So originally, what drew me to this book was the cover. I mean look at it—it’s gorgeous. Then the author’s name: Aprilynne Pike. I’ve heard amazing things about her. And then the actual storyline. A kleptomaniac ghost? I hadn’t heard that one before. So I bought the book (and got it signed!!!) and finally read it.
Kimberlee Schaffer may be drop-dead gorgeous . . . but she also dropped dead last year. Now she needs Jeff’s help with her unfinished business, and she’s not taking no for an answer. When she was alive, Kimberlee wasn’t just a mean girl; she was also a complete kleptomaniac. So if Jeff wants to avoid being haunted until graduation, he’ll have to help her return all of the stolen items. But Jeff soon discovers that it’s much easier to steal something than it is to bring it back.
Paying for your mistakes takes on a whole new meaning in this hauntingly clever twist on The Scarlet Pimpernel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike.
Age: 14 years and up
Review: 5 butterflies
We start out with typical teenager thoughts from a typical teenage boy. Jeff, the main character (though it could be argued that Kimberlee is the main character, but we’ll get to that later) has just moved from Phoenix, Arizona to California. His dad recently became pretty rich so he is now enrolled in a private school where hoodies and jeans are traded for uniforms. These are all pretty standard teenager problems.
And then he meets Kimberlee. A ghost. A kleptomaniac ghost. Yep, apparently those exist.
I absolutely loved the way Jeff reacted to the fact that he could see Kimberlee. He’s agnostic, so he isn’t sure what to believe in and naturally thinks he’s just going crazy. His response was so realistic—I probably would have done the same thing. Jeff is more than just a decent human being. He tries to see the best in people and helps out even when he doesn’t have to. He definitely was my favorite character in this book.
Kimberlee isn’t the best person in the world. She’s done a lot of bad things. And I’m not even talking about the kleptomania—that really can’t be helped. I’m talking about the bullying, the lying, the general being-a-jerk parts of her. But the way that Aprilynne portrayed her had me sympathizing for her and actually liking her. Now before, when I was saying that it could be argued that she’s the main character—that’s because she sort of is. This book is about her. But it’s also about Jeff. It’s told in Jeff’s point of view, but most of the plot surrounds Kimberlee. So it’s about both of them.
And Khail? At first I thought he was just a jock and didn’t think he’d be important to the story, but I was wrong. I actually really liked what he did and thought he was a pretty decent human being. I loved how protective he was of his sister and the lengths he’d go to to help her out.
And then there’s Sera. Her, I couldn’t connect with as much as the other characters. Though Jeff really likes her, I actually felt like she was pushed into the background for most of the book. There were more important things going on—like returning everything Kimberlee stole (and it’s a LOT). I didn’t have a chance to really know her, so I was a bit shocked when Jeff did something (yes, I’m being vague—no spoilers for you!) towards the end to redeem himself with her.
I loved the plot, I loved the characters—I loved everything about this book. It had me laughing, crying, and everything in between. This story is not only about Kimberlee, but about Jeff as well. They both make a lot of mistakes, but in the end they learn from them and they understand themselves—and others—better.
This book exceeded my expectations in more ways than one and I really, truly recommend this for everyone who likes stories that will touch your heart and make you laugh while doing it—with a dash of teen angst sprinkled in. 😉