A girl called Corpse by Reece Carter

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Corpse is a teenage ghost who has fashioned herself to look human from wax and debris from the sea. She lives in the roof of a shack, on a place called the-rock-that-doesn’t-exist, in the middle of the bay. Below her live three evil male witches who she painstakingly avoids. Her only companion is a spider called Simon who communicates with her in clicks. Corpse yearns to know about her life before she was snatched and died. Who were her family? What was her name? 

Corpse discovers that she can retrieve her memories by going to the town of Elston-Fright on the mainland and visiting the Ungeneral Store. She reunites with her ghost friend Girl, who she thought had Died Proper (when a ghost disappears forever). She also sees fleshies, living normal human family lives. Corpse realises the witches and The Merchant of the store are all fighting and in pursuit of something which is also valuable to her. But the Witches are malicious in pursuing it because their magic powers are waning and this item will vastly boost their power. Corpse, Girl, and Simon must work together to try and defeat The Witches.

This is a unique tale with fantastic characters and events. The name Corpse, Death Proper and Ungeneral Store are examples of the invented language which add to the creepiness and humor. The banter between the witches and The Merchant is funny and sarcastic. Appropriately Corpse uses limited, harmless magic. We develop empathy for Corpse as she is very alone. And although ghosts are not supposed to experience emotions Corpse does, e.g., crying from her abalone eyes and “something in my not-chest aches”. The story is compelling because we want to know if Corpse will retrieve her memories and will good triumph over evil? And can she recognize her shortcomings as a friend? Reece Carter has created a bleak seaside town, added gruesome touches but also glimmers of hope. All in all, an enjoyable read suitable for lovers of The Eerie on Sea series or Jaclyn Moriarty’s Kingdom and Empires series.

Themes: Friendship, Witches, Ghosts, Family.

Jo Marshall