A girl seeks peace and stability for living and dead family members.
Sukie and her parents move into elderly cousin Hepzibah’s ancient, haunted mansion because they can’t afford to stay in their old house. Sukie’s deceased sister Kitty comes too, as a ghost. In life, Kitty’s job was protecting Sukie; in death, she continues. But ghosts can’t change, and they become frustrated when the living do. Kitty’s fury ramps up as Sukie tries to help another ghost and makes some living friends from the New-York Circulating Material Repository, the circulating collection of objects from The Grimm Legacy (2010) and The Wells Bequest (2013). One friend is Andre, who was a young child in the previous volumes. Unfortunately, here, Andre’s personality is vague and his physicality, othered—he’s the only black character and walks “like a panther,” with his height and long arms and legs mentioned incessantly. Copious literary references and a trip into the repository’s Poe Annex, a “separate dimension” of haunted houses from fictional texts, create texture, though the repository doesn’t sparkle as it did in The Wells Bequest. The coolest idea—that Sukie’s family, including her ghost-ancestor, may have descended from within fiction—is fabulous but underemphasized.
Though not as distinctive as its predecessor, this is a solid story for readers who want to approach ghosts without getting too spooked. (author’s note) (Fantasy. 10-13)