Give Up the Ghost is the first novel published by Canadian author Megan Crewe, and its title has several layers of meaning. The protagonist, Cassandra McKenna, has been able to see ghosts since her older sister's drowning four years ago. She also harbors a grudge against her former (supposed) best friend, Danielle, who engineered Cass's fall into social obscurity after a seventh-grade falling out. Now a junior in high school, Cass finds a vicious pleasure in making public the secrets that her ghost friends find out about her fellow students. Unable to trust anyone living, she searches for a way to revenge herself on Danielle, only to find that the moment, when it comes, is not as sweet as she had anticipated. The novel is also the story of the popular student council vice president, Tim, whose struggle with the death of his mother from cancer leads him to the mysterious Cass. Not explicitly a romance, the book nonetheless follows Cass and Tim as they work to establish the intimacy of a real friendship against a backdrop of grief and self-doubt, each "giving up" what has been keeping them from moving forward.
I liked that the book embraced the discussion of difficult topics, such as death and social ostracism, but I thought at times that the relationship was developing too quickly (the novel takes place over the course of a few weeks) and I didn't like that Cass brushed off one of her ghost friends (the only friends she had for the past four years) on page 54, and the character never appeared again. But I also liked that Danielle was, by the end, more than a one-dimensional character. I am curious as to whether Crewe plans to write a sequel, as there are a few plot threads that were left unaddressed. I would be interested to see what direction she takes.