Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ninth Key

Ninth Key

Meg Cabot
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
HarperCollins, 2004   ISBN: 978-0060725129

Suze Simon is beginning to get settled in her new home in California. Her first few weeks were decidedly unusual, what with trying to move along a decidedly unpleasant and vindictive ghost and all, and she is hoping that things will calm down a little now. She cannot help being a little annoyed that both the principal of her school , Father Dominic, and the ghost living in her bedroom, Jesse, are giving her a hard time about the need for her to be more sensitive to the ghosts she is supposed to be helping. Her ""kick ass"" form of mediating works very well for her. Why should she change how she does things?

But when a woman wakes Suze up in the middle of the night shrieking, Suze does try to be less abrasive and more understanding. The woman wants Suze to give someone called ""Red"" a message. She wants him to know that she does not blame him for her death. She does tell Suze who Red is, nor does she tell Suze what her name is.

Being new to the area Suze has no idea who Red might be, and so she asks her friends. Imagine her surprise when she finds out that the father of Tad Beaumont – a boy Suze would not mind dating – is sometimes called Red. She learns that Red Beaumont has an unsavory reputation. When people cross him they disappear, never to be seen again.

Despite this pretty chilling information Suze is determined to deliver the ghost's message. She comes up with an excuse to get into the Beaumont house and talks with Tad's father, only to discover that the decidedly creepy man might be more than just a murderer.

With a terrific sense of humor and an obvious appreciation for the trials and tribulations that teenagers endure, Meg Cabot continues the adventures of Suze Simon in this second book in the Mediator series. Suze's character develops further as she tries to get through the mine field that is her life. Readers will appreciate how much she wishes she were not a mediator, how much she wants to be a ""normal"" sixteen year old. At the same time they will be really glad that Suze can see ghosts because her adventures and misadventures in ghost busting are so entertaining.