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 ...
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, Silverton Manor’s resident ghost, has not been able to leave the manor nor decrease her loneliness. She meets Mrs. Tibbs, who is going to help her get past this “boundary.” Meanwhile, Oliver Day and his family move into the manor. The family expects to just rent the property, but Oliver would like it to be a more permanent home. He suspects that the local fix-it man, Mr. Wiley, is not really a repair man at all. Dahlia finds out this is true when she discovers that Wiley’s equipment exterminates ghosts. When Oliver discovers a hidden camera, he realizes Mr. Wiley’s intent is to exterminate ghosts and that he must tell his father. Oliver sees how preoccupied both parents are, so he relies on his younger sister Poppy for assistance. With her human friends’ help, Dahlia believes strongly that answers to escape the boundary lie in an attic room. Poppy and Oliver wonder if a curse lies on the manor; the local town councilman, hearing this, wants to sell the house immediately. When Mrs. Tibbs is kidnapped and the auction forces Oliver and Poppy to leave, Dahlia fears all may be lost. Dahlia’s demise reveals itself and Oliver exposes Wiley’s fa?ade. This novel for middle school readers begins somewhat slowly but picks up in suspense. This well-paced mystery does not have a lot of gore or violence so readers from third grade to preteen can enjoy Oliver’s and Dahlia’s wish for something permanent. Reviewer: Elizabeth Fronk AGERANGE: Ages 8 to 12.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Due to some unfortunate paperwork errors, 12-year-old ghost Dahlia Silverton has been stuck in Silverton Manor for years, lonely and with no memory of her life after age 10, or how she died. Finally addressing her case, the Spectral Investigative Council, or Ghouncil, sends a Liberator to help her discover what is anchoring her to the manor so that she can cross over. Meanwhile, Oliver Day arrives with his family of professional house-sitters charged with making the mansion ready for auction in six months. Tired of moving from place to place, Oliver is determined to make Silverton Manor the Days' new home. When Dahlia's Liberator, Mrs. Tibbs, is captured by a ghost hunter posing as a repairman, Dahlia may have to break the most important of all the Ghouncil's rules and make contact with the living to get Oliver's help. The novel's strength lies in the two main characters. Dahlia and Oliver are likable and capable protagonists. Dahlia's desire for closure and knowledge of her past and Oliver's craving for a real home drive their actions, but both are quick to come to each other's aid along with Oliver's younger sister, Poppy. The story is nicely paced with short chapters, though some readers may wish for more details of the climactic moments in Dahlia's life once her memory returns as well as more on how the Ghouncil operates. Still, this is an entertaining read for children who enjoy gentle ghost stories.—Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL
Dahlia's solitary, ghostly existence is disrupted by the sudden arrival of living and nonliving visitors. Confined for decades to Silverton Manor and its grounds, the forever-12-year-old is overjoyed to meet Mrs. Tibbs, a very proper ghost sent to engineer Dahlia's release. However, their plans are interrupted when a living family moves into the manor. Although his parents were hired to watch over Silverton while it is being renovated for auction, Oliver yearns to make it their permanent home. When a nefarious schemer arrives at the manor masquerading as a handyman in order to trap a ghost and gain fame, Dahlia's very existence is placed in peril. To prevent any further tragedies, Oliver and Dahlia must find a way to collaborate to determine the source of the rumors surrounding the manor and the cause of Dahlia's death. Chapters alternate between Dahlia's and Oliver's perspectives, and Paquette creates vividly detailed depictions of a ghostly existence. She delves into the practicalities of being a ghost, offers a hilarious interpretation of a ghost-run bureaucracy, and describes fanciful ghost-tracking and -trapping gadgetry. As Dahlia and Oliver search for answers, surprising plot developments will keep readers re-evaluating the clues until the story's thrilling conclusion. Paquette's high-spirited tale featuring a benign, good-natured ghost offers readers an imaginative, intriguing mystery. (Mystery. 9-12)