Review: Shadowland by Meg Cabot

Review: Shadowland by Meg CabotShadowland by Meg Cabot
Series: The Mediator #1
Published by HarperTeen on December 28, 2004
Genres: Humor, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 287
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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four-stars

Suze is a mediator -- a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won't leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn't seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.

But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it's not that easy. There's a ghost with revenge on her mind ... and Suze happens to be in the way.

So Gillian (Writer of Wrongs) and I decided that a reread of this series was totally necessary to life happiness. The Mediator series was my favorite of Meg Cabot’s stuff back in the day, and I love revisiting old favorites. Though I don’t have time to binge, they are fun, fast reads and will totally prevent slumping with their awesome. In some ways, Shadowland wasn’t as good as I remembered, but mostly it was still totally bitching and I loved it.

Meg Cabot brings the humor like few people can. She is at her best when she’s being totally silly and going for pure entertainment. The Mediator series actually blends in some dark paranormal stuff, but the overall tone remains hilarity. Suze is a Mediator, which means she can see dead people Haley Joel Osment style and talk them to the next life or whatever. Only her dead people don’t look like they did when they died with bullet holes or whatever; they look nice, because hello we’re trying to have fun here.

Susannah Simon is wonderful. The reason I loved these books so much is in large part due to her. She’s kind of a bitch, but in the best way. Nobody messes with Suze without getting punched in the face or told off, depending on her mood at any given time. Basically, Suze defends herself and also other people. She is not someone to stand by and watch bullying happen. Also, she comes up with hilarious names for people, like her new step-brothers, who she calls Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc.

So far, Doc is the most interesting of Suze’s family members. He’s the youngest son of her mom’s new husband, and he is a genius. Doc (David) is adorably awkward, constantly feeling the need to unload his knowledge on people. That could be annoying, but he also really cares and is so sweet to Suze. Sleepy (Jake) shows hints of becoming the awesome character I think I remember him being later, but mostly he lives up to his name. Dopey’s the worst. The parents are nice, but not all that much part of the story yet. I do like how the step-family is shown in a good light, with no real drama.

Also, Jesse de Silva. I’d forgotten how relatively minor his role was in this first book. He’s fabulous of course, but he’s not really shining yet. He’s this super hot ghost living in her room of the family’s old house. He is a bit overly interested in her too quickly, but I also feel like he was probably really bored and astounded to find someone who could see and touch him, so I get it.

Shadowland is hilariously dated. Like, Susannah discusses things like second phone lines and looking up phone numbers in her date book. The slang is all over the place and quite frequent. Some of it is in line with 2000 when the book came out, and some things like “hosed” are ones I’ve only heard people of my parent’s generation say. But, whatever, it’s hilarious. Also hilarious is when Suze asked Doc if their school had computers. We had a computer lab and computers in the library at my public elementary school back in the early 90s, so I’m pretty confident that in 2000 an expensive private school would definitely have them. Pretty much any school anywhere would.

If you need something light that will make you laugh, you cannot go wrong with an old school Meg Cabot novel. This is a universally acknowledged truth, y’all.

Favorite Quote:

“You blew your brains out in front of his mother because you were too stupid to realize that no boy—not even Bryce Martinson—is worth dying for.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

Buffy No guy is worth your life

14 responses to “Review: Shadowland by Meg Cabot”

  1. I love Meg Cabot and The Mediator series, although I still haven’t read the last book yet, which is totally ridiculous.

    I agree, the light and hilarious is what makes these books so great. And Suze herself. Because she seriously cracks me up!
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    • Christina Franke says:

      Suze is fabulous. She gives no fucks most of the time and this is why I love her. I’m shocked by how much of these books I’d forgotten and cannot remember book 6 at all. I just remember book 5 being the book of abject misery.

  2. MJ says:

    I’m actually planning on doing a reread of this next year when the seventh book is close to being released. It’s amazing that after ten plus years, this is still probably my favorite YA series. I wish there were more Suzes in the age group than what we have. I think the closest MC that I’ve seen to being like her is Rose Hathaway a la Vampire Academy.
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    • Christina Franke says:

      Most excellent plan! With the speed at which Gillian and I have been doing our buddy readalong, we may finish just in time for the next book. Haha. :-p

      I sort of see the Rose comparison, but I read VA about 6 years ago and I can’t remember if she’s as funny as Suze is.

  3. Ashley says:

    I forgot how much I enjoyed Meg Cabot books. Some rereading might be in order!

  4. Nori says:

    I loved these books when I was a teen! You are making me want to reread them all right now! Also, I agree with MJ. Suze is like no other except maybe Rose Hathaway in Vampire Academy. It’s funny to think about how dated it is. I remember liking how the family stuff was done too.
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  5. Rebecca says:

    I saved your review when I saw the Buffy GIF and knew I had to check it out. I haven’t read much Meg Cabot, but the few books I have read I’ve enjoyed. Maybe I’ll get to her books next year. I’ve heard she’s releasing a new Princess book and I haven’t read that series either. Great review! It’s nice to return to old faves.
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    • Christina Franke says:

      I’d personally recommend not starting with the Princess Diaries. That’s one of the few things Meg Cabot has done that I didn’t really like. I enjoyed the start, but the middle is weak. Apparently the end is good, but I didn’t get that far. It might work better for you, but I think this is a much more consistently good series. Also, pretty much all of her standalones are amazing.

  6. YOU’RE MAKING ME NEED TO REREAD THIS SERIES LIKE BURNING BUT I WANT THE SEVENTH BOOK TO BE CLOSER WHEN I DO THAT AND I NEED THE SEVENTH BOOK TO BE OUT LAST WEEK AND AND AND

    Why no, I’m not overly invested in this series. Nope.

    You are so very right about everything. Suze will forever be awesome and so will her books no matter how dated they are. BRING ON THE NEXT BOOKS AND MORE JESSE AND THE TORTURED SMOOCHES.

    • Christina Franke says:

      Well, we’re not exactly blazing through the series, so we might not be too far off book seven by the time we finish. :-p

      UM CAN YOU BE TOO INVESTED?

      MORE JESSE. I think the kissing starts in like book three or four. I hope three because that’s the one that’s next.

  7. Hahaha, okay, I think you’re convincing me to put this on my to-read list. Sadly, I haven’t even read The Princess Diaries. I mean, I had it and maybe started reading it once, but never finished. So I’m basically a Meg Cabot virgin. xD
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    • Christina Franke says:

      YISSSSSSS. I mean, seriously dated, but worth it. Also, ignore mentions of chest hair. It was the past and people liked that sort of thing. Just give them a mental wax. TPD is one of my least favorite Meg Cabot things. I would not recommend starting there.

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