Monday, October 28, 2013

Rules for Ghosting

This has been a great year for books with ghosts. (Maybe this is the case every year except I've just actually been reading them this year.) Either way, Rules of Ghosting by A.J. Paquette is a fun addition to this years crop of ghost books, particularly good for the younger MG reader who wants to read a haunting tale without being creeped out or scared.

Twelve-year-old Dahlia has always lived at Silverton Manor-having spent fifty years as its resident ghost. When Oliver Day and his family show up as house-sitters the day Mrs. Tibbs, a Liberator sent by the Spectral Investigative Council, arrives to teach Dahlia the proper rules for ghosting, Dahlia can't wait to make new friends. But the unscrupulous ghost hunter, Rank Wiley, and the crooked town councilman, Jock Rutabartle, plan to rid Silverton Manor of its ghosts and sell it to the highest bidder. With her home and friendships at stake Dahlia may have to break the rules of ghosting as quickly as she learns them to solve the mystery of her death and save the manor.

Rules for Ghosting has a wonderful cast of characters. Dahlia is a ghost who learned how to negotiate her ghostly existence all on her own. She star gazes, gardens (catching dead flowers to add to her collection), and has her own special room in the house. She is bound to the grounds of the property where she died, and has never figured out how to leave. This changes when Mrs. Tibbs arrives to explain a mistake has been made and she is there to help Dahlia locate her anchor and move on. Mrs. Tibbs is a wonderful mentor, kind, understanding, and hard working. On the heels of Mrs. Tibbs, Oliver and his family arrive to fix up the Manor for sale. Oliver takes one look at the house and knows this is his family's dream house. They need to do everything they can to remain in it. He enlists the help of his siblings, and they are able to help not only themselves but Dahlia and Mrs. Tibbs too, who are in danger from a devious ghost hunter there to trap and experiment on them.

I love stories with old houses, mysteries, and hidden rooms. This story has all of them. There is an old curse on the house that is rumored to have caused terrible damage to many family members. More than one mysterious death has occurred there. It is up to Dahlia and her human friends to untangle the mystery of the curse and her own death so that she can move on and they can save the house. As I also always love a good sibling story, this aspect of the book worked really well for me too. Silverton Manor is the perfect setting for such a story, the villain  strikes just the right tone between creepy and easily duped, and the heroes are likeable.

If you know a person looking for a ghost story, who isn't quite looking for the darker elements found in books like The Year of Shadows (my thoughts) and The Screaming Staircase (my thoughts), this is a wonderful choice.

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