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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

It's 1898 in New York City and ghosts exist among humans. When an unusual spirit takes up residence at the Roosevelt house, thirteen-year-old Eleanor and fourteen-year-old Alice are suspicious. The cousins don't get along, but they know something is not right. This ghost is more than a pesky nuisance. The authorities claim he's safe to be around, even as his mischievous behavior grows stranger and more menacing. It's almost like he wants to scare the Roosevelts out of their home - and no one seems to care! Meanwhile, Eleanor and Alice discover a dangerous ghost in the house where Alice was born and her mother died. Is someone else haunting the family? Introverted Eleanor and unruly Alice develop an unlikely friendship as they explore the family's dark, complicated history. It's up to them to destroy both ghosts and come to terms with their family's losses. Told from alternating perspectives, thrills and chills abound in Dianne K. Salerni's imaginative novel about a legendar…

Overall Book Review:

Enjoy a good ghost story?  Try reading this one at night… unless you’re scared of the dark.  (Insert scary laugh.)  Secrets have come to life in this historical novel where ghosts interact with the people around them and unfortunately some aren’t very nice and some have bad manners.  Thankfully the author, Dianne K. Salerni, writes with a light-hearted humor that helps break the tension.

Eleanor and Alice are cousins who have each faced hard times.  Throughout this story we see them grow as they interact with their family members.  As they face challenges and discoveries, some might make the reader laugh or maybe make them turn on an extra light so it isn’t so dark.  It’s gratifying to see how the teamwork that has been instilled in them comes to practical use when they face the worst of times.

With a wonderful dash of horror and mystery, these ghosts are just as real as Eleanor, Alice, and their cousins and they keep the young teens on their toes.  The author creates a very real world with a pacing that keeps the reader interested and evenly balances the excitement and the suspense.  

My favorite quote is when Alice and Eleanor are having a conversation about something that happened and Eleanor thinks to herself, “…like a shattered teacup, once a trust is broken, it might be glued together, but it will probably never again hold tea.”

Be sure to read the author’s notes at the end because she clarifies what is history and what is fiction.  It’s also fun to see who these young characters grow up to be.  This is Dianne Salerni’s seventh book and based on this book, I’d be willing to check out her series Eighth Day.

Review of a Digital Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Holiday House

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None 

Violence/Gore:  A ship exploded killing approximately 200 men; a ghost tries to kill a girl several times, descriptive; a girl’s mother died previously in childbirth; a grandmother is smothered to death; the ghost of a mother tries to kill her child; a ghost starts a fire in a house endangering many young people and adults, descriptive with smoke inhalation; a young man is hit in the head by a falling object, blood on his head; a woman previously killed all of her children, not descriptive but lengthy; a ghost pushes 2 girls down the stairs, one girl’s dress is on fire but it’s put out quickly, not descriptive of dress. 

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

War, death of parents & grandparent, creepy ghosts intent on killing. 

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Some boys at a party are smoking cigarettes and a young teen girl wants to try one also. 

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Reading a good adventure story has always been a vacation in the theater of my mind. When I’m stressed or just need to get away for a few minutes, I love the opportunity to climb into somebody else’s world. I didn’t enjoy reading until I was in the Air Force and building bombs in Korea; it was a wonderful distraction from the real world. (I tried bull riding, but it wasn’t exciting enough.)