The Mediator (1): Love You to Death by Meg Cabot and narrated by Johanna Parker (April 2008, Whole Story Audio Books, ISBN: 9781407478364)
They told me there'd be palm trees.
Review: Love You to Death is the first in the six-book Mediator series and was first published in 2000 as The Mediator: Shadowland by Jenny Carroll.
We are introduced to Suze Simon who has had to move to Carmel, California from Brooklyn, New York City to join her mother who has remarried. Suze's new family includes three step-brothers - Sleepy, Dopey and Doc aka Jake, Brad and Dave and her step-father, Andy. It soon becomes clear that Suze has something unusual about her, for one she hates old houses and panics when she learns that both her new school and home are over a hundred years old. When she gets to her new, beautiful bedroom she finds it already occupied, by a ghost. A handsome ghost called Jesse, but a ghost nonetheless. For Suze is a mediator, someone who can see and feel ghosts and who helps them on to the next place, often by force it would seem.
In Carmel, Suze's first mediator "job" is to get rid of the ghost of the girl whose place and locker Suze is taking at the school and the ghost isn't going willingly. Suze finds that her normal methods won't work and she dices with danger through the rest of the book, all the while hiding her secret(s) and becoming very popular with her new classmates.
I have read the 1-800-Missing series by Meg Cabot and enjoyed that very much. For some reason I'd the impression that this series would be darker but this one at least, wasn't. Suze puts too much emphasis on violence being the key but I can imagine that she will grow out of that approach during the course of the series. Suze is one of those characters who gets to speak the truth and answer back to bullies and win the exchange. Though she's not chuffed at being a mediator at least she's had the opportunity to start over and make friends, and it looks like a little romance will finally come her way. And she lives in Carmel! So it's not all bad.
Love You to Death is a fairly light read with characters you want to revisit, in a beautiful setting, with action and adventure and a possible romance. No wonder I've already started on #2 High Stakes.
Johanna Parker provides a narration which is pleasant to listen to with distinctive voices for each character and her Jesse does sound rather dishy.
Cover: I don't know whether it's just me but the covers seem to give the series a darker tone than they actually are and the picture is not particularly accurate, but it's attractive.