Monday, May 7, 2012

Body and Soul by Stacey Kade

Title: Body and Soul
Author: Stacey Kade
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Pages: 316 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon; Barnes & Noble; Book Depository

The Ghost
I’ve been trapped in the body of Lily “Ally” Turner for a month now. Talk about a fashion crisis on an epic scale. What worries me more, though, is sometimes I catch Will looking at me like he thinks I’m Lily...or that he wishes I were. Without the good looks of my former self, I don’t know who I am, or if who that is is good enough. I need out of this mess. Now.

Will and I have been looking for a solution, one that would separate me from Lily without killing her. But it’s not going well. Then, when it seems like things couldn’t get any worse, we run into Misty, my former best friend and boyfriend-stealer extraordinaire, who claims she’s being me. Seriously?

I’m determined to get to the bottom of who’s pretending to be the spirit of Alona Dare (while I’m pretending to be someone else) and then get the heck out of this body. Or die trying...

The Goth

I’ll admit it. It’s really weird to look at Alona but see Lily. I do know the difference, though, contrary to what Alona might be saying. And Alona is more than a pretty face to me, not that she would believe that.

Our one lead for some help in this messed up situation might be a page torn from the yellow pages-—the “Psychics” section-—I found in my dad’s stuff. One of the “fakes” seems a bit more real-—and odd-—than the others. Before I can investigate further, though, Alona is off and chasing a ghost that’s probably nothing more than a figment of Misty’s guilty imagination. Now Lily’s family is freaking out because she didn’t come home, my mom is ordering me to stay out of it, and something is definitely wrong with the person formerly known as Lily “Ally” Turner...


With Alona trapped in Lily's body and no way to safely separate them in sight, the road ahead for Alona and Will at the end of Queen of the Dead could easily turn out smooth or rocky. And since when has anything ever been easy for this two? I had worries about Body and Soul, but Kade dispelled them and I'm not sure whether to applaud at this fantastic conclusion or cry because it's over. Talking about this book is going to be hard because I love it so much, but here goes something!

Easy answers about who they are to each other, what to do about the Lily situation, and where to go from there continue to evade Alona and Will. For both of them, the question remains: now that she is keeping Lily alive, will Alona go to the light, crushing both Lily and her family by doing so, or will she stay? Throughout the book, the question plagues them and I feel their pain. The choice they eventually make isn't easy, but I'm happy with where it leaves them and from the looks of it, they're happy too. Through their fights, their failures, and their screw-ups (sorry, but the Amazon censors won't let me get alliterative there), these two are a duo I can see sticking together for a very long time. I think they may be one of my favorite couples in YA.

In addition to their struggles, we are introduced to twins Erin and Ed. Erin is dead, Ed is not, and she is haunting him. Two characters that originally come off as rather flat fill out as the novel progresses and their reconciliation at the end of the novel made me tear up so much. One girl cut short from living her life, one boy unsure of what to do now that his sister is dead and haunting him, and a whole lot Alona and Will can teach them. It was funny, seeing Alona help Erin reach realizations and then have the same realizations herself.

And speaking of Alona's growth... From book one, Alona has never been a great person. Snobby, a liar both through omission and true-blue lies, and sometimes vicious, she is anything but the girl next door. But she's been slowly growing and changing through the experience of being dead and Will's influence. Seeing her come full circle in Body and Soul as she helps Erin, a girl so much like herself... I can't even describe it. Calling it "fantastic" feels like an insult.

There was very little I didn't like, but there were still issues. I love the cliffhangers each chapter ends on and they keep the novel well-paced, but this time around, it was more frustrating than fun. Just when we approach the juiciest part of the chapter--BAM, new chapter. And most of these chapters are about twenty pages long. This constant cycle of frustration and fulfillment was draining. More than a few times, I lost track of whether it was Alona or Will narrating. None of that impeded my ability to enjoy this book too heavily, but I couldn't ignore it either.

Alona and Will's story may be over, but I'll be revisiting their world and living through their struggles with them all over again for many years to come. There is a very good reason I love this series, and if you're looking for something fun with a surprising amount of heart to it, this is perfect. Just be ready to hold yourself back from yelling at Alona too much. The girl is a work in progress until the very end and beyond--and that's why I love her.

4 stars!

What am I reading next?: Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan