Shadowland by Meg Cabot: A

From the back cover:
Sixteen-year-old Susannah Simon is a mediator who can see and speak with ghosts. As a bridge between the living and the dead, she gets called on to help troubled ghosts take care of unfinished business. Soon after she and her mother move from New York City to sunny California, Suze meets the sexiest boy she’s ever seen. But there are two problems: he’s a ghost, and he’s haunting her room.

This was YA supernatural fluff and I totally adored it! There isn’t actually much of a plot aside from one particularly hateful ghost wanting revenge on an ex, but it’s fun anyway. Cabot borrows heavily from the premise for Buffy and I suppose I should be annoyed by that, but it reads more like an homage than a rip-off.

The similarities:
* Susannah (a little Buffyish in character, but with the super snark of Veronica Mars—I obviously like her quite a bit!) has a supernatural ability/job that she did not ask for and cannot relinquish.
* This ability has gotten her into some trouble in her old town, and her mom is hopeful that moving to a new place, in the middle of her sophomore year, will be a fresh start.
* There’s an adult staffer at her new high school who knows what she is and can give some advice.
* The popular kids make overtures towards her, but she seems more inclined to hang with the “losers”—specifically one guy and one girl. The guy (quippy, but not as funny as Xander) has a crush on Susannah and is clearly oblivious to the feelings that the other girl (nothing like Willow, alas) has for him.
* Susannah meets a foxy dead guy who has been around for over a century and who helps her out when fighting the aforementioned hateful ghost.

Shadowland reads kind of like a pilot episode. It sets the theme, the mythology, and the characters without delving too deeply into any of those categories. At this point, I sort of expect the series to compare to Buffy’s first season without approaching the impact of the latter half of season two. I would be highly (pleasantly) surprised if Cabot managed to pull off something like that.

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