Haunted (Mediator #5) by Meg Cabot
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: May 27, 2003
Publisher: Imagination Studio; Abridged edition
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
I rate the actual book, Haunted, at 5 stars. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the abridged audiobook, which I rate at only 2 stars.
This is book 5 in the Mediator series, starring Susannah (Suze) Simon, a 16-year-old, high-school girl who encourages (and sometimes forces) recalcitrant ghosts to move on to the afterlife and stop bothering the living. Suze's powers include the ability to not only see ghosts but touch them. Which is a blessing when she can be hugged, and once or twice kissed, by the gorgeous ghost Jesse, who died in 1850 and haunts her bedroom in a restored, historic house in Carmel, California. Being touched by ghosts is not so great when they beat her up, hold a knife to her throat, or throw her off the roof of her home.
In this book, Cabot introduces a romantic triangle, when 17-year-old Paul Slater, who is also a mediator, and whom Suze met in Darkest Hour (The Mediator #4), enrolls in Suze's school. Paul is almost as gorgeous as Jesse, and he has the further advantage of being alive and intensely interested in becoming romantically involved with Suze--which Jesse seems sadly reluctant to do. The problem is, Paul is an amoral jerk who blackmails Suze into spending time with him based on the threat of exiling Jesse to the spiritual realms where Suze will never see him again.
As is the case in the previous four books of this series, Cabot has written an enthralling, action-filled, paranormal mystery novel with strong romantic subplots. Suze is a very strong, active, sympathetic heroine, and there is a great deal of humor based in Suze's self-deprecating, dry wit and her toe-to-toe repartee with multiple other characters, most especially her clueless stepbrothers, whom she dubs Dopey and Sleepy. The paranormal elements are well done, and Jesse is a wonderful love interest. Paul is a multi-layered antagonist who is both sexy and obnoxious, a fascinating combination.
Sadly, unlike the audio recordings of the other five books in this series, for some unfathomable reason, this one has been abridged. I do *not* recommend experiencing this book in this manner. The abridging makes the reader lose out on many important plot details. In addition, this is a different narrator than the one employed for the other five books, and she completely misinterprets Jesse, making his tone seductive when talking to Suze, which is never the case for gentlemanly Jesse, who is very protective of Suze's virtue. It's as if the narrator got Jesse confused with Paul.
Meg Cabot's original book (which is butchered in this abridged edition): 5 stars
Audiobook abridging: 1 star
Audiobook narration: 2 stars