Jade and Vicky are best friends, but when Vicky is killed in an accident she doesn’t let a little old thing like being dead interfere with her life. Instead, she continues as normal, following Jade around, telling her what to do, how to think, how to behave and ruining any chance Jade may have to make new friends. Eventually Jade tires of it all, and although she still loves Vicky deeply, she realises she has to get on with her own life.
I feel the premise above does not portray the tone of this book. You would think that a book about a young girl being haunted by her best friend might be a chilling tale, or at the very least overly sad. Instead it is a heartwarming tale, with humour in the right places. The book is a mix of emotions; Jade’s anguish and grief come across but there is also nostalgia and loneliness. Above all I felt Jade’s confusion throughout the book. She is confused about why Vicky died, she is confused about what is going on with her parents and she is also confused about her peers and who she can trust. The more Vicky clings to her the more Jade feels separate from those around her and the more lonely she feels even though she still has her best friend.
What I liked about this book: I liked that Jacqueline Wilson hasn’t taken this subject lightly. After reading Girls In Love earlier in my challenge I did wonder what this book would be like as even though Girls In Love does deal with difficult subjects, I wasn’t sure if Vicky Angel would convey the right amount of poignancy and understanding required to deal with the subject of grief. It does deliver though, without being too heavy for a young reader, and the experiences Jade goes through seem genuine. I didn’t feel at any point that the book was too farfetched, apart from the obvious story line of Vicky the ghost.
What I didn’t like about this book: Throughout the book I felt Jade’s confusion and felt her struggle to make sense of what was going on around her. This was crucial to the storyline and Jade’s grieving process but it left many unanswered questions for me when the book came to an abrupt end. There were various subplots that I felt where not fully explained as such and I couldn’t see why they were included in the story as a whole if they were not going to come to a proper conclusion. I don’t want to put any spoilers here so I won’t divulge further but I was left feeling slightly perturbed when I read the last page.
I did enjoy this book but not as much as Girls In Love though. I think a few paragraph at the end of the book from Jade, maybe in the form of an epilogue, explaining how she now feels about all the events in the book would have tipped the balance for this book. Without that summing up I do feel there is something missing from the end of the book. It is still enjoyable but I feel it is more attractive to the younger reader rather than a wider audience.