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A spooktacular story that’s surprisingly insightful.

Friendship with ghosts can be chilling.

Thanks to constantly repeating Rebecca Strand’s name while leading the Island Ghost Tour at Toronto’s Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, teenager Gabe Vasilakis awakens her ghost and accidentally clasps hands with it, forging an otherworldly connection between the pair that strengthens Rebecca while chilling Gabe. Fortunately, this happened just in time, as wicked ghost Nicholas Viker has reemerged after many years of slumbering. Viker was a ghost who battled Strand and her father—and ultimately killed them—as they attempted to use a ghostlight to send trapped spirits on to their final destinations. Greek Canadian Gabe’s work to defeat Viker before his plans to rule both the spirit and moral worlds can come to fruition begins. He’s helped by Rebecca; his best friend, 16-year-old Russian STEM prodigy Yuri; and ghost-story blogger Calli Ferreira, a girl he meets during his tour whose family came from Goa. The plot sounds complicated—and it is—but readers looking for a spirited read that’s grounded in factual Toronto history will appreciate this modern-day ghost story. Subplots on the treatment of Indigenous peoples and the ability of past ghosts to acknowledge their roles add some soul to this supernatural thriller and may provoke conversation among readers. Although the story wraps up skillfully, hints of future adventures for the earthly ghost fighters will have readers consulting the spirits to see if a sequel lies ahead.

A spooktacular story that’s surprisingly insightful. (Fiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-48793-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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From the Lockwood & Co. series , Vol. 1

A heartily satisfying string of entertaining near-catastrophes, replete with narrow squeaks and spectral howls.

Three young ghost trappers take on deadly wraiths and solve an old murder case in the bargain to kick off Stroud’s new post-Bartimaeus series.

Narrator Lucy Carlyle hopes to put her unusual sensitivity to supernatural sounds to good use by joining Lockwood & Co.—one of several firms that have risen to cope with the serious ghost Problem that has afflicted England in recent years. As its third member, she teams with glib, ambitious Anthony Lockwood and slovenly-but-capable scholar George Cubbins to entrap malign spirits for hire. The work is fraught with peril, not only because a ghost’s merest touch is generally fatal, but also, as it turns out, as none of the three is particularly good at careful planning and preparation. All are, however, resourceful and quick on their feet, which stands them in good stead when they inadvertently set fire to a house while discovering a murder victim’s desiccated corpse. It comes in handy again when they later rashly agree to clear Combe Carey Hall, renowned for centuries of sudden deaths and regarded as one of England’s most haunted manors. Despite being well-stocked with scream-worthy ghastlies, this lively opener makes a light alternative for readers who find the likes of Joseph Delaney’s Last Apprentice series too grim and creepy for comfort.

A heartily satisfying string of entertaining near-catastrophes, replete with narrow squeaks and spectral howls. (Ghost adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4231-6491-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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