Ninth Key is the second book in Meg Cabot’s MEDIATOR series about Suze, a high school student who can interact with restless ghosts. She helps them settle their affairs on Earth so they can move on to wherever they’re supposed to go (she doesn’t know what happens after they leave Earth). In Shadowland, the first MEDIATOR book, Suze and her mom had just moved from New York to northern California so her mom, a widow, could marry a widower with three sons. None of the family knows about Suze’s ability to see ghosts.
Upon arrival in California, Suze discovers the ghost of a hot guy names Jesse in her bedroom. He’s been dead since the 19th century. She’s also surprised to learn that the principal at her school, a Catholic priest named Father Dom, is also a mediator like her. The two of them team up to stop a vengeful ghost at the high school.
In Ninth Key, Suze is settling in nicely in her California community. For the first time in her life, she’s popular at school and boys are interested in her. When a ghost appears and asks her to give a message to the father of a hot guy she recently met at a party, Suze gets involved with his strange and dangerous family. When things get out of hand, Suze’s life is endangered and she’ll need the help of her friends (who also don’t know about the ghosts) and Jesse and Father Dom.
Ninth Key is just as appealing as Shadowland. Suze is a wonderful protagonist — she’s smart, kind, independent, confident, loyal, and true to her own values. She doesn’t cave to peer pressure and doesn’t pretend to be something she’s not. She’s not perfect, though. She can be reckless, do dumb things, disobey her mom and her principle, and bully her step-brothers. I love Suze’s brothers, her friends, and Father Dom, too.
The MEDIATOR books are not great literature but they do a great job at what they’re trying to do which is to provide relatively decent fantasy entertainment to older teenagers. I love the audiobooks which are produced by Recorded Books and narrated by Johanna Parker.