Ghost Girl is the perfect story for young readers; it will draw in readers of all ages with an excellent fast-paced story and diverse characters.
Not Just for Young Readers
I love a good ghost story, but I also love a good story aimed at young readers. In case you did not already know this, but I browse the “kids” section at my local bookstore not so much for my son but myself. So, of course, I keep the ones I love to share with my son, hoping he will enjoy them as much as I do.
For me, an excellent young reader’s story does not talk down to children. Instead, it brings to life a story with a compelling plot and strong characterization and growth.
That is what Malinenko has done with her storytelling. Malinenko opens her story on a dark and stormy night, establishing Zee as a purveyor of ghost stories.
What she gets is more than she bargained for when a strange man named Professor Scratch becomes the new school principal, and people’s wishes and dreams begin to come true. However, as a writer, Zee is observant and notices something sinister about Ol’ Scratch.
The storytelling is spectacular, giving off great tension combined with great characterization to keep the reader entertained. Moreover, the plot addresses mental illness, bullying and highlighting the incredible idealism that being different should be accepted, that intelligence should never be ignored, and that a child’s happiness is vital in building a strong relationship with parents and friends.
Ghost Girl also has a diverse cast of characters. There is already Zee, the main protagonist with poliosis, meaning she was born with white hair. Not only that, but even at eleven, she has this guilt inside her. Survivors guilt because her mother died giving birth to her.
Now, no one in her family dislikes her; they all treasure her, they treasure her love of reading. Zee’s family treasures her ability to put together stories, and they treasure how she reminds them of her mother. Zee’s family is full of love, but her story is about overcoming her survivors’ guilt so that she can love herself as much as everyone else does.
Then there is her best friend Elijah, who is African-American and whose father tends to put him down about his weight. His father believes that sports are the answer, ignoring the fact that his son is the smartest kid in class and that his intelligence should be appreciated, not ignored. Without Elijah, Zee probably would not have been able to be a hero.
Finally, there is Nellie. Now, Nellie is the class bully, but the reader sees her humanity as the story progresses. Nellie bullies Zee because she is jealous of the love and support Zee has. Nellie may be rich and from a respected family, but money has not brought them happiness and instead has brought her misery. She is considered not good enough and often ignored by her family. This highlights something important about bullies in society.
First, bullying is never okay, and there is no justification behind it, ever. However, some people fail to realize that while some people are just bad, others who bully often bully because they seek the attention they do not get at home or are acting as a mirror to what they learn at home.
It makes the reader think.
Overall, Ghost Girl is an easy to read novel with a diverse cast of characters and an engaging, thoughtful plot.
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|Pub Date: August 10, 2021||Page Count: 288pp||Age Range: 18 & Over|
|ISBN: 978-0-0630-4460-9||Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books||List Price: $16.99|