Monday, November 28, 2016

Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator - Young Adult Mystery Review

Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison (Amazon link)
Rating: Good
Source: Library

Description: Ever since her father died, quirky Gilda Joyce has been working hard to sharpen her psychic skills. She's determined to communicate with spirits from the Other Side and become a crack investigator of spooky, twisted mysteries. After wrangling an invitation to visit relatives in San Francisco, Gilda discovers that her dreary, tight-lipped uncle and his strange, delicate daughter need her help to uncover the terrible family secret that has a tortured ghost stalking their home. From poignant to hair-raising and hilarious, this is a behind-the-scenes, tell-all account of the very first case in the illustrious career of Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator. (from back cover)

Genre: Young Adult - Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:  It was on one of the display shelves at the library and looked interesting.

My Impression: Going in I knew absolutely nothing about this book or the series so I had no idea what to expect.  Judging from the cover and the blurb I was thinking it would be more of a Middle Grade story and was a bit puzzled by the fact it was puzzled by it being filed as YA - until I started reading it that is.
There are a lot of very serious topics discussed - suicide, depression, death of a parent, grief, growing up and just not fitting in - and the book was definitely not the light romp I had the impression it would be.  I did like how the subject matters were treated.  Nothing was dismissed and at no point did I feel like the girls' feelings were trivialized however there was a wider perspective and Gilda and Juliet found a lot to admire about each other even when they didn't get along.  I think 5th grade and up would be fine with the subject matter.  
Gilda is a bit of an interesting character.  I think she read pretty true as 13 year old girl.  Everyone around her is growing up and she's not quite sure she wants to start being interested in boys and makeup and all that stuff.  She's also struggling to come to terms with the death of her father 2 years earlier and the changes in her world.  Gilda is a bit immature and has a very in your face attitude which while not aggressive or mean does get annoying at times and she is definitely not a character everyone will enjoy.  
The mystery element is intriguing and while not all questions were answered I was satisfied with the way the story resolved.  
This was an entertaining book that tackles some very sensitive issues sympathetically and realistically.  While I think Gilda's at times abrasive personality will not be for everyone I'm looking forward to seeing where the series goes next.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: I would.  I'm curious about where the series will go and the 2nd book had much better reviews.

Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes, if you enjoy Middle Grade or YA with quirky characters I think you'd like this one.


  1. Wow that does take on a lot of heavier topics. I would have guessed it a lighter book by the cover alone. Glad you enjoyed it and hope the next book is good too! Great review!

  2. Okay can see why this would be YA and a good book for discussion with young people no doubt. 5th Grade and up sounds right, seems like Gilda had quite a bit to contend with.

  3. That cover is sooo middle grade. I always hate to see when a book has the wrong style of cover, especially when it comes to YA and Children's because those covers make such a difference. Glad you did enjoy this, though.

  4. I do like books about family secrets! This sounds like an interesting book, Katherine. And yes, very heavy topics, especially since it is aimed at middle grade. It sounds like the author deals with the topics well though. I will have to keep this book and the series in mind. Thank you for your thoughtful review!

  5. Sounds like an interesting read.

  6. Thank you for your fair-minded, detailed review. However it does irk me when a cover and blurb do not give an accurate description of the tone and subject of the book. It's like going to the supermarket, picking up a pack with peas on the label and getting it home to discover it's brussel sprouts instead...