An intricate supernatural mystery with an overly gifted heroine.


The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts


Tansley’s YA fantasy/mystery tells a story of ghosts, curses, and a deadly secret.

Kat Preston is a prep school student who can see ghosts, or, as she calls them, “unbelievables.” She’s tried to deny her power ever since she was 9, when a friendly ghost saved her from being possessed by another spirit. Ghosts are invading her life once again as she researches the lives of Cassie Mallory and Sebastian Radcliffe, who left only two things behind when they disappeared on their 1886 wedding night: a pool of blood and a family curse. Her instructor, professor Astor, invites her to be part of a team that will investigate the disappearances at their source—Castle Creighton on Connecticut’s Isle of Acacia. Kat visits the castle only a few weeks before a family curse is due to strike the final Radcliffe heir. Any hopes of avoiding the supernatural are dashed when Kat and her antagonistic teacher’s-assistant Evan, are pulled through a magical mirror. They find themselves in the bodies of Sebastian’s friends Toria and Alistair shortly before the Radcliffe wedding in 1886. They both have to return to their own time before their souls become too weak, but before that, they must stop Sebastian and Cassie’s bloody disappearance. As time runs out, Kat’s and Evan’s connections to the deadly plot become clear. The novel’s murder mystery is intriguing and grows more complex as its supernatural elements are unveiled. Readers will enjoy connecting the dots and guessing at the motivations of the Radcliffes’ wedding guests. However, Kat proves to be one of the novel’s most unbelievable elements. Her supernatural gifts grow more fanciful and powerful as the novel progresses, and her knowledge of obscure topics seems unnatural for a student who appeals to her professor for a B-plus on a paper; she can also identify Rococo artists by name, tell the difference between statues of Oceanus and Poseidon by their tridents, and use words such as “iolite” and “labradorite” to describe eye colors. As a result, she seems almost too perfect.

An intricate supernatural mystery with an overly gifted heroine.

Pub Date: July 31, 2015


Page Count: -

Publisher: Beckett Publishing Group

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2015

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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