A Girl, A Ghost, and the Hollywood Hills

A Girl, A Ghost, and the Hollywood Hills by Lizabeth Zindel

As if her mother’s death wasn’t hard enough to process, Holly’s father spring the worst news on her at the worst possible time. He’s dating someone: his dead wife’s sister. It’s just too sick for Holly to think about. But she’s forced to deal with both her father and his new zombie loving girlfriend, Aunt Claudia, a horror film producer. It’s only a few weeks, and it should be relatively easy to avoid them both since her father is always working and Aunt Claudia doesn’t live her.

But things have changed since the last time Holly was home from school. Her father still works a lot, but not as much as he used to meaning he’s home a lot more. And worst of all, Aunt Claudia has moved in. Okay, no big deal Holly thinks. She’ll just have to try harder to avoid them, that’s all. And besides, It’s only a few weeks. With the help of best friend Felicia and new boyfriend Oliver, winter break will fly by and Holly won’t really have to deal with them.

That is, until her deceased mother pays Holly a very unexpected visit asking Holly to seek revenge on the one person she’s trying to stay as far away from as possible – Aunt Claudia.

A Girl, A Ghost, and the Hollywood Hills is a (very) loose rewrite of William Shakespeare’s famed play Hamlet. Even though author Lizabeth Zindel doesn’t stick closely to the original storyline, readers will see enough similarities within the text to see where inspiration was drawn from.

The only real flaw I found to this book was the California slang. It sometimes felt a bit over the top and stereotypical. For example, when Holly and best friend refer to each other as “dudette” at times.

Zindel is a strong writer who doesn’t beat around the bush. Plunging into the meat of A Girl, A Ghost, and the Hollywood Hills from the start Zindel’s book is a quick and fun read. But what really makes it what it is, is her heroin Holly. Holly’s determined, passionate almost to the point of obsessive when it comes to seeking revenge, but most of all, she’s real.

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