The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf | eARC Review


BLURB: I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.

Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable.

But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness (Goodreads).
I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.
Title: The Girl and the Ghost
Author: Hanna Alkaf
Genre: Middle Grade, Paranormal, Horror
Goodreads rating: 4.38
Pages: 288
Publication: August 4th 2020 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Reading Format: Kindle
Standalone/Series: Standalone
Get this book at: Book Depository | Amazon | Kinokuniya | mphonline | Google Books
Review type: Non-spoilery

Happy 1 Month to this book! Thank you to Hanna Alkaf and Edelweiss for sending me a digital review copy. I actually pre-ordered the paperback version from Book Depository but it usually takes a month or more for the parcel to arrive at my address and I was really anticipating this book so when the author opened a Google Form for eARC request, I couldn't help but submit a request. I got the digital copy about 4 days after my request but due to the exams and assignments that were piled up that day, I decided to delay my read. Besides, I wanted to be able to focus on this book and this book only when I read it because I knew it would be a very enjoyable read.

With that said, The Girl and the Ghost were more than just an enjoyable read. THAT ENDING THAT ENDING THAT ENDING. Was I the only person who didn't anticipate that ending? Am I that oblivious? Well if I am, thank God I'm oblivious because that ending was very impactful for me. The heartbreak, the bittersweet feeling; you would never think a middle-grade book could affect you that way. This would've been my favourite book if I read it as a child.

As a Malaysian myself, I had no trouble imagining Suraya's world. In fact, the story sounded too real for me that it literally crept me up. I had chills the whole time I was reading it. I kept thinking about all those Malay horror movies I watched before. At first, I thought that the theme of this book was too dark for a child to read but then I think about how the first Harry Potter book was just as dark and if that was okay then this book would be more than okay for middle-grade children to read. Worry not, it wasn't dark for like the whole book, it wasn't scary the whole time, there were some funny moments, warm moments, sad moments. It would be quite monotonous if it's just scary the whole time. This story was full of life despite its dark theme, very engaging and I couldn't take my eyes off my screen. 

With friendship being the key theme of this book, it brings the reader along through a journey of friendship between Suraya and Pink, a pelesit that Suraya inherited from her grandmother. Pink was Suraya's only friend since she was 5 and everything went okay between them until one day when Suraya befriend Jing Wei. Pink was not her only friend anymore and that sparked a fit of jealousy, which significantly affected their friendship. This book shows love, jealousy and forgiveness between two friends. I was also obsessed with Suraya and Jing Wei's friendship. I love how pure their friendship was, I love how they not just tolerated but also believed each others' stories and went through great lengths to support each other.
But when she looked back on the moment she met Jing Wei, she would say that, much like the little boy made of wood, this was the moment that she felt like she became real.
With only 288 pages, I got a lot of important messages from this book. It's magical that a book this short can contain a story with a fantastic plot, characters with great character development and also such important messages. If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would. Although my review is way past the due date, it can't be said how thankful I am that I was given the chance to have an eARC of this book.

Recommended for people who love: Malay mythology/superstition, a girl who's a friend with ghost, horror stories, a beautiful friendship

about the author
Ever since graduating with a degree in journalism from Northwestern University, Hanna Alkaf has worked as a copywriter in online B2B marketing, a senior writer at a major fashion & lifestyle magazine, and a communications manager at a non-profit organization in education. She’s written everything from profiles to press releases, from corporate annual reports to long-form investigative features, from social media posts to email newsletters, and her work has appeared in the Malaysian iterations of Marie Claire, Esquire, Shape, Female, Her World, and more.

Hanna has lived in Malaysia her entire life except for the six years she spent studying and working in and near Chicago. She currently lives near Kuala Lumpur with her husband and two children, and attempts to write books while juggling her never-ending to-do list (this works on some days better than others).

Her critically-acclaimed debut Young Adult novel, THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY, was published in February 2019 by Salaam Reads, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Her debut Middle Grade novel, THE GIRL & THE GHOST, was published by HarperCollins in August 2020, and she is also part of the MG anthology ONCE UPON AN EID. Her next novel is the YA murder mystery QUEEN OF THE TILES, set at a Scrabble tournament in Malaysia (Hanna Alkaf's website). Photo by Lim Eng Lee.


Instagram follow @nerdbilla