DFF: Dead Friends Forever
J. R. Turner
Echelon, Mar 2009, $13.99
In Wisconsin, Marsden Middle School skateboard fanatic Kaylee Hensler wants to skate in the nearby park, but several bullies led by Jimmy the Giant refuse to allow anyone on their turf. She challenges several of the boys to a skate off, but instead Jimmy dares her to enter haunted Larson House and take something form the top floor; though she knows this is insane she accepts.
Her best friend wheelchair bound Davey tells her this is insane and Kaylee agrees. Still she enters the house, goes up to the third floor, finds a mirror, and thinks all is well until a young teenage ghost scares her. She flees, but begins seeing the ghost elsewhere. Davey learns the ghost is probably Isabelle Larson killed in 1897 by Clarence Stillwell. As she tries to help the spirit an evil paranormal essence wants to stop her and her parents, her swimming team coach and her dwindling friends believe Kaylee has lost her mind while Isabelle wants to be her BFF; only neighbor Madame Maggie and Davey understand that there is a paranormal presence.
This is a terrific young adult horror thriller starring an intrepid heroine and a strong support cast including her DFF. The story line is fast-paced with a great finish as Kaylee knows if she survives she still has to explain to rational skeptics. The key characters are fully developed so readers understand them and their motivations. Though her parents are purposely exaggerated so that they come across as how their daughter perceives them, this makes them act stilted. Still fans will enjoy Kaylee’s dilemma.