Sometimes, even perfect things can fall apart.
Two months ago, Eva and Henry’s loving, playful parents—their environmentalist father and oceanographer mother—died in a boating accident off the coast of California. Now, 12-year-old Eva and Henry, almost 11, are theoretically being cared for by their Uncle Claude, aka “the Clod,” and his girlfriend, Terri “the Terrible.” These grown-ups are, not to put too fine a point on it, “jerk-faces. First class, grade A.” The pair are more concerned with image and money than they are in taking care of two children. Things take a paranormal turn when the ghosts of Eva and Henry’s great-great-great-great-grandfather and his kooky family appear with a message: Their parents’ deaths were the result of foul play. Eva and Henry begin investigating, and it soon becomes clear that someone wanted their parents out of the way, but why? And who? And are the children next? Eva directly addresses readers with introspection and irony. Her first-person, present-tense direct address pulls readers in from the scene-setting first page and carries them throughout the story. Inquisitive, high-IQ Henry is “high-functioning something-or-other,” according to Eva, but the family never allowed him to be labeled, nurturing his curiosity instead. Cleverly, the story feels like Gothic historical fiction, but it’s set in the present. Henry, Eva, and their relatives are default white; the children’s nanny, Marisol, is Guatemalan.
A delightful mystery tinged with heartache. (Paranormal mystery. 8-13)