Through an unlikely relationship, a lonely and emotionally scarred little girl discovers her own strength and a sense of freedom as she learns to shed fear and enjoy life.
Two years after the terrible car crash that killed her parents, Josie Abernathy cannot bear to leave her grandmother’s side, walk to school alone or venture with friends too far from her street. Playing baseball with a couple of boys at the nearby field is the only thing that keeps Josie happy these days, until she meets Sanana, a strange girl from another place. Sanana (rhymes with banana) is mesmerizing and intriguing, pulling Josie into a midnight adventure filled with magic, mystery and some poignant historical significance. Sanana is the ghost of a slave child who was murdered by her plantation owner’s son 150 years ago, somewhere near Josie’s modern-day Georgia home. Josie’s initial hesitation to follow Sanana on an undefined quest is quelled as the two girls quickly develop a spiritual bond. Shelton creates immediate drama and suspense with first-person narration told in Josie’s practical and rational voice as she is drawn to follow this stranger’s increasingly daring requests. She agrees to venture out at night and play baseball, jump aboard and off a moving cargo train, enter a bar in the next town at midnight and search for a Mr. McShane. It all works out for a very good reason, with an outcome that benefits both girls in their need to alleviate shared feelings of parental love and loss. Woven through the second part of the story are bits of American slave history making Sanana’s phantom appearance for Josie all the more tangible. At the same time, themes of friendship and trust interplay as both girls discover a deeper meaning to life and death.
A compelling contemporary fantasy entwined in historical context that offers a positive message filled with hope.