To say I was ecstatic when I found out one of my favorite authors, Meg Cabot, was writing an adult sequel to her Mediator YA series doesn’t begin to describe how happy I was. I think if I hadn’t been sitting on the reference desk at the time I might have jumped up and down cheering with joy. This was the first series of hers I ever read, and I fell head over heals for it, and Jesse.
The first one I picked up was actually the fifth book, Haunted. I was sitting on the Circulation desk at my high school media center (where I helped out for class credit) when I spotted it on the cart of books that needed shelving. It sounded interesting, so I checked it out. Of course, I didn’t realize it was book five. Fortunately, that didn’t effect the plot too much. I quickly read through the rest of the series, and while I liked the ending, it left me feeling as if something was missing. Would Jesse become a Doctor now? Will Paul Slater finally take a hike and leave Suze and Jesse alone? Fear not! Mediator Book Seven is finally here! And with it, my eleven year wait is over.
In case you’re not familiar with them, Mediator follows Susannah “Suze” Simon a mediator who moves to Carmel, California when her mom remarries. She walks into her room in their Victorian house only to find it already occupied by the ghost of one Hector “Jesse” de Silva. The handsome Jesse, who worked on his family’s ranch, died in her room when it was a boarding house. They decide to make it work, laying down ground rules, of course, they begin to fall in love. Suze, or quierda (Spanish for beloved/sweetheart swoon!) as Jesse calls her, continues to mediate the dead, including some vengeful ghosts connected to Jesse’s death, all while trying to survive high school and lamenting the fact that she’s fallen in love with her ghostly roommate. In book six it is revealed mediators can slip through time (the details of this are a bit fuzzy), and Suze’s ex-boyfriend and fellow mediator, Paul Slater, uses that ability to try and keep Jesse and Suze from ever meeting and falling in love. Suze follows him, determined to stop him. She ends up pulling Jesse’s body forward in time with her and his spirit is sucked back into. Making for a happy ending.
Now, seven years later, Suze and Jesse are engaged. Jesse is in his residency at a local hospital thanks to the help of Father Dominic, the priest/high school principal/mediator who has helped Suze and Jesse over the years, and Suze is interning at her old high school and working on getting a Master’s degree to be a school counselor. It seems like things are going great for the lovebirds, until Suze gets an e-mail from Paul saying he’s bought her parent’s old house and is going to demolish it, potentially unleashing demonic forces hiding inside Jesse. Much to her horror, he offers her a very unpleasant deal to save the house and Jesse. The narcissist in Paul is still convinced they are meant to be together and that if Suze would just give him a second chance, she’d dump Jesse for him. Suze knows she can’t trust him – and is pretty sure he might be the devil himself – after everything he’s done in the past to her and Jesse, but part of her can’t help but wonder if Jesse’s time as a ghost effected him more than he lets on. To make matters worse, the powerful ghost of a young girl is haunting one of the students at the Mission, and it’s up to Suze to find out what happened to her and why she’s still clinging, literally, to her childhood friend. Plus, if Jesse finds out about Paul she’s afraid he’ll do something that will get him arrested. What’s a mediator to do when faced with Egyptian curses, wrathful ghosts, and horrible ex-boyfriends? Kick some ghostly butt that’s what!
All the old characters are here, even if they only appear briefly. In the original books, I got a kick out of Suze’s nicknames for her step-brothers, Doc, Dopey, and Sleepy, and this time around she’s nicknamed her triplet nieces Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton Tail which had me laughing hysterically. I think their real names were only mentioned once, but it didn’t really matter. It was great to see everyone again, and to meet the new editions. While most of Cabot’s books are full of some hilariously quirky characters, these ones are a little less quirky and a little more “normal”, but no less lovable. I love Suze’s sarcasm and confidence, and her sense of protectiveness towards her family. And Jesse, well, I love his sense of honor and loyalty, his kindness, his good heart, his sense of chivalry, and how he always calls her quierda. Basically, I just love him!
It was great to see the characters as adults and trying to fulfill their dreams. Jesse finally gets to be a pediatrician, which is awesome, and Suze finding a way to use her mediating skills to help the living as well as the dead was great too (at the same time too!). I also liked the more grown up issues the characters face, and that it wasn’t just the adults that were dealing with them. This may be chick lit, but Cabot doesn’t shy away from the tough issues. The icing on the cake was the bittersweet, happy ending. Although I can’t help wondering if Paul has really given up trying to get rid of Jesse.
My only gripe is a few typos I noticed, like using the Walterses’s instead of Walters’. But that’s not the writer’s fault.
I give this one Five Lightsabers. I really hope she does another one, because I’d love to see Suze trying to teach the triplets how it’s done. Fans of the series will not be disappointed, and if your new to the series, don’t worry, the basics are explained.