Of Ghosts and Geeks by Molly Ringle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Of Ghosts and Geeks is cute, funny, sweet and sexy. MC Gwen, one of the titular geeks (see, sounds titillating already, eh?), is a quirky and charming professor of literature at Girthmore College, sadly in danger of becoming the spinster some might mistakenly take her for. Then she makes an amazing, potentially life-changing purchase - a rare illustrated mythology book, right up her scholarly alley. Little does she know that it's a a BOGO, and the "get one" is the kooky, reckless and restless ghost of a victorian teenager, determined to experience (in death, vicariously) the paroxysms of passion she'd been denied in life. The self-named Violetta (her real name, Dorcas Schmelbeck, is just too prosaic, pedestrian and passionless for her - hey, true story, my mom wanted us to name our oldest daughter Dorcas, family name and all, back in the day. She professed to be mystified when we tried to explain the utter cruelty of inflicting that on an innocent child. Anyhoo...) Violetta has little in the way of real life experience (except for her death, which was a doozy) or impulse control, but makes up for it with her ability to control inaminate objects, which she uses to compel Gwen's compliance with her seductive schemes for experiencing second-hand romance of the voyeuristic kind. She's already selected a partner for Gwen to perform with, the luscious and likeable Paul Chang, the landscaper who mows Gwen's lawn. Paul's biceps and his appreciation for the intersection of comic book heroes and mythology (he's the other geek)have actually previously come to Gwen's fond attention, and when Violetta (pronounced "vi-o-lator?") insists that the two of them re-enact certain poses, postures and positions illustrated in the aformentioned book, the action, and Gwen and Paul's mutual attraction, come to a boil. Like I said, this is fun, and funny. The humor is pretty broad, and laugh out loud-a-licious. Violetta veers between ridiculous and scary, and there are twists and developments that keep things fresh and unforeseeable. Molly has a knack for creating relatable, real-feeling characters, and these two are no exception. Yes, you can see what's happening long before they do (I guess part of geekiness is the whole socially awkward thing, especially with the opposite sex), but that doesn't make their reluctant(?) and reticent compliance with Violetta's ever escalating demands any less entertaining or satisfying. Of course, no true geek tale would be complete without a bit of cosplay, and Molly manages to work in the holy grail of every geek guys fantasy, to sexy and funny effect. So, hopefully I've conveyed my enjoyment and appreciation of this warm and tenderly funny story. This reminded me a bit of Summer Term, only this is the funny version, not the romantic one - it's got that same campusy, academic vibe, and the feeling of a close (sometimes claustrophobically so) community of teachers and students. Indulge yourself by reading this when you need a break - trust me, your enjoyment will be disproportional to its length. Just one final question though - Girthmore? What's up with that?
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