ARC REVIEW: Dawn Husted “Girl Gone Ghost”


Girl Gone Ghost by Dawn Husted [E-ARC REVIEW]

Official release date: July 9, 2018

A cheerleader with a reputation. A ghost who wants justice. Two lives bound together until the killer is found.

Sonora’s popularity means more to her than a new Michael Kors purse. With Fall Fling around the corner, she’s on the lookout for the perfect gown. But a ghost has different plans.

When her best friend’s body floats ashore, Sonora is haunted by the corpse-like spirit.  The incessant ghost refuses to leave Sonora alone. She must risk death and sanity to find her friend’s killer. If Sonora isn’t careful, she’ll be his next victim.


I received this e-ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Girl Gone Ghost is creepy, it’s thrilling, and it lays the suspense on re-e-a-lll-y-y thick. I was getting thumb cramps from flipping through my Kindle as fast as I could to find out what exactly was going on … because stuff was going on. However, this book has its flaws, so let me jump into some reviewing and give you the real nit and grit of it all.

Our MC of the day is Sonora. Her world revolves around family (Mom, Dad, doggie Kaylee, and brother Bram) and friends (Cooper, Rosa, Angela, and boyfriend Chris). The intro chapters to the book do a quick but clunky job of telling the reader who is who in the book, and how they fit into Sonora’s life.

Mom’s pristine hair swayed on her poised shoulders as she hung her apron on the hook.

Holding Magnolia’s obituary in my hand, I couldn’t peel my eyes away from her heart-shaped face. My eyes watered. The newspaper clipping encompassed her mesmerizing smile and all the years we spent growing up together. 

Husted uses a “more is better” approach when choosing her adjectives, though this does die down in the later chapters of the book (or I got used to it?). Either way, I did find myself stumbling through the earlier chapters because scenes were so heavily described — but not adequately described. For example, later in chapter one, Sonora is cleaning glasses with her boyfriend Chris, but then suddenly sitting at the dinner table, in the same paragraph with no clear transitions. This keeps up throughout the book, which is annoying if you pay attention to the details but is an issue that can be resolved with better editing in the future.

Writing aside, the first chapter ends with Sonora finding out her dead best friend is haunting her in ghost form and, before you’re all, wow, yeah, cliché much? Husted actually gave the ghost aspects of corporeality. Which was massively interesting to watch play out. Magnolia stinks, she interacts with objects, she basically just goes around being massively creepy. And she wants her death solved, like, now. So no Casper the Friendly Ghost here, pals!

scared horror GIF

Throughout the book, Sonora sports her detective cap trying to find out who killed Magnolia. True to the YA genre, these investigations lead her towards a cute boy — intro Lachlan, Aussie-turned-Texan son of the police officer heading the investigation into Magnolia’s murder. (If you hate love triangles, let me spoil this little tidbit for you right here: Chris is but a boyfriend by name. There was no “love triangle.”)

As Magnolia’s hauntings get more intense, so does the book. As a reader, I’m speeding through the pages, dying to find out who killed her and what all the clues mean. But as a critical reader, I’m really — and I mean really — confused. And this is where you need to enter my review with the reminder that every reading experience is a personal one. You may agree with me or you may disagree (of course you’ll only know for sure if you read the book).

The book is in first person, and after page 100 Sonora’s narrative is jumbled. At some point, I don’t know if it’s because Husted’s own writing needs some refinement on its detail, or if it’s because Sonora herself is going through sleep deprivation and some etc’s. Sonora was going to lose her position in cheerleading but all of a sudden that’s never mentioned again? Sonora had a job that she went to every single night but suddenly she doesn’t go anymore (without mention of her being fired). Little details go missing and I’m not sure if it’s supposed to add to the suspense or not.

Another thing I have to mention is Lachlan. Again, as a reader VS critical reader I’m split. He does some straight up shady things in this book, is associated with some shady things … but that is never directly resolved. Instead he is elevated to LI status for Sonora and as a reader I just accepted it (maybe because he was the only character who was actually there for her?).

But the ending. My be all and end all is with the ending. You’ll rest your eyes on my final rating for this book and it comes from the ending. Dawn Husted certainly provided a plot twist with Girl Gone Ghost, so if you like to be shocked out your seat, this book does that. But I can’t respect the ending, not for plausibility not for decency. If you want to know more, check my Goodreads review, where I can go in-depth on a spoiler and actually hide what I’m saying. Otherwise, I rest here with a 2 and 1/2 crown rating because at the end of the day: I picked up this book. I struggled through the first fifty pages because the description was clunky. Then I could not look away because the suspense was way too intense. Then I read the ending, and felt uncomfortable.

Not a recommendation from me, unless you’re someone who loves HEA no matter the cost. You know, that guy who’ll slay fiery dragons even if he’s allergic to smoke? This book’ll make you swoon and almost pass out (from intense creepy ghost business).


Is a two-star book unforgiveable, or would you still check out a badly-rated book? Let’s discuss in the comments below!


6 thoughts on “ARC REVIEW: Dawn Husted “Girl Gone Ghost”

  1. This book sounds pretty creepy, so it’s a shame it didn’t live up for you! I can’t abide by authors overlooking those little details in a story (like someone having a job but not going to it anymore lol) so I feel you on your confusion with this one. Excellent review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Husted excelled with creepiness, but yes, the story’s ending was upsetting for me and there were too many confusing little plot holes. But Mandy read another one of Husted’s books (the name escapes me atm) and says it was just as creepy, minus the plot issues. So clearly this was a one off issue.

      Liked by 1 person

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