Lily's Ghosts

Lily's Ghosts

4.5 31
by Laura Ruby
     
 

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Lily is Furious.

She can't believe she has to move again after her mom's break-up with the latest boyfriend. Now they're broke and they'll have to spend the winter in Uncle Wes's creepy summerhouse in Cape May, New Jersey.

And the place is crawling with ghosts.

From the spiteful teenager who mistakes Lily for her high school

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Overview


Lily is Furious.

She can't believe she has to move again after her mom's break-up with the latest boyfriend. Now they're broke and they'll have to spend the winter in Uncle Wes's creepy summerhouse in Cape May, New Jersey.

And the place is crawling with ghosts.

From the spiteful teenager who mistakes Lily for her high school nemesis to the restless spirit of her eccentric Uncle Max, Lily is haunted by a host of unhappy phantoms. But why are they here? And what do they want?

With the help of some mysterious clues, Lily and her new friend, local boy Vaz, uncover a sinister plot. If they don't foil the villainous plan in time, they may end up doing some eternal haunting of their own.

Editorial Reviews

Thirteen-year-old Lily Crabtree doesn't want to live in Great-Uncle Wesley's Victorian mansion in Cape May, New Jersey, but that's where she and her mother end up after her mom's latest romance fizzles. It's bad enough that living in a seashore community in the winter is deadly dull, but Lily's cat, Julep, is staring at things that Lily can't see, an old Kewpie doll is following the girl around the drafty house and things keep disappearing and reappearing with maddening regularity. Her mother thinks Lily is making it all up, but Lily knows that something strange is happening in the family house. A chance meeting with a boy named Vaz (short for Vasilios) gives Lily a romantic interest and an ally, and the two join forces to discover the murderous secrets hidden in her family history.

Ruby divides her effectively creepy ghost tale into two parts, the day-to-day activities of the living and the day-to-day activities of the dead, in serif and sans serif fonts, respectively, and the actions of individuals present and departed are humorously balanced to provide both historical context and local color. The foreshadowing is smoky but discernible, and the cumulative pace is just right for a suspenseful tale of murderous betrayal, vengeful ghosts, and tragic rivalry. The atmospheres of haunted house and deserted seaside are delicately evoked, and concluding revelations move logically and inexorably into focus. Ruby doesn't horrify so much as she insinuates, in gracefully nuanced language that provides chilling support for the action. Make room for this first novel on the surefire ghost tale shelf. (The Bulletin of the Center For Children's Books)

Publishers Weekly
Sharp-witted narrative and lively characterizations help compensate for the convoluted and somewhat overstuffed plot of this contemporary first novel about a 13-year-old girl's run-in with ghosts. The haunting begins shortly after Lily and her recently jilted single mother move into Great Uncle Wesley's now empty oceanside estate in Cape May, N.J. Unbeknownst to either Lily or her mother, the premises and nearby beach are already occupied by a motley crew of spooks, whose points of view are periodically shared. Although the ghosts offer a humorous "insider" view of strange occurrences (e.g., Lily's shoes are filled with jam; later her hair is dyed bright pink), their narratives and sketchily drawn backgrounds are mostly distracting, cluttering an already complicated story line regarding Lily's longing for her missing father, her frustrations with her mother, and her mysterious ancestors. Ghostly pranks turn ghastly when the protagonist realizes that one of her deceased relatives is trying to communicate some unsavory family secrets that touch on arson, suicide and murder. The macabre turn of events is unsettling, but Lily's search to find the truth about the past remains intriguing. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Because her mother's relationship with her latest boyfriend hasn't worked out (again), Lily and her mother, Arden, have just moved (again.) This time they return to Arden's family home in Cape May, New Jersey. Soon after Lily stashes a chilling portrait of her Uncle Max in the closet, strange things begin to occur in the house. Items are moved from one room to another, and Lily's shoes are filled with jam. After her arrival, Lily literally runs into Vaz, a boy who has just had his nose broken in a fight. The unlikely pair become friends once Vaz figures out that Lily's house is haunted. The only way to rid the house of its ghosts, advises Vaz, is to find out what they want. With her relatives unwilling to discuss family history, and the library records mysteriously destroyed, Lily and Vaz devise a daring plan to obtain the information they need. Throw in a couple of family members who died in the house, and a local fortune-teller who sees a young boy whose hands burst into flames, and you've got a story that will keep readers turning the pages. Blending humor with a bit of creepiness, author Laura Ruby intercuts the human tale with a second story of a parallel Cape May inhabited by ghosts. Both worlds will collide as Lily and Vaz race to discover her family's secret. 2003, HarperCollins Children's Books, Ages 10 to 14.
— Linda Ruble
VOYA
Lily hates moving again, especially to this creepy old summerhouse in Cape May, New Jersey. Her mother has broken up with her latest boyfriend, and now they have to stay at Uncle Wesley's house, where weird things keep happening. Thirteen-year-old Lily and her new friend, Vaz, do some research on the old house to try to figure out who might be haunting the place. In the process, they uncover a plot and find themselves in danger. The ghosts of Lily's Uncle Max, her grandmother, and an odd teenager who is jealous of Lily help them defeat the villains. This funny novel is filled with eccentric ghosts. There is the older couple who do not realize that they are dead, the teen girl who thinks that Lily is her rival, and the boy whose hands are on fire. Their parallel world is shown through ghostly interludes delineated by different typefaces within the text. Lily and Vaz's relationship is typical of young teens' first romance, full of awkwardness and misunderstanding, yet they do work things out. The teen characters are realistic, although some of the adults seem almost like caricatures, such as the severe librarian and the flighty artist mother. Lily's strange family dynamics are explained when the truth about her family's history is revealed. The ending will surprise even the more experienced reader-detectives. This comic ghost story will delight young teens. VOYA Codes 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2003, HarperCollins, 272p., and PLB Ages 11 to 15.
—Deborah Dubois
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-A cast of eccentric characters plays out this intriguing story, which opens with an enticing description of Cape May, NJ, and the hint that ghosts might be hovering about. Lily, 13, and her mother have just moved to this shore community after her mother's breakup with her latest boyfriend. They take up residence in the old Victorian home owned by her mom's Uncle Wes, a relative with whom they have had little contact. Lily is so horrified by a portrait of her other great uncle, a pale, frightening-looking young man, that she hides it in the closet. Very soon, inexplicable things begin to happen: strange phone calls, objects changing location, jam in her shoes. Before long, Lily realizes that she is being haunted, and she resolves to solve a mystery from the past that involves her uncle's house and several of her relatives. The story shifts back and forth between her reality and a parallel world inhabited by ghosts, giving the book multiple dimensions and keeping readers guessing. A likable character, Lily is curious and courageous in her attempts to get to the bottom of things. A friendship develops between her and a local boy who helps her in her quest for the truth. Readers will be hooked right up to the surprising ending. A good pick for fans of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Bernie and the Bessledorf Ghost (Atheneum, 1990).-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lily's been dragged all over the country by her free-spirit mother. New boyfriend means new town. "Computer Geek," Lily's name for Mom's most recent fling, dumped them, and Mom's ancestral home in Cape May, New Jersey, is the only place left to go. Cape May, the house, and their family have a history, one that's still alive-sort of. Lily and her new friend Vaz become involved in a family mystery; they become involved with the town's plethora of ghosts; and finally they become involved with each other in this quite promising debut. The pace is swift but not breakneck. Lily's problems are believable and compassionately presented even though they are nestled in a slightly spooky, romantic mystery. Her often funny story, peppered with ghostly interludes, is capped by that rarest of animals: a twist ending that is totally earned. This should be a movie just so 'tweens and teens will come ask for the book. Place it in their hands; they will likely thank you. (Fiction. 11-16)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Make room for this first novel on the surefire ghost tale shelf.”
Meridian Magazine
“Very well written and sprinkled with humor throughout. A great read.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“A fast-paced, comic tale.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Satisfying. A good bet for girls ages 10 through 14.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Make room for this first novel on the surefire ghost tale shelf.”
Chicago Tribune
“Fun…pleasant humor, a combination mystery and making-new-friends tale.”
Detroit Free Press
“Sure to delight the reader…will tickle readers’ funny bones.”
Chicago Sun-Times
“A spirited novel.. Readers will fly through the pages.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Make room for this first novel on the surefire ghost tale shelf.”
Miami Herald - Sue Corbett
"Readers will keep turning pages to get to the (surprise) ending, but also because they'll be rooting for something good to happen to Lily."
School Library Journal - Renee Steinberg
Grade 5-8- "A cast of eccentric characters plays out this intriguing story. The story shifts back and forth between her reality and a parallel world inhabited by ghosts, giving the book multiple dimensions and keeping readers guessing. A likable character, Lily is curious and courageous in her attempts to get to the bottom of things. Readers will be hooked right up to the surprising ending."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780606344500
Publisher:
Demco Media
Publication date:
09/28/2005
Pages:
258
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.72(h) x 0.81(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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