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School Library Journal
From the moment that Amanda and her family arrive at the Pinedale resort on Lake Superior, it is obvious that something is amiss. Soon, they are treated to a ghost story warning them away from nearby Shadow Island. When the 12-year-old finds herself drawn there, she, her younger sister, and her friend Roxanne row to the island in a haunted boat and become embroiled in a whopper of a ghost story. Bial piles every possible haunted-house convention into the island's Victorian Stardust Hotel, repeating some of the elements he successfully used in previous novels. There are drug dealers disguised as ghosts; ghosts of wronged lovers, of lost lovers, and of a grieving mother and vengeful father; and a conspiracy by the locals to find hidden treasure. The girls escape death threats time and again by discovering secret panels, hidden staircases, hand holds in a chimney, and a tunnel. Clues abound as writing appears on a mirror and notes and letters are found. Amanda's resourcefulness and Sally's new confidence enable them to escape, and the townspeople are forced to look at their violent and prejudiced past as one of them admits to murdering the Native American lover of one of the many ghosts. At times the quick plot turns create a sense of excitement and humor, and the near misses add fear, but the story is dragged down by a plethora of plot elements all stuffed into one overwhelming night.
—Kathryn KosiorekCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.