'ghostgirl' - Tonya Hurley Draws Upon The Outsider Sensibility of Music Greats
Hitting the New York Times' top ten best-seller list this week, ghostgirl is a quirky, supernatural celebration of young love, romance and determination against all odds and reason. Written by TONYA HURLEY, the novel is at the forefront of a growing sub-genre of Young Adult fiction, dubbed ''demento mori'' by Publisher's Weekly in their starred review of the book, about teens who cannot or will not die. It tells the story of Charlotte Usher, an "invisible" girl in high school who struggles to find her own identity and place among her peers. She is literally dying to be popular, fighting Fate all the way to the Fall Ball, which she schemes to attend with the boy of her dreams, infuriating her 'Dead Ed' classmates.
"Certain music speaks to you as an individual and when you find it, it's like finding a long lost friend," says HURLEY. To bring this satirical tale of a super-driven dead girl to life, she uniquely incorporates the outsider sensibility of artists and bands like Lou Reed, Radiohead, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Belle And Sebastian, Paul Westerberg, R.E.M., Evanescence and The Cure by directly quoting their lyrics at the beginning of each chapter; the book also references the resonance of their music in pop culture in addition to other artists including Death Cab For Cutie, My Bloody Valentine, Dresden Dolls, My Chemical Romance and Arcade Fire.
"I had a lot of this music in my head when I was writing the novel," explains HURLEY, "and some lyric phrases and song titles just perfectly captured or added to what I was trying to say." She adds: "I really connected to these lyrics and bands and I feel they've really stood the test of time. They were, and, still are as powerful as any poetry to me. There is music out there for everyone at every time in their lives, something they can relate to and that relates to them. It is often the only thing that 'understands' you."
Elaborates HURLEY: "I wrote the book that I wished I had in high school. To me, the most passionate people are always the most interesting. The ones who have to work hard to get noticed, to be appreciated not so much for how they look or what they have, but who they are. Everybody feels invisible at some point in their lives, most especially in high school. ghostgirl was just an extreme way of exploring that feeling, but in the most literal way imaginable." HURLEY embraces this to full effect throughout the book with her engaging dark humor.
Since the book has been published, HURLEY says "I am amazed to find that it isn't just teens that are responding to it. Adults are too."
ghostgirl, published by Little, Brown and Company, just debuted at #10 on the New York Times' best seller list and has already received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, VOYA and the School Library Journal. The second book in the ghostgirl series will be released in July 2009.
To learn more about ghostgirl, visit www.ghostgirl.com where you can view the latest news, community activity and listen to personal play lists from characters in the book.