The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
A Malaysian folk tale comes to life in this emotionally layered, chilling middle grade debut, perfect for fans of The Book of Boy and The Jumbies.
I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.
Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable.
But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness.
Fans of Holly Black’s Doll Bones and Tahereh Mafi’s Furthermore series will love this ghostly middle grade debut that explores jealousy, love, and the extraordinary power of friendship.
Expected publication: August 4th 2020 by HarperCollins
This was pretty dark and I loved every minute of it!
This book was about relationships. Suraya is a young child with a mom who is always stressed out. She feels alone and ignored. Other kids thinks she’s weird. One day, a pelesit reveals himself to her. She names him Pink and he becomes her only friend. Pink has to do whatever Suraya tells him to do. But she has a good heart and he likes mischief. They get into fights over it, but Suraya always forgives him. Pink does a lot of the things he does because he loves her. At least he thinks he loves her even though he doesn’t have a heart. Suraya is bullied and Pink seeks revenge often.
A new girl shows up at school one day and Suraya decides to introduce herself. Jing Wei becomes Suraya’s new best friend and she’s never been happier. Pink starts to feel jealous and does little things that were bad. When Jing Wei gets hurt, Suraya and Pink fight. She tells him to leave. After weeks of nightmares and no sleep, Suraya tells her mom about Pink and that he was sent by her grandmother who had passed away. Suraya’s mom brings in a pawang hantu to remove the evil spirit, but he ends up being evil himself. Suraya and Jing Wei start finding a way to help Pink move on without ending up hurt.
Friendship was such a strong theme for this book, but strained family relationships were also there. Suraya and Jing Wei were so easy to love. The folk tales and ghosts were a pleasure to read about. It was a story I had never heard and it makes me want to hear other Malaysian folk tales now. I hope the author writes more middle grade like this. I loved everything about it.
I gave this book 5 stars. Thank you to Harper and Edelweiss for my review copy.
Warnings for bullying, loss of family members, and some really creepy stuff.
Have you read this books? Are you familiar with any Malaysian folk tales? If so, what do you recommend I read?