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The Black Butterfly

Young Adult Forever

Swoonworthy Scale: 4
There's a little bit of Meg Cabot's Mediator series here, with a sexy ghost crush (his name is Blue, though, and the only way I was able to be okay with that choice was to picture him as Callum Blue in Dead Like Me), but the swoon focus is Bubbles' son, George. Before everyone goes all contempt-for-instalove on me (is that a thing people still hate? idk, I've been in a cave lately), think back to high school. What's the first thing you do upon arriving at summer/band/nerd pretend-college/drama camp or a week-long family vacation? Scope out the possibilities, that's what, and develop a crush on the cutest potential there, whether or not you'd actually be interested in real life. It's SO WEIRD, but there really is this almost imperative to crush on someone, anyone, when you're in a new environment, so it would be pretty normal for Penny and George to immediately start making out, since they're the only teenagers stuck at the Black Butterfly in the frozen depths of December.
They don't make out on their first meeting, but Vernick does a great job building up the classic holiday crush, with all the anxieties and jealousies that come with not knowing a thing about a person, and throwing in enough life-threatening situations to bring the two of them together for real. As Baby and Johnny taught us, there's nothing like adversity and someone nearly dying to turn a vacation fling into true love. Plus, George is pretty cute, even if I was mildly squicked out by the college-boy/high-school-girl romance.
Talky Talk: Sass Lite
It's kind of like Easy Listening, except in a good way, like when the station plays Bon Jovi and Pink Martini with the von Trapp family, and not so much Lionel Ritchie or late-career Stevie Wonder (in other words, this book does not just call to say, "I love you.") What I'm saying is Penny's sass doesn't make her a huge pain in the ass teenager, but rather a funny, likable protagonist who makes you smile nostalgically and shake your head, and hope she doesn't get killed by those vengeful ghosts.
Relationship Status: Repeat Summer Fling
There's enough going on in this book to make me want to do more than hold hands at movie night, and for me to look forward to our families going to the same campground again next summer. Mystery, death threats, secrets, dream walking, ghost whispering, amazing food, angst and growing upówell, you get the idea.
- May 16, 2014  Visit Website

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