Book Review: Girlgoyle by Better Hero Army

Girlgoyle by Better Hero Army (pen name of American author Evan Ramspott) is a young adult novel that will also appeal to mature middle graders. Tiffany Noboru has just died, and woke up. Now she has wings and has been drafted into the Gargoyle Ghost Hunter Corps. Soon she is trying to fit into her new home, dealing with her recent death, and trying to avoid being killed a second time by a maniacal ghost named Bones who is seeking the destruction of the gargoyle world. Woven in are twenty original works of art by Miimork, which breathes extra life into the story.

 Girlgoyle is the story of a girl that has always struggled with fears others might deem to be irrational, and doubts about herself. When her death comes she is forced into a new world, one that forces her to deal with her fears. She considers herself small and clumsy, and has to figure out how to fly with her new wings. She has to navigate a new social structure and learn a whole new set of standards. Nothing seems to go smoothly for her, but she continues moving forward. Even when she considers giving up, she ends up facing up to her problems. I liked that Tiffany has relatable fears and struggles about herself, even while facing a fantastical set of problems. Forging friendships, finding her strengths, dealing with those who could be friends or bullies depending on which way the wind blows, and discovering the facts of the new reality she finds herself in would be enough for anyone to deal with. Adding the threat of the ghost that killed her destroying her new world, and possibly killing her (again) and her mentor makes figuring everything out even more important. I really enjoyed the character work and the work with mythology that is done within the story. I found myself fully emerged in the world while I was reading.

Girlgoyle takes a fresh look at the angel/demon mythology as well as the ghost and gargoyle legends from many cultures. I love getting a fresh look at legends and paranormal creatures, and found this angle felt very fresh and original compared to some of the other urban fantasies out there. The characters and world building were extremely well done.  I was very glad this did not turn into a romance, although I can see a couple possible paths for that to happen in the future if this is continued into a series. I would love to see what happens, and how the characters grow and interact, in the aftermath of this book’s events.

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