Eleven-year-old Billy Broccoli’s move up to middle school is complicated by a teenage ghost determined to give him lessons in how to be cool.
The nerdy lad already has a lot on his plate: new house (with a bedroom done up in pink and lavender), new stepfather and prickly older stepsister, new school whose principal is his mother and nosy, bullying schoolmate Rod Brownstone for a next-door neighbor. It is understandable, then, that he’s only temporarily freaked out when hyperconfident former jock Hoover “The Hoove” Porterhouse III, a ghost killed 99 years ago, swims into view and grandly announces that Billy is his special project. It seems that the Hoove has just one more year to pull up his failing celestial grades in “Responsibility” and “Helping Others” or be tied to that house and surrounding property forever—a fate worse than, well…. As it happens, the schooling goes both ways, and by the end not only has Billy been guided away from wearing fart-joke T-shirts and taking tuna sandwiches for lunch, he’s shown the Hoove a better way to get Brownstone off his case than responding in kind when the bully engineers a public humiliation.
A purposeful but not simplistic opener from the creators of the Hank Zipzer series. (Fantasy. 10-12)