Could a machine bring back the ghost of Emmaline’s mother?
Emmaline Beaumont’s father has been obsessively building such a machine, neglecting his daughter and all else. Emmaline feels as if she has lost both parents and decides the only way to reach her father is to destroy the ghost machine forever. She pours a cup of tea, just like her mother used to make, into the electrical contraption—and for just a minute, her mother appears, seemingly alive and well. But she is a ghost and soon vanishes, taking from Emmaline the memory of having tea with her mother. Emmaline shares her experience with her two best friends, twins Gully and Oliver DePaul. The three 12-year-olds wrestle with the moral and emotional implications of bringing back the dead, which is put to the test when the elderly Allemand sisters ask to meet their long-deceased brother. Is a short encounter with the dead worth the price of losing a memory? DeStefano’s lyrical writing flows with compassion and clarity, justifying the suspense of disbelief. When a tragic event occurs in the last quarter of the book, the emotional pull may be more than some sensitive readers can handle. But for thoughtful, curious readers, death must be touched and turned and examined.
This book provides a close-up of loss, love, and hope. (Fantasy. 8-12)