Tuesday 25 April 2023

Review: If I have to Be Haunted by Miranda Sun

Cara Tang doesn’t want to be haunted.

Look, the dead have issues, and Cara has enough of her own. Her overbearing mother insists she be the “perfect” Chinese American daughter—which means suppressing her ghost speaking powers—and she keeps getting into fights with Zacharias Coleson, the local golden boy whose smirk makes her want to set things on fire.

Then she stumbles across Zach’s dead body in the woods. He’s even more infuriating as a ghost, but Cara’s the only one who can see him—and save him.

Agreeing to resurrect him puts her at odds with her mother, draws her into a dangerous liminal world of monsters and magic—and worse, leaves her stuck with Zach. Yet as she and Zach grow closer, forced to depend on each other to survive, Cara finds the most terrifying thing is that she might not hate him so much after all.

Maybe this is why her mother warned her about ghosts.

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πŸ“Œ Disclaimer: I received an e-arc for review from the publisher 
πŸ“Œ Publication date: 26/09/2023

I was looking forward to read If I Have to Be Haunted, as the idea of a ghost and ghost speaker reminded me of Meg Cabot's The Mediator series, which I love. Unfortunately it ended up being a disappointment. 

First, I want to say that there is nothing wrong with this book, it just didn't meet my expectations. It reads on the younger side of YA, bordering on middle grade at times. Passed down from her grandmother, Cara, has the ability to see and speak to ghosts. When she stumbles upon the dead body of her classmate and rival, Zach, she unwillingly agrees to help resurrect him. Thus begins their journey into the liminal world. Once they entered this world, the reading experience felt like watching a Disney movie or even playing a game. Cara and Zach had to beat a foe in order to move on/level up. There wasn't anything exciting about the mini quests, and if I'm honest the story was quite forgettable. 

The one thing I did appreciate about If I Have to Be Haunted was the exploration into complicated family dynamics and the pressure of cultural expectations.

While it wasn't my cup of tea, I can see it appealing to the younger end of the target audience. 


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