Hi everyone, welcome to the last week of October!!
If you enjoyed the last four weeks of horror, then this last one will be a bit tamer. Today you will get a selection of the many ghost stories I have read so far. The seven titles reviewed today spoke to me in one way or another. No, not through a crystal ball, from their pages!!
Title: Childish Spirits
Author: Rob Keeley
Publication details: Troubador Publishing; UK, 2014
What the book is about: When Ellie and her family move into Inchwood Manor, Ellie quickly discovers strange things are happening. Ellie finds herself entangled in a Victorian mystery of ghosts and tunnels and secret documents – and and discovers that life all those years ago isn’t so different from the world she knows today. Rob Keeley’s first novel for kids brings out all the ingredients of the classic ghost story within a recognisable modern world setting.
My review: To start off with I must say this one thing: please don’t read it at night!! I kept jumping at every shadow in my room. This book reads a bit like an Edgar Allan Poe novel, dark and twisted with elements of spooky secrets and vengeful spirits!! I won’t be going into detail but it’s destined to be another classic!! It has everything right: plot, characters and eerie setting.
My rating : 4 ⭐
Childish Spirits was long-listed for Bath Children’s novel award and nominated for the People’s Book Prize and International Rubery Prize.
Title: The company of ghosts
Author: Berlie Doherty
Publication details: Anderson Press; London; 2013
What this book is about: Ellie is excited to be going with Morag’s family to their beautiful island, but when she finds herself abandoned there, things begin to change. Footsteps, shadows, strange lights, a haunting song: more and more she becomes aware that she is not really on her own.
My review: A very masterful piece of writing from this Winner of the Carnegie Medal. The story of Ellie’s sadness about her own family spills out of the pages and makes its way into the reader. The vivid details of the brilliant seascape of Wild Island is cleverly done and the pace of the book is quite fast and there is plenty of action. An amazing story and excellent writing!!
My rating: 4.5 ⭐ The company of ghosts is a recipient of the Carnegie Medal for Fiction.
Title: Frost Hollow Hall
Author: Emma Carroll
Publication details: Faber & Faber; London, 2013
What this book is about: In the middle of a frozen lake during the winter of 1881, a girl is skating. She’s not supposed to be here. No one is. Not since Kit Barrington drowned at Frost Hollow Hall ten years ago. But the dead don’t scare Tilly Higgins. The ice is thin. It cracks. Suddenly she’s under the water, drowning. Near death, a strange spirit appears to her, a boy so beautiful Tilly’s sure he’s an angel. But he’s a ghost. A very troubled ghost. And he desperately needs her help… A classic tale of ghostly mystery. Emma Carroll’s debut novel!!
My review: I just love historic ghost stories!! The ghosts are two young children, taken too soon, in the most tragic of events. Emma Carroll created a lovely character in Tilly Higgins. Determined, courageous and kind. The events that follow her into Frost Hollow Hall are spooky and mysterious but in a way quite exciting and adventurous thanks to Emma’s storytelling. This is a delightful read that explores themes of friendship, love, grief and the role of servitude during the Victorian era.
My rating: 5 ⭐
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Publication details: Graphix; 2016
What this book is about: Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahia de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbour lets them in on a secret. There are ghosts in Bahia de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.
My review: Inspired by some real life events, Raina Telgemeier has not only created a masterpiece work but taught us of tolerance, love and family. I loved everything about it: the characters, the story, the dialogue and the amazing artwork in this lovely graphic novel. The notes about Dia de los Muertas in the end was quite an interesting read. I had known of the Mexican tradition where they celebrate the loss of loved ones but learned so much more after reading this book. A wonderful read for all ages!!
My rating: 5 ⭐
Ghosts has won the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best Publication for Kids (Age 9 to 12) in 2017.
Spooky Adventure series: The ghosts of Young Nick’s Head, The ghosts of Tarawera, The ghosts of Moonlight Creek
Author: Sue Copsey
What these books are about: We meet Joe and Eddie for the first time in The ghosts of Young Nick’s Head as they go on holiday together to Poverty Bay. While staying at an isolated old house perched high on the cliffs of Young Nick’s Head, the duo are plunged into a deathly ghost story. What is the secret of the haunted room? What is the shadowy form that lurks out on the headland? And why do Joe and Eddie keep finding themselves this close to becoming ghosts themselves? Terrified but determined, the boys set out to crack a mystery that has remained unsolved for over a hundred years. In The ghosts of Tarawera, we join with Eddie and Joe again in another adventure. On holiday near Rotorua, Joe and Eddie are fascinated by the area’s bubbling mud pools and boiling geysers. Local volcanologist Rocky tells them about the Pink and White Terraces that existed on the lake where they’re staying, and how they were destroyed in the cataclysmic 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera. But Joe’s fascination turns to unease when strange sightings on the lake and dark rumblings from the Earth hint that the volcano is reawakening. The past reaches out to touch the present in this next spooky adventure. The third book The ghosts of Moonlight Creek delivers another awesome adventure near Queenstown in the South Island this time. When Anastasia’s movie director father invited Joe and the gang to hang out with the stars on location near Queenstown, they soon discover there’s more than one reason why the old gold-mining settlement of Moonlight is known as a ghost town. Who is the mysterious Shadow Man causing bother for the crew, and what is the meaning of the signs that appear in the dust of the old ruins? As Joe is drawn into another ghostly mystery, he wonders if this time, it’s not a coincidence.
My review: What an awesome adventure series this was!! Set entirely against a very New Zealand background, these books were extremely enjoyable. They had everything in good proportion. Haunted houses, haunted boats, ghosts both good and bad, mysterious secrets from the past and some good old fashioned adventure!! Fans of Des Hunt and Adele Broadbent will enjoy the characters of Joe, Eddie, Becky and Anastasia!! These stories were all very well written with just the right amount of family relationships and friendship mixed in with some spooky adventures and heaps of historical mysteries!! Some excellent description of the New Zealand landscape and history!! A great read for boys and girls alike!!
My rating for all three: 5 ⭐
Just a quick note: The ghosts of Tarawera was the winner of Storylines Children’s Literature Trust of New Zealand Notable Book Award in 2016.