Sunday, July 7, 2013

ARC Book Review: Rules For Ghosting

Rules for GhostingAuthor: A.J. Paquette
Publication Date: July 9, 2013
Publisher: Walker Children’s Books

Twelve-year-old Dahlia has always lived at Silverton Manor-having spent fifty years as its resident ghost. When Oliver Day and his family show up as house-sitters the day Mrs. Tibbs, a Liberator sent by the Spectral Investigative Council, arrives to teach Dahlia the proper rules for ghosting, Dahlia can't wait to make new friends. But the unscrupulous ghost hunter, Rank Wiley, and the crooked town councilman, Jock Rutabartle, plan to rid Silverton Manor of its ghosts and sell it to the highest bidder. With her home and friendships at stake Dahlia may have to break the rules of ghosting as quickly as she learns them to solve the mystery of her death and save the manor. Equal parts charming and eerie, this ghostly caper hits all the right notes for the middle-grade audience.

Dahlia was dead, but the sunflower was not. Not yet, anyway. It still looked shimmery and only half-visible, just like all other living things. But the stem was bent and broken, and dropped down from the rest of the plant. Soon it would expire – right into Dahlia’s waiting hands. Then she would carry the new ghost flower to her garden.

“I’ve got just the place. Comfortable, quiet, and perfectly ghostly. Sounds like this is going to be quite the adventure!”

Oliver wondered if it was the fall breeze chilling the air, or if that was a cold shiver of premonition tiptoeing up and down his spine.

And then she would find a way to cross over once and for all.

Dahlia Silverton is not your average ghost. By this I mean that when we think ghosts we think of hauntings, poltergeists, and tricks our minds can play on us at times, but not in this case. Dahlia Silverton has been stuck, literally, on the grounds of Silverton Manor ever since her death long, long ago. When a new family, the Day’s, move in Dahlia has hope that she might be released from her pull to Silverton Manor. Dahlia has more trouble her way than she foresees at first, but with the help of another ghost, Mrs. Tibbs, Dahlia hopes to learn the rules for ghosting and cut her ties in the process.

This was a wonderful middle grades books, but something just didn’t fit the bill for me. I enjoyed it well enough, and I think that middle grade readers will as well. However, I felt like there was a lot going on in this story, especially for middle grade readers to keep up with. I think some of the excess “fluff” as I call it could have been cut out. There were too many characters, who each had stories of their own, for my liking. Do not judge this paragraph as my reaction to the book.

I still enjoyed this book, and I read it all the way through to the very last page. I think Dahlia is the new Casper, and I loved Oliver’s character. He was just curious enough to make this tale funny and adventurous. I also enjoyed Mrs. Tibbs who I saw as a secondary character. A.J. Paquette had the makings of a fascinating cast of characters, but some of the extra stuff could have been cut out. After I was halfway through the book, I was only concerned with what was going on with Dahlia and Oliver, and I feel that this is the way it should be. After all they are the two main characters!

***An ARC copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Walker Children’s in exchange for my honest review***

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