Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Phoebe Rivers
Publisher: Simon Spotlight
Twelve-year-old Sarah sees dead people, but can't always distinguish them from the living. She and her father have recently moved to the Jersey shore, where they are renting rooms in an old Victorian mansion owned by an elderly, but fashionable, fortune teller. There are at least two ghosts in the house, not to mention the rest around town. One of the shoreline features is a haunted house. While the house is all for show, there is a ghost of an old man who has a special message for Sarah. She must discover the danger surrounding the old house and save unknown children, while trying to adjust to a new life and make new friends. She has never told anyone about her unique ability, but in time, Sarah discovers that she likes her new friends, living and departed.
This is a Halloween story with a solid plot and good character development. The story is told from Sarah's point of view as she moves unwillingly to a new home and tries to keep up a facade of normalcy. This situation is analogous to the awkwardness everyone feels in new and unfamiliar circumstances. She both yearns to be open about her problem but longs even more to fit in and be "normal". As the story concludes Sarah begins to accept herself and her unique gifts. This book is about ghosts, but while the overall tone is eerie, this is not a horror story and is unlikely to give older children nightmares. This is a good solid book for kids who like the paranormal and for parents who want to keep the subject mellow.