Sunday, April 18, 2021

Book Review: The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf

Title: The Girl and the Ghost
Series: -
Author: Hanna Alkaf
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genres: Childrens, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Asian Literature
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: August 4th 2020
Pages: 288

Synopsis (Goodreads): 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.

My rating: 5 / 5 ★

The Girl and the Ghost is an endearing story about a sweet girl named Suraya, who inherited a pelesit—a familiar spirit in the Malay folklore, generally in the form of a grasshopper—from her witch grandmother. She later named the pelesit as Pink, and grew up only having Pink as her true friend. But then Jing Wei came along and the two girls bonded immediately. That was when Pink started to change and Suraya's life took a darker turn.

There are two main reasons why I love this book with all my heart:

1) The characters are extremely loveable! Suraya is the cutest little bean, and it was no surprise how protective Pink is towards her. I will literally sacrifice myself for Suraya too! At such a young age, she is very mature and she understood immediately how people view her differently from others. I love how she called herself "the durian of friends", like an acquired taste so only certain people will get her (it's not a secret that the taste of durian is an acquired taste, and not everyone will love it). I also love the fact that Suraya never wanted her bullies to suffer too; she refused to let Pink harm them using his powers, because she knew that would just make her the same as her bullies. I love Suraya so much—PETITION TO START A SURAYA-PROTECTION-SQUAD!

I also love Pink a lot too; he's very protective towards Suraya and it's so heartwarming to see how he tries his best to be gentle and kind just like Suraya. His character is just like an adorable puppy, sometimes creating mischief and when Suraya reprimanded him, he knew how to feel guilty. The dynamic between Suraya and Pink is just too cute! But there was a point where the two had a row and Pink's way of revenge can be quite petty, if not horrifying. 

And then there is Jing Wei, Suraya's new best friend. Just like Suraya, I willingly will sacrifice anything for Jing—she is too relatable! She is a literal ball of sunshine that simply seems to be excited for any new adventures. I love the point where Pink finally opens up about his origin story, and trust me that it is a horrifying story, but Jing just gets really excited about it. She does remind me of myself because I love me some horror stories! Jing is also quick-witted and fun, and I appreciate her so much for constantly being there for Suraya despite their different backgrounds.

2) The second reason as to why I love this book so much is the representation of local Malay ghosts! I am just so thrilled that I finally recognise the names of ghosts haunting in a book that I read. I love how Hanna Alkaf described each of the ghost mentioned in the story, and she even included how the ghosts are summoned. I think my favourite part will be the trio meeting the ghosts at the cemetery, especially with Hussein.

There were many other Malay things casually being mentioned in the story, and overall I just feel so happy reading this book—well, the horror parts are horrifying enough but this book still gave me a lot of happiness. I think it's safe to say that The Girl and the Ghost is one of my most favourite local books, and Hanna Alkaf easily entered my list of favourite authors. 

The Girl and the Ghost is a very endearing story that depicts the life of a girl living with a ghost in Malaysia, and there is nothing more perfect than that. It is a book great for all ages, and the writing style is easy enough for young readers to understand—if they are brave enough to read ghosts though. It's a quick read that can easily be finished in a single seating, and I definitely recommend this book to all readers.

Thank you to MPH Distributors for the copy of The Girl and the Ghost in exchange for my honest review. This book is available in all good bookstores, and trust me, you do not want to miss it!


“"I always wanted to know about my family," Suraya said quietly, and her voice was small and sad. "But all I've learned of my grandmother so far is that she was a horrible, mean person. And I have her blood. What does that say about me?"

"It says that the most beautiful blooms come from the darkest soil."

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

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