Crystal and Bone (October Girls #1) by L.C. Glazebrook: Review

October Girls

Synopsis from Goodreads: Five days until Halloween and all hell is about to break loose.
And it’s all Crystal’s fault.
Momma warned her not to consort with the dead and tried to teach her the magic spells that would close the portal to the afterlife. But Crystal doesn’t want to be a trailer-trash witch like Momma. She has dreams of going to community college and escaping the Appalachian town of Parson’s Ford.
Her best friend Bone is only too happy to escape the afterlife and help Crystal break the rules. Bone died too young, and she’ll do whatever it takes to remain among the living.
Then a teen movie maker comes to Parson’s Ford, and he has a very special project in mind: a horror movie starring a real ghost. The kids who watch his movies turn into brainwashed zombies. And to totally complicate matters, Crystal thinks he’s kind of a hunk, and she’s afraid her boyfriend Pettigrew only loves her because of Momma’s magic spells.
Now it’s Halloween, the night when the portal to the afterlife is widest, and somebody’s been messing with Momma’s potions. The fate of the world is in Crystal’s hands, but she hasn’t been paying attention to her lessons. And a mysterious figure in the afterlife is urging Bone to stay loyal to her own kind instead of to Crystal.
The movie is rolling, the creatures are stirring, and the brainwashed teenagers are ready to welcome a new star from the other side of the grave.
Crystal and Bone must overcome drama queens, coffin cuties, and mangled magic if they want to remain best friends forever—but at this rate, forever may not last much longer.

Source: Author for a fair and honest review

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review: L.C. Glazebrook’s October Girls is a YA novel that proved to be quite an enjoyable read and well worth the time devoted to it!   You can’t help but get involved from the beginning.  Glazebrook introduces her two main characters, Crystal and Bone with the line “Crystal loved her best friend Bone, but sometimes she wished Bone was just a little bit deader.”  I had no idea you could be a little bit dead – I have always pictured dead as an all or nothing kind of deal – I stand corrected and am quite glad to be so.  Oh, and I laughed out loud TWICE at the opener!

Glazebrook takes the reader on a well-paced and fully developed ride through the lives of Crystal Aldridge and her kind of dead best friend Bone.  The two girls, along with a whole host of minor characters must find a way to stop the end of the world from occurring on Halloween night.  Everything occurs in the small town of Parson’s Ford where Crystal works at the local video store, pursues her dreams of attending community college at night, & generally tries to avoid the “how to be a witch” lessons offered by her mother.  The Aldridge family has long been practicing witches & has always been tasked with keeping the portals to the other side in check.  Crystal however has other plans and those plans certainly don’t involve living in her mother’s trailer and keeping the things that go bump in the night from sneaking over into the land of the living.  While I generally liked Crystal as a character, something about her doesn’t quite ring true.

Glazebrook’s second & much more robust main character is Bone who is what is known as a Tweener, or one who can move back and forth between the land of the living and the dead.  Bone died at age 16 when she was hit by a UPS truck and although she is not technically allowed to move between the two worlds, she does.  We find out later that Bone’s ability to move unchecked between the two worlds is really a part of a devious & rather nefarious plan hatched by the evil that lives on the other side.  Bone’s status as a Tweener proves to be, at times, quite helpful and generally very funny. Bone could have easily become an angst ridden character constantly moaning about her almost completely dead status.  Instead, Glazebrook uses Bone’s character to weave a wonderful thread of dark humor throughout the entire novel.  After all, it is kind of tacky for the living to make fun of the dead so Glazebrook allows the dead to rather snarkily make fun of themselves.  Excellent decision!

While the two main characters provide a great deal of entertainment, there is also a nicely developed cast of secondary characters.  Glazebrook in no way ran out of steam when it came to the personalities of her secondary characters.  Standouts include: the Ray Ban wearing, Milk Dud-loving Judge who both helps & hinders Bone’s movements between the two worlds; Tim, the fiercely loyal little boy who died of cancer and has a serious crush on Bone; Fatback Bob, the greedy and slightly creepy owner of the video store; and Royce Dean, the completely ridiculous lost twin of James Dean who will do anything to become a bigger and brighter star than his Rebel Without a Cause brother ever was.  I found myself becoming just as involved with these characters as I was with Crystal and Bone.  It is so nice to read a book where all the characters, no matter their overall status, are something more than just fillers.  I actually found myself looking forward to Crystal and Bone interacting with these secondary characters, particularly young Tim and the Judge.

The Bottom Line: I found Glazebrook’s October Girls to be a very easy and enjoyable read.  Her novel has a strong plot that is played out to completion with no unanswered questions at the end.  She has noted that this is Book One in what I hope will be a continuing series; I’m not quite sure I’ve had enough of Glazebrook’s dark sense of humor and rather intriguing characters.


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