall style and plot. A lot of it is infodumped by way of the main character explaining things. She does it in an odd way, too, making it feel like she's interrupting the natural flow of dialogue to give more exposition on things. And it never seems to stop. Even when it gets closer to the climax she's still explaining stuff. How about showing us rather than telling us? The plot is also really strange. I do like this different take on ghosts-- bhoots, as they're called here-- and the more vicious nature of them. I like that Violet was in actual danger because of them. But with all the exposition and set-up, the actual plot doesn't really happen until almost halfway into the book. 

Since this is a murder mystery, starting the plot at the halfway mark doesn't leave much time for setting up clues, suspects and so forth before the reveal. All of that on its own would be difficult to do without adding in the Aeideo and this bigger battle Violet is going through. It reminded me of Charmed and how demons were influencing people to kill each other. That set-up really rubbed me the wrong way here. Like all of this was just a test for Violet to embrace her powers. It puts a completely different perspective on the murderer, the victim, and the search for the killer. Again, it is different having someone forced into investigating a murder, but I can't say I liked it. Then there's the conclusion and the ending, which are both terrible. I didn't like having the demon influence being a factor into the murder, and I definitely did not like the cliffhanger ending that is obviously a segway into a sequel. That is not a way to end a book, guys. It's a way to finish a chapter.

All the pop culture references got on my nerves a little bit, too. Some of them are a little strange. What teenager would know who Hercule Poirot is? And since Violet is so extremely pop culture savvy, how is it she doesn't know about Kamila Khan, Miles Morales, John Stewart, America Chavez, Sam Wilson and so forth?

But as I said, there are a lot of good things in this, too. There's a big examination of slut-shaming and the gender divide on sexual activity, there's a great and infuriating scene where authorities argue over whether or not a girl has been raped and what to do about the boys who raped her. There are some great bits about small town politics and how who you are and your sphere of influence can affect the justice system's treatment of you. Violet's struggle with her heritage is something I think a lot of people will relate with.

So I'm torn. Obviously the ghost angle was a reason why I requested this, but I wish it didn't play as big a role as it did. I also wish the plot happened a little sooner and there was more focus on the mystery. I think there are some great things in here, and if there's more focus on that in future novels, then this will be a great series.
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