One of my favorite series by Meg Cabot, The Mediator, consists of six books that are quick reads—perfect for the beach and when you’re on the go this summer! Do note that there are two “extra” books, one placed right after the end of the sixth book and is a type of novella. The other one is marketed towards an older audience (but in my opinion it is still perfectly suitable for the YA audience the first six books are geared towards) and it takes place once our hero has grown up to become a mature woman. It was for all the readers who also grew up and wanted (needed) to catch up with their hero one last time. In this review, I will be talking about the six books that stared it all.
***SOME SPOILERS AHEAD (nothing major but just in case)! PROCEED WITH CAUTION!***
Susannah Simon is quite the extraordinary girl. She moved to California after her mother remarried and next thing she knows she has three step brothers and a roommate. She was never particularly well liked at her old school but at this new school things are already different. It turns out that talking back to the mean girls and threatening them with bodily harm will make you quite popular at Carmel High school. Within weeks of starting at this new school Suze is stunned to find herself being elected as vice president and making some good friends—more than ever dared to approach her back home. That is what makes Suze extraordinary, she doesn’t care what anyone else things of her. When you’re in high school, that is quite a brave act. She keeps one of her bullying step brothers in check, the first person to ever stand up to him. The other thing that sets her apart is something she has never told anybody. Suze is a mediator and can see the dead. Incidentally she also has to hit them often. It turns out that a solid fist can do miracles in persuading a reluctant spirit to stop messing with the living. Perhaps this is why Suze remains undaunted even in the face of her less noble peers…
The roommate situation is a whole other issue. Suze was terrified when she found out that the house her mother and step father had bought was an old boarding house. They renovated it all up nice and gave her a pretty room with an amazing view but the moment she hears its history Suze wants to run back to New York. Old means that there’s a high chance of spirits hanging around. On top of that it was a boarding house where, her youngest step brother happily informs her, there were many murders and pillaging during the height of the gold rush. However, upon entering the house seems clear. Just as shes about to relax, she sees a ghost. The former occupant of her room and the one she is going to have to remove. However, he is as polite as any human has ever been to her and she feels bad removing him against his will. Jessie (the ghost) refuses to tell her why he hasn’t moved on and Suze has suspicions that he just does not know why himself. As time goes on they move from reluctant roommates to good friends. Saving people tends to do that and in Suze’s profession (and especially with her personality), there are many spirits that get angry with her.
Another new thing in California is that Suze realizes she is not alone. To many this probably would have been obvious but Suze had just figured her whole life that even if there were others, she would never meet any—it’s not like they have a website and annual conferences after all! She gets to her new school, another old building her mother forgot to mention, and is surprised to find it ghost free! She was prepared for the worst, expecting the angry souls of the ex local indigenous. The original founder of the school…Let’s say that forcing religion and such onto people doesn’t tend to make them like you; especially when a statue of them all kneeling at your feet in reverence for “saving their souls” is then erected. Thus Suze arrives at this school expecting the worse when, for the first time in her life, someone else has already taken care of the matter. Her schools principle, Father Dominic, is a highly religions man and what Suze considers a curse he considers a gift. The two have vastly different techniques and personalities. his results in an amazing relationship of mentor-student and I must say of the whole series, their relationship is my favorite (and thankfully develops pretty fast). Their relationship is complex but a significant part of it is Father Dominic trying to keep Suze safe (but always assuming the best in her) and Suze not wanting to disappoint him but also not being able to keep calm while waiting for him to fix it. Its the type of relationship where you know both will be the better for it and, even more importantly, happier because of it.
This series deserves a 5 star rating because Suze’s blunt humor and take on the world never fails to lighten my mood. She is a joy to be around and there is never a dull moment navigating high school, friends, boys and ghosts with her. These are by no means deep books. They are light and fluffy and meant to entertain. They’re the type of books you read by the poolside or as a distraction from studying. Keep that in mind and you ought to have a wonderful time with them!
Note: If you enjoyed this series, check out Meg Cabot’s other series Vanished (also known as 1-800-Where-R-You)! They’re both quite similar so perhaps give it some time between the two but it is equally as amazing (They are actually the only two series of Cabot’s that I truly always enjoy and have reread MANY times). To see my review of it follow the link! Vanished by Meg Cabot