A family crisis challenges 13-year-old Andie to the utmost.
The white girl’s family has been falling apart since her mother died. Her 17-year-old sister, Paige, now works long hours to support the family, while their father spends most of his time away from the house, gambling or drinking. To make things worse, Andie’s friends at school are losing patience with her changed behavior as she tries to deal with the grief and the stress. Things change when she is assigned to do a science project with her nerdy lab partner, Isaiah. Tapping into her fascination with the paranormal, Andie convinces Isaiah to do a haunted-house experiment in which Andie pretends to be her mother’s ghost at home. Andie hopes that the ghostly reminders she leaves out for her father and sister will jolt them out of their sadness and remind them of a happier time. Though she knows this experiment isn’t exactly honest, she will do anything to bring her family back to life. Clasen sensitively depicts narrator Andie’s navigation of her new reality as she attends group-therapy sessions at school, allows herself to get to know her mother through her mother’s journals, and embraces new friends. Nerdy, black Isaiah is a particularly appealing supporting character.
A touching story that explores grief and the bravery necessary to come out of it. (Fiction. 8-12)