Strange Times: The Ghost in the Girl

Read:  2017

Authors:  Tom DeLonge & Geoff Herbach

Published:  2016

Genre:  Young Adult

Pages:  199 (e-book)

Selected By:  BillMo

BillMo’s Score:  Scoring It Was OK Book

“Charlie Wilkins has it all.  Pitcher on the baseball team, point guard on the basketball team, good jock friends and girls who just love him.  Then his U.S. Air Force dad goes M.I.A. during a secret mission and Charlie falls into darkness.  He quits basketball, pushes away his old friends who all seem so stupid.  He stops talking.  Nobody knows what he’s going through, because the government has forbidden the family from disclosing Dad’s predicament.  Charlie turns into a loner, until an Earth Science assignment forces him to join a new, messed-up team.

“Wiz has a brain for science, a love for steampunk, and a total disgust for most human beings.  Heavy-set, picked-on Riley has a home life Harry Potter wouldn’t trade for.  Mouse and Mattheson are skateboard slackers with a keen interest in tacos and in building a model volcano that looks like a butt.  With zero chemistry between them, Charlie can’t see how he’s going to pass this class.  Will he be stuck, suffering, in eighth grade forever? 

“The earth shifts.  It seems impossible.  A ghost girl reaches out to Charlie through the terrified skater boys.  She’s being stalked by a vengeful spirit that shares a past with Charlie’s family.  It soon becomes clear that the spirit is coming for him.  He has to save the ghost girl and save himself.  His only hope?  The nerd Wiz, the loser Riley, the skaters Mouse and Mattheson who want to hook-up with the girl.  But, seriously, she’s a ghost.

“Strange Times, indeed…”

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BillMo’s Review

I really wanted to love this book.  I admit it, I’m a Blink-182 fan and decided that, as such, I had to read a book that Tom DeLonge wrote, even though he is no longer part of the band.  Oh, wait!  Hang on just a second as I wipe the single tear that is sliding down my cheek for his departure in 2015 from the band…

Mouse almost peed, but pinched and tucked.

Okay. I think I am okay now and can carry on.

She accidentally made contact with Mouse and Mattheson, who responded by making a model of her butt in papier mache.

I have never written a book, so I give DeLonge props for doing so, but I have to say that I really felt like I was reading a book that a 13-year-old boy wrote.  Yep, that’s right, it sounded very much like “John said this” and “so and so said that” and “…said Jane.”  I didn’t hate this book, I actually thought that it was okay and relatively funny in some spots.  As long as you don’t mind the occasional dick and fart jokes along with the ever-popular “your mamma” bit thrown in, you may find this book entertaining while not over-stimulating.  It was goofy-fun.  I might even read another one if it comes out – but, again, just not well written.  Sometimes it seemed like DeLonge would throw words out there just for the sake of throwing out a big word, such as the use of “photovoltaic cell.”  Why not just say “solar energy”?  Why am I having to Google “photovoltaic cell” to know what you mean in a book with less than two-hundred pages that was written for kids twelve and under?  A 13-year-old boy in your standard American public school wouldn’t say such thing.  I could be wrong and there could be an anomaly out there doing such things, but come on.
I mean.  Come on.  You know you didn’t know what “photovoltaic cell” meant, either, until I told you, didja?  And you’re welcome.  🙂
“His dad is a first class bag of dicks.”
This book was written about boys in junior high who were working on a science project together.  They decide to meet at a coffee shop.  I don’t know about you, but when I was in junior high I wasn’t riding my bike to the coffee shop.  I’m just saying… it’s a little weird.  Like… oddly hipster weird for punk rockers and skaters.
Also it was completely filled with goons and reprobates.
I’m thinking that this may have been somewhat of an autobiography of DeLonge and his friends growing up.  It may be, but the world may never know.
“Just butt-ass bad.”
They talk about certain people being “spongy,” a term they use to convey the idea of a certain sort of person who is more receptive to ghosts, the sort of person who can be easily accessed by and coexist within the same body as ghosts.  The ghost may even have some extra control like full-on possession… but, hey, a ghost gotta do what a ghost gotta do, yo.
“Don’t get all monkey ass on my posse.”
The father of one of the boys threatens to send him to military school because he does not act “normal” and his best friend is his grandfather.  In the father’s view, the kid has to, “… learn how to be a man and that means you have to act like a boy.”  Hello, fellow readers – does anyone else find that to be an exceptionally dumb thing to say, masquerading as an extremely deep thing a father would say to his son?  His son who, I might add, is excelling in school but is a bit antisocial and marches to the beat of his own drum?  And you’re going to send him to military school because he doesn’t act “normal”????  For real???
“You’re a magical tubby skate elf!”  Mouse shouted.  “So Rad!”
I feel like I should write more, but the book was really short.  I can do you a solid, though, and give you the story in a poem:  *****SPOILER ALERT***** >>> 
Boy is angry
Another needs “normal friends”
Boys get together
 – not that kind of “together” –
and form a science team
with dumb-asses.
Boy is possessed
Hauntings happen
Bad-ghosty-weird things get inside boy
– not that kind of “inside” –
and give him explosive farts
out of his dumb ass.
Boys fight bad guys
Boys win
But there’s a ghost on the loose
– not that kind of “loose” –
A sequel!  I will probably read it
because I am a dumb ass.
One more thing:
Photovoltaic cell
means solar cell
which you should have known
but you went to public school
and they made you a dumb ass.
<<<*****END SPOILER*****
And one final really deep thought to end this review:
He didn’t know that Shreds, by their very nature, love Black Flag, too.

BillMo read the Amazon Kindle version of this selection.

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