Author: Helen Stringer
Publication Date: September 2009
Genre: Middle Grade Paranormal Fantasy
Copy provided by: Publisher
Summary (via Goodreads): Belladonna Johnson can see ghosts. It’s a trait she’s inherited from her mother’s side of the family, like blue eyes or straight hair. And it’s a trait she could do without, because what twelve-year-old wants to be caught talking to someone invisible?
It is convenient, though, after Belladonna’s parents are killed in a car accident. They can live with her the same as always, watching the same old TV shows in their same old house. Nothing has changed . . . until everything changes.
One night, with no warning, they vanish into thin air—along with every other ghost in the world. It’s what some people think ghosts are supposed to do, but Belladonna knows it’s all wrong. They may not be living, but they’re not supposed to be gone.
With the help of her classmate Steve, a master of sneaking and spying, Belladonna is left to uncover what’s become of the spirits and to navigate a whole world her parents have kept well-hidden. If she can’t find her way, she’ll lose them again—this time for good.
Why I read this: Because the lovely ladies at Blue Slip Media asked me to do a blog tour for the second novel and they kindly sent me a copy of this one. And because it sounded so good...
Plot: I was definitely thinking about my students when I read this book. They are always looking for funny but scary books and this one really fits into that niche well. The plot moves well along and is just so interesting. Belladonna can see ghosts, which is helpful since her parents had died but still live with her now as ghosts. Although when ghosts start disappearing suddenly. There's a ton to cover in this new world, where one small girl is the Spellbinder, which doesn't mean much to her until she starts reciting words she couldn't possibly know, opening doors to other worlds, and solving what is causing all the ghosts to disappear.
Characters: Belladonna is a loner, so I relate to her a bit. I wasn't quite like her, but I was definitely a quiet kid when in school. Steve reminds me a lot of my next door neighbor who I played with until we were in middle school, he was funny, always getting in trouble and definitely a great companion.
Relatability: I think a lot of kids can relate to either of the characters in these books and definitely will be interested in reading about ghosts.
Cover Commentary: Interesting, definitely one I'd think my students would pick up because of the cover.
Rating: 5/5 Roses
Find it on Goodreads