Book Review: Strange Girl by Christopher Pike

Strange Girl
Author: Christopher Pike
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
Released: November 17th 2015
Review Source: Simon Pulse

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Christopher Pike comes a brand-new fascinating and seductive new novel about a girl with a mysterious ability—but one that carries an unimaginable cost.

From the moment Fred met Aja, he knew she was different. And she was.

Aja had a gift. But her gift came with a price.

After a shocking sequence of events, Fred must look back at their relationship, and piece together all of their shared moments, so he can finally understand Aja’s precious gift…and its devastating repercussions.

A thought provoking story about a strange new girl and how others are affected by meeting her.

The story is narrated by Fred, a teenage boy in high school, who is a member of an alternative rock band starting to get small gigs. He is an artist that writes truly soulful song lyrics that seem to captivate audiences. Fred is very talented but lacks faith and confidence. He meets her, the new girl in school, a beautiful yet bizarre girl named Aja, who recently moved to the small town from Brazil.  She shows interest and excitement about Fred’s music and by showing she believes in him, helps him believe in himself. She has a unique way of looking at herself and the world. She begins creating what some would call miracles and others magic. It causes fear in some members of the school and community. People begin to the bible as a weapon to attack her, someone that they don’t understand.

The story makes you really think and examine your own beliefs about our connections to a higher power or spirit, others and the universe. It explores fears and hysteria in society and how people may discriminate because of that fear. It shows how some people can behave poorly and get ugly quickly, but others, can rise, step up and do better. I like that the story has these deeper questions and themes explored in a very smart way without shoving faith down our throats. The story is well told, very refreshing and surprising. It made me think after I put the book down, which is, always a good thing.

Strange Girl kept me turning pages to learn more about whom this strange girl is and how she reveals herself and affects those around her. The author manages to maintain the story line about the group of friends, their relationships, friendships and their families. It shows a typical group of friends dealing with real life issues, such as love, pain, alcohol and drug use, loss of a parent, child abuse, money problems, insecurity, broken heart’s etc. It is a love story with the excitement and mystery of meeting a new person and getting to know that person. It is about forgiveness, it is about not being a harsh judge of others or yourself. It is about every person being valuable and important. It is about love and sacrifice and not trying to control everything or everyone. Lastly it is about being at peace and accepting that we are always connected to those we love, even when not physically with them.

If there is one negative critique about this book, it is that I wish it would have finished at the end and not continued with the Epilogue. That may just be my issue but I don’t like the ten years later or twenty years later glimpse when you are forced to say goodbye to the young characters you have come to know and would like to see more of. It is sad to see the reality of them growing up, friends going in different directions and becoming less than you would have hoped or imagined. Maybe I still have a bit of PTSD after seeing Harry, Ron and Hermione as adults.

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