Twelve-year-olds Alec and Josie communicate with each other in the same house—100 years apart.
In 1915, Josie’s emotionally abusive mother, Lavinia, a former actress, is a well-known spiritualist, operating from their newly built home in small Edwardstown, New York, where Josie and her 6-year-old sister, Cassie, are schooled by a tutor. Alec moves into the house with his mother in 2015, after his parents’ separation. When he and new friends Danny and Harold discover a “talking board” in a drawer, they are astonished when the glass planchette begins to move: “W-E A-R-E Y-O-U-N-G L-A-D-I-E-S.” An old photographic portrait of a girl labeled “Josephine Clifford, 1915,” and the words “HELLO ALEC” carved into the attic windowsill confirm for Alec the presence of something unexplained. The connection between the children is carefully constructed and revealed, sometimes running along similar paths in their respective Novembers (1915 and 2015) and sometimes diverging. A packet of letters, hidden for a century for Alec to discover, and visits by Alec and Danny to the local library and historical archives add to the rich storyline. Lavinia’s discovery of Josie’s friendship is sinister and frightening, amping the tension, but Alec’s research allows him to reassure Josie and readers that she and Cassie will escape—and find their own futures. The book assumes a white default.
Spellbinding. (Fantasy. 10-13)