So I recently read both these books, and they have a lot in common – stereotypical high school situations with some light bullying, self-consciously “outsider” girl investigators who mock the jocks and cheerleaders, and of course, ghostly interference. However, our heroine in Spookygirl talks to ghosts, while the ones in The Dead Girl Detective Agency are (unsurprisingly) ghosts themselves.
Spookygirl: Paranormal Investigator follows the adventures of snarky, smart Violet. Her parents were paranormal investigators until the death of her mother while working on a case. She has just moved into the funeral home run by her father and is coping with a friendly poltergeist/house pet, the inevitable ghosts inhabiting all those dead bodies, starting a new school, a serious hatred of gym and a seriously vicious supernatural vibe in the girls’ change room. There are multiple mysteries in this one.
The Dead Girls Detective Agency starts with the murder of our main character (and no, that’s not a spoiler!).
Charlotte learns that in order to move on in the afterlife, she has to solve her own murder, and teams up with other dead girls (and one dead boy) to track down leads, possess potential suspects, and scrounge up clues. Frankly, the mystery was pretty weak. Our detectives have every possible advantage, short of mind-reading, and still have a tough time solving it. The brand- and name-dropping was especially intrusive, and the villains are not particularly intimidating. Lastly, and most significantly, the story dragged. 384 pages with a small font is a lot for a gimmicky story about dead teen girls cavorting in New York City. If you’re going to read only one teen detective mystery story with a ghostly twist, make it Spookygirl.