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From The CriticsThirteen-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)