Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review: The Mediator 6: Twilight by Meg Cabot

I am typically incredibly finicky about reading series in order. I scowl and grump if my book club even considers picking a book that is mid-series. I rarely agree to review series books if the entire series isn't offered up for my perusal. This sounds like I'm being a snob or don't like series. This could not be farther from the truth. I thoroughly enjoy series and love the idea that when I stumble on a good one, I will have countless books and hours to spend with much loved characters. But, I like to build my relationships up slowly, to start at the beginning, and to learn the whole back story of each major character as it is revealed. So I was surprised to find that I had inadvertantly grabbed the sixth book in Cabot's Mediator series from the school library book buzz pile. The fact that the library didn't carry books 1-5 made it nigh impossible to read up on the series (well at the very least, without going to the county library and as I am trying hard to work through my own backlogged books, I didn't want to commit to reading 5 other books prior to tackling this one). So I crossed my fingers, prayed that jumping in mid-series wasn't going to be the kiss of death, and opened the book.

Luckily, plunging into this book without having read the previous entries in the series turned out to be fine. I'm sure that I would have enjoyed knowing Suze, Jesse, and Paul's earlier interactions and that would have enhanced the book but it worked decently as a stand-alone. Suze Simon, who lives with her mother and step-father, is a mediator. This means she can not only talk to ghosts but she helps them move on in the afterlife. Suze is not the only mediator around though. Paul, a boy at her school, and his ailing grandfather, are also mediators. But Paul's moral compass is not exactly aligned with Suze's and they are incredibly adversarial and contentious with each other. Their touchy relationship isn't helped by the fact that he's trying to discover a way to go back in time to prevent Suze's ghostly nineteenth century boyfriend, Jesse, from ever becoming a ghost, thereby winning Suze for himself. Suze is torn, wondering if Paul preventing Jesse's murder is the right thing and if she's being selfish wanting to preserve her meeting with Jesse 150 years after his death. It's a race between Suze and Paul to figure out how to travel backwards in time and either let history repeat itself or change the outcome entirely.

Cabot has written a fast paced and entertaining book with an interestingly unique premise. The tension between Suze and Paul is biting but realistically teenaged. Suze is perhaps a bit too good but her strict and somewhat simple moral center is nicely balanced by the fact that Paul is multi-dimesional, shades of black and white, and not easily dismissed as the stereotypical villain. Ghostly Jesse is a little thin but the real story swirls around him rather than centering on him. I suspect that knowing the full backstory would have rounded out the characters better for me, especially Suze's relationship with her dead father, but over all it was okay not to have the full disclosure in my reading past. Teens who like un-creepy paranormal reading will fully appreciate this one and may want to start with book one.

1 comment:

  1. Some day I am going to have to read Meg! I have heard even her worst books are still entertaining.

    Great Review!


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