Released: October 31st 2008
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Skater Kaylee Hensler might not be Miss Popular, but there are some friends a girl can do without. When the decaying ghost of a murdered girl decides they need to be total BFFs, Kaylee will sacrifice the trust of her family, her swim coach’s respect, and any hope of a date for the Harvest Dance. And oh yeah… discover that super-evil entities are nothing at all like they are on TV or in the movies Aside from seriously bad attitudes, they not only like to kill…but replay the killing again and again for all eternity. To avoid that fate, she’ll have to rely on her wheelchair-bound friend Davey, the mysterious Madame Maggie, and the surprising depth of her own power. Will Kaylee survive, or will she become someone else's DFF: Dead Friend Forever? (from Goodreads)
Dead Friends Forever begins with Kaylee Hensler agreeing to go through an “initiation” in order to get a group of thugs off her back and let her skate where she wants without hassling her. Kaylee doesn’t believe in ghosts, so going into the supposedly haunted Larson house should be a piece of cake. Right? Apparently not. Stepping into that house changes Kaylee forever as she desperately tries to uncover the secrets surrounding a young girl’s murder. But Kaylee’s own life is being affected – how is she supposed to explain the mess she’s in without her parents carting her off to the psych ward?
I really enjoyed DFF; I love ghost stories (when they’re not too scary :P) and DFF was a great mixture of paranormal and mystery. Kaylee was a very strong heroine and I was impressed with the resolve she showed throughout the book – she went through a lot of things any other teenager would have failed to cope with, but despite her doubts, and despite questioning her own sanity at times, Kaylee made it through and held a fierce determination that I haven’t seen much in YA today. DFF, though obviously aimed at a teenage audience, had a very mature tone at times in which I felt allowed us to really get inside Kaylee’s head and understand her personality. I really liked the ending of DFF because it wasn’t something you’d usually expect from a book written for young teenagers, and I can’t wait to read the next instalment.
Davey was a great friend to Kaylee, and a great character too. He believed Kaylee even when what she was saying sounded like crazy talk, and he helped her out as much as possible, loyally staying by her side and defending her when people started to spread rumours. I loved reading about the interaction between them both, and I suspect that maybe something might happen between the two in the future...though it’ll probably end up turning into something complicated knowing Kaylee’s luck. One of my favourite scenes in the book was when Kaylee and Davey went to visit Madame Maggie’s and got a tarot card reading. We got to find out a bit more about Isabelle, the girl who was murdered, and the kind of things Kaylee would have to face in order to help her. Maggie was also a very interesting character who knew a lot about the ghostly happenings that had been going on, a turned out to be a very helpful.
One character I wish we got to know more about was Will. He seemed to be different from all of the other boys in Jimmy’s gang, but he was only really in the first half of the book, and remained a bit of a mystery. Another character that intrigued me was Raphael. He was literally there only for a page or two but I have a feeling he’ll be back, and will be vital to the plot. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Kaylee’s parents were probably the only characters in the book I really didn’t like (even Winfield was better!), due to the fact they were so obsessive and clueless as to what was going on with their own daughter. I loved the scenes that featured Kaylee and her parents, however, because apart from revealing that they didn’t understand Kaylee half as much as thought they did, we got to see a more emotional side to Kaylee, and we could see how the lies were really getting to her. She was upset that she had to hide the truth from her parents, but angry that they didn’t trust her, and I think this definitely made us more empathetic with her and made her seem more real and believable.
Overall, DFF was an exciting page-turner that I couldn’t put down. The end leaves you in suspense a little, so I’m eager to get my hands on the second book to find out what’s next in store for Kaylee. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who’s looking for a thrilling paranormal read.
The lovely author of DFF, Jenny Turner, will be doing a guest post here on Sunday, and I'll be featuring the third book in her fantastic Extreme Haunting series, "Detour 2 Death". There's also going to be a giveaway for you all, so make sure you check back!