The Harder the Fall (Girl Meets Ghost #2)
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
Published September 3, 2013
Twelve year-old Kendall has a small problem: she sees ghosts, and she can’t tell anyone. Especially Brandon, whose mother has not only been haunting Kendall, but who begins pulling some creepy stunts in an effort to keep Kendall away from her son. So, there’s that. Kendall is also haunted by a girl named Lyra with an attitude whose flaky mom and flirtatious brother have opened a nail salon. Kendall and her bestie endure horrible manicures more than once while Kendall attempts to gather info on Lyra’s death so she can find out how to help Lyra move on. The problem? Lyra’s brother’s hand massages get a little out of control, and now Brandon, Kendall’s almost-maybe-hopefully-soon boyfriend gets jealous.
Now Kendall has to avoid Brandon seeing her with Lyra’s brother and avoid Brandon’s mom seeing her with Brandon, all while she avoids that awkward convo with her dad about his new serious girlfriend. Talk about a juggling act. When it all comes crashing down, there’s only one person Kendall can turn to for help. If she dares.
Barnholdt perfectly captures the zany fun tone of her middle school heroine, keeping what could be a spooky tale solidly grounded in all things bright and cheery. Kendall is a chipper, loveable narrator, though she seems more like fourteen than twelve. While this second novel in the Girl Meets Ghost series is long on fun, not much is resolved between the first page and the last. Budding readers of paranormal stories will like the ghostly elements and latter elementary school readers will likely be charmed by the upbeat voice and attitude of the story.
Kendall sees and interacts with ghosts. They follow her around until she can sort out whatever their unfinished business is and help them bring closure to their lives so they can move on. On to where, Kendall doesn’t know and doesn’t spend much time considering.