Publisher's Note:  

American millionaire Hiram C. Hopgood will spare no expense to make his daughter Helen happy, even if it means importing a castle from Scotland. Alex MacBuff, the twelve-year-old former owner of the castle, accompanies Mr. Hopgood to Texas to oversee the rebuilding of his beloved Carra, and he befriends Helen in the process. Little do the children know that Carra's ghosts have followed Alex and are living in the movie theater next door! Colorful characters—both dead and alive—will be found around every corner in this madcap adventure with a plot as twisty as a castle's corridors.

Author Biography: Eva Ibbotson, an award-winning and bestselling author often compared to Roald Dahl and J. K. Rowling, was inspired to write this story after reading about a real American millionaire who had a castle shipped from Scotland.

The Haunting of Granite Falls

by Eva Ibbotson

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Overall Review:  

Alex MacBuff has no parents.  He was raised by a group of ghosts that haunt his family’s castle in Scotland.  When he is twelve, he finds he can’t keep his family home because he is broke.  Enter Mr. Hopgood who wants to buy and pay top dollar.  His only caveat: No ghosts!  His daughter is sick and he’s afraid the shock would kill her.  So, Alex has to ban his ghosts from the castle.  The ghosts have to move to a relatives’ house, whose ghosts are far from friendly, so the Carra ghosts run away back to the castle only to find it in pieces!  The castle is taken down and shipped to America—with the ghosts!  On the way, they encounter some bad guys, discover America through a cinema, make a new friend (a severed hand), and eventually save the day!  Each of the ghosts has such a funny personality.  From Krok’s false bravado, to Miss Spinks who always has to drown herself (even if it’s just using the drinking fountain!), to Mr. Louse and his false teeth, there’s always something to laugh at!   Of course, this story isn’t just about the ghosts.  Alex is a sweet little boy and is a great influence for good on his new friend Helen Hopgood—who isn’t as sick as everyone thinks she is!  All in all, this was a fun book with a lot of twists to keep you reading and dripping with droll humor to lighten the mood.

Content Analysis:  

Since this book is about a group of ghosts, already there are a few issues to deal with.  The first is the ghosts themselves.  They’re not scary at all, but violence does surround them.  The instances of their deaths is described in vague detail and obviously includes death—in some cases a lot of death.  All of this is described very ‘tongue-in-cheek’.  There is a Viking who is cursed because he couldn’t manage to kill someone—and had to kill someone to be un-cursed, however, he’s been a spook now for well over a thousand years; he just doesn’t have the heart to kill.  The others include a poltergeist, a wanna-be vampire, an ex-governess, and a large dog. 

The dog used to work in the underworld, and is referred to often using an interesting term, which some people may find offensive.   There are a few other instances of profanity, but not more than five. 

There are some very vile characters who enjoy hurting and killing people.  Many characters die.  There are kidnappings, shootings, drowning, stabbings, bombings and death threats.

The sexual content includes a man who dresses as a woman (his disguise)—a character sees him take off his ‘false bosoms’ through a window.  This is referred to often throughout the story.  A Valkyrie comes to take the Viking to Valhalla and she is described in a slightly uncomfortable way (an emphasis on thighs and chest).  A character falls in love with a married man, and since he doesn’t return her love, she drowns herself.  This story is meant to be very humorous.  It usually is, but there are times when it tips a bit to the dark side.

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Reviewed By Emily
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