May Bird

“I think if I could go somewhere else, I could be someone else.”

May Bird and the Ever After by Jodi Lynn Anderson is the first book in a series, and I haven’t yet read the others, so I can only speak for this one at the moment. 

May is ten years old and lives with her mother in an abandoned old town with no friends but her cat, Somber Kitty. Her father is not in the picture, and her mother isn’t very supportive. One day May finds a mysterious letter addressed to her from otherworldly beings, asking for her help. She initially resists the call, but the otherworld (in this case, the afterlife itself) begins to invade her own safe home, until she is forced to go there herself. She is helped by a spirit who initially scares her, but eventually becomes her friend (as with her cat, this spirit is male, like most Girl Underground companions). He guides her around the Ever After, introducing her to various other spirits who can help her. Meanwhile, she is being pursued by the evil Bogey, who is in turn working for the even worse Bo Cleevil. At one point, she receives a blanket that, when wrapped around her, gives her a vision of home that is very real (akin to the “temporarily returning home” scenarious often found in Girls Underground stories). Eventually, while trying to reach a magical book that might help her get home, she is separated from her companions and must face the Bogey alone – the classic showdown. It is later revealed that the Bogey’s minions are not quite what they seem. While she has temporarily defeated the adversary through his minion, the final outcome is undetermined by the end of the first book. As with many of these tales, there are admonitions for the girl to believe in herself, because it is the only way she will survive her various adventures and tribulations.

“You doubt yourself. It’s a great failing.”