Release Date: May 1st 2012
Buy It: Book Depository
Mary O'Hara is a sharp and cheeky 12-year-old Dublin schoolgirl, and her Granny is dying. Then the ghost of Granny's own mother shows up. She needs the help of Mary and her mother, Scarlett, who embark on a road trip to the past. Four generations of women travel on a midnight car journey. One of them is dead, one of them is dying, one of them is driving, and one of them is just starting out.Honestly, and I don't say this lightly, but this book is really weird. Like, really weird. Possibly too weird for me, though I admit it was the unusual title and haunting cover that drew me in to begin with.
Mary, and especially her mother, Scarlett, tended to be more ghost-like in character than the ghost herself, who had quite a lot of spunk. I did love the way Scarlett spoke with exclamation points though, and loved the snarky way Mary pointed it out, I definitely know people that do that. But I think my favourite parts were when Tansey, the great-grandmother, was reflecting on her past.
A Greyhound of a Girl does a gentle and thoughtful job on tackling the complex issue of death, especially from a child's perspective. Unfortunately, I picked this book up after having read Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver, which is another middle grad novel involving ghost and death and officially one of my favourite books. So it was hard to compare.
In the end, I wasn't entirely sure how I felt about A Greyhound of a Girl. It's a very quiet book, so much so that I wonder how much of an audience it will have with middle grade readers, but that's also refreshing when so much of the focus in MG is often on fantasy and adventure type books. In fact, I hope to be proven wrong, as I'd love to see more middle grade like it.
A Greyhound of a Girl is a book which is all about strong females, but ones that feel authentic and real, with the kind of fragile skin you can reach out and touch. But at times, the novel had a hard time keeping my attention, while at others it lost me completely. With a book that's only about two hundred pages, every page counts, and I spent too many of them dazing off.
There are some strange and special things about A Greyhound of A Girl, and though it wasn't perfect for me, I know when it finds the right reader, it will have exactly the right words.