Review: The Harder the Fall by Lauren Barnholdt

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The Harder the Fall by Lauren Barnholdt

Kendall has a crush – and the ghost of his mother has something to say about it. The second book in a hilariously haunting tween series. Kendall Williams talks to dead people all the time. Like it or not, it’s kind of her thing – the ghosts need her help resolving issues from when they were alive, and she’s good at figuring out their problems. What she can’t figure out, however, is why the ghost of her crush’s mother is haunting her. It’s hard enough to like a guy and hope to impress his parents, but when his mom keeps visiting from beyond the grave, making the right impression seems downright impossible! Can Kendall help with family matters without risking her relationship?

Title: The Harder the Fall (Girl Meets Ghost #2)
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Publication date: September 3, 2013

The Harder the Fall is the second book in the Girl Meets Ghost series by Lauren Barnholdt. This review contains spoilers from the first book, Girl Meets Ghost. I was sure I reviewed the first book last year, but I don’t see the review anywhere so I guess I did not. The Harder the Fall picks up right where Girl Meets Ghost left off and you really do need to read the first book to get the full history. Actually, it’s still unfolding, but there was a lot explained in Girl Meets Ghost that it’s just assumed you already know at the start of The Harder the Fall. It’s not, like, deep or complicated or anything, but it’s just better to read the first one first. Trust me.

The Harder the Fall has plenty of middle school drama with friends and first boyfriends and a mean girl and an older boy but the ghost aspect helps set it apart from the usual middle grade books. Kendall is excited because she and Brandon are finally together and she’s looking forward to going on double dates with her best friend Ellie and Ellie’s boyfriend Kyle, who is also friends with Brandon. But when Kendall meets a ghost named Lyra in a nail salon, things suddenly get a lot more complicated. Soon she’s lying to Brandon and Ellie. She hates it, but what’s the alternative? No one knows she can even see ghosts, let alone that she helps them move on.

And then there’s Brandon’s mother, who hates Kendall. And is a ghost. And is stalking Kendall. She’s scary and powerful, and if this wasn’t a light, middle grade series, she could probably do some serious damage. There’s a tie-in here with Kendall’s mother (who walked out on Kendall and her father years ago) but I really could do without this part of the story. I am kind of interested in why Brandon’s mom hates Kendall so much, but I feel like it’s going to end up being a story about a grown (ghost) woman taking out her anger with someone else on a seventh grader. There’s only one more book so I suppose it will all be resolved soon.

I really like Kendall as a character even though she gets into trouble because she won’t be honest with Brandon and Ellie. She truly feels she has no other choice. It would be difficult to explain her situation, but I feel like Ellie at least would believe her and would help her out with Brandon, or at least by covering for her. Ellie’s a good friend and she hasn’t given me any reason to think she wouldn’t support Kendall.

I liked The Harder the Fall better than Girl Meets Ghost. The ghost’s story is more interesting and I like seeing how Kendall deals with her ability. I feel like she has a better handle on it than she did in the first book, even with all the lying. She’s only twelve and she’s learning. I already have the third book from the library so I hope to review that one next week.

4 stars
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Jenna