Kat and Marie Bench are not like other girls, they may be interested in make-up and boys but they are also obsessed with ghosts. They love telling ghost stories, they read all the books about ghosts that they can find, they watch movies about ghosts and TV shows about ghost hunters. They even have a blog called the ghost sisters and hope to become ghost hunters and see one someday.
The ghost girls along with their divorced mom have just moved to Pueblo Colorado and will start school at Apache Middle School. Starting at a new school can be hard and classes at Apache are even harder because the ghost of a young girl haunts the hallways. She opens lockers and slams them shut, makes the lights flicker, leaves mysterious messages around school and can be heard crying and shrieking. Kat and Marie’s dreams of seeing a ghost are about to come true and their career as ghost hunters are just beginning. Hopefully they can find out why the ghost is there and save the school from any further damage.
The Ghost Sisters And The Girl In Hallway B by Patricia Santos Marcantonio may be a Y.A. novel that is meant for kids but it’s a story that adults will like also. Despite me not being the intended audience for this book, I really enjoyed it because a good story is a good story and I like anything that has to do with the supernatural. I also liked the ghost sisters and wanted to see how they dealt with a real ghost. Kids will love this book because they will be able to relate to the problems that these middle school kids are dealing with. I liked that the girls have to deal with going to a new school because of a divorce which is something lots of kids deal with. These girls deal with it well though thanks to a passion for ghosts.
There was a lot to like about this book, in particular I liked when we first meed the ghost sisters and they talk about their love of the supernatural. Though I have to say my favorite part of The Ghost Sisters And The Girl In Hallway B was the message on how bullying affects kids. In the book Kat and Marie have a friend named Trini who has to deal with bullying. I liked that Trini doesn’t want to tell adults about the bullying because she is embarrassed about it. Its pretty normal for a kid to not want to admit to being bullied and I liked seeing how Kat, Marie and the adults in their lives deal with the problem.
The Ghost Sisters And The Girl In Hallway B is everything you would want a YA novel to be, there is a good mystery to it, some scenes with ghosts that kids will really like and some good humor. One of the funniest parts was when one of the sisters says that 10 years was so long ago and the other sister says “In adult time that’s not very long.” Patricia seems to really know how young kids think. I hope this is the beginning of a series so we can have more adventures with The Ghost Sisters.
At some point everyone feels like an outsider. In Penny Sinclair’s case she is a 13-year-old girl moving to a new town after the death of her mother. She has spent four months living in a group home and now is headed to the small town of Dogwood to live with her godmother Susan, who was best friends with Penny’s mother.
As soon as Penny moves into her home she notices a fox that seems to always be watching her. She has already been having mysterious dreams and doesn’t feel comfortable in her new surroundings. When she is outside one day the fox speaks to her, in fear she runs away but she can’t escape her destiny.
What Penny doesn’t know is that her mother once belonged to a group of witches called The Phoenix Girls and she is about to become one of them. The Phoenix Girls Book 1: The Conjuring Glass by Brian Knight is the first in a series from JournalStone Publishing that young horror fans will enjoy. In a secret grove behind her new home is a cave, wands, magic keys and a book on how to become proper witches.
Penny is not alone, she soon meets another girl who has just arrived in town named Zoe and the two of them start training to become witches. Their spells don’t work half the time but they’re determined to keep trying. Something wicked is coming to Dogwood in the form of a magician with a big secret. The children of Dogwood start to disappear one by one and Penny and Zoe may be the only ones that can help.
The Conjuring Glass is a story geared towards middle school children and has a couple of themes that all kids can relate to. One is trying to fit in with other kids. Penny and Zoe are both outcasts because they are new in town and both are adjusting to their new surroundings. They have each other though and work well as a team. They learn magic together and get help with bullies from the talking fox. As the story develops, the girls are left to their own devices to rescue the kidnapped kids.
Another theme that is in this book is abandonment and loneliness. When Penny comes to Dogwood she feels that she is alone in the world. She is dealing with the loss of her mother, but also wonders who her father was and what happened to him. Penny is obsessed with finding him and her obsession leads her and the whole town into danger. I really enjoyed how the mystery of Penny’s father worked into the story.
While I did think that The Conjuring Glass was slow-moving at points, there was a lot to like about the book. All of the characters reminded me of kids that I once knew. I also think young readers will be able to relate to both Penny and Zoe. The setting and atmosphere were great and I liked the fate of the town’s children lying in the hands of two young witches. My favorite part was when Penny stands up to a bully that was much bigger then she was. It showed that Penny was a tough character and I found myself rooting for her. I think most young kids will love the mystery in The Phoenix Girls: Book 1 The Conjuring Glass and they will appreciate the spooky parts also. I would love to see where the story of The Phoenix Girls goes in future installments.