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Stonewords: A Ghost Story
     

Stonewords: A Ghost Story

by Pam Conrad
 

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The first time Zoe met Zoe Louise, Zoe was four years old. Zoe Louise was more than 100. From that day on -- living in the same house, separated by a staircase and a century -- Zoe and Zoe Louise have been an important and permanent part of each other's lives.

Now Zoe is older. And although Zoe Louise never grows up, she is changing in dreadful, frightening

Overview

The first time Zoe met Zoe Louise, Zoe was four years old. Zoe Louise was more than 100. From that day on -- living in the same house, separated by a staircase and a century -- Zoe and Zoe Louise have been an important and permanent part of each other's lives.

Now Zoe is older. And although Zoe Louise never grows up, she is changing in dreadful, frightening ways. Time is running out for Zoe's frightening ways. Time is running out for Zoe's best friend -- and Zoe is the only one who can help her. To do so, she must travel back 100 years in time and somehow alter the past. But in changing the past, must she also change the present? If she saves her friend's life, will she lose Zoe Louise forever'Zoe's grandparents think that Zoe Louise is Zoe's imaginary friend. The truth, however, is that Zoe Louise lived in Zoe's house a century ago, and her ghost has returned to solve a terrible mystery. . . . An eerie and gripping time fantasy. Conrads spare, vivid prose sustains the suspense, drawing readers inexorably toward a climax as satisfying as it is unexpected. SLJ.

1990 Boston GlobeHorn Book Award for Fiction Honor Book1990 Notable Trade Books in the Language Arts (NCTE)1991 Choices (Association of Booksellers for Children)Children's Books of 1990 (Library of Congress)1991 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)1991 Best Juvenile Mystery (Mystery Writers of America)Parenting Honorable Mention, ReadingMagic Award1995 California Young Reader AwardZoe's grandparents think that Zoe Louise is Zoe's imaginary friend. The truth, however, is that Zoe Louise lived in Zoe's house a century ago, and her ghost has returned to solve a terrible mystery. . . .An eerie and gripping time fantasy. Conrads spare, vivid prose sustains the suspense, drawing readers inexorably toward a climax as satisfying as it is unexpected. SLJ.

1990 Boston GlobeHorn Book Award for Fiction Honor Book1990 Notable Trade Books in the Language Arts (NCTE)1991 Choices (Association of Booksellers for Children)Children's Books of 1990 (Library of Congress)1991 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)1991 Best Juvenile Mystery (Mystery Writers of America)Parenting Honorable Mention, ReadingMagic Award1995 California Young Reader Award

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Zoe was overjoyed to find a playmate already in residence when she came to live in her grandparents' old house. The girls shared everything, toys, a playhouse, even the same name--everything except time: Zoe Louise is a visitor from another century. As Zoe grows up she begins to wonder about Zoe Louise's strange behavior. She follows her back in time to learn the terrible truth--that only she can prevent her soulmate's untimely death. For a ghost story, Conrad's latest novel is a surprisingly comforting tale of nurturing and forgiveness told in a direct, graceful style. Zoe, abandoned by her mother, adopts the life struggle of a ghost as her cause, and in winning is able to accept and love her mother just a little. This is a warmly poetic, atmospheric story shot through with bursts of fear, desperation and very real suspense. Ages 10-up. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-- In a cemetery on an island off the northern coast of America, Zoe's unstable mother weeps for the dead, while Zoe stares at a gravestone with a single legible inscription: her own name. This scene sets the mood for an eerie and gripping time fantasy by a talented writer. Zoe tells her story, beginning when she is five and comes to live with her devoted, nurturing grandparents. She immediately discovers that their 19th-century house is haunted by Zoe Louise, a beautiful child dressed in old-fashioned clothes, eagerly anticipating her eleventh birthday party. Zoe Louise becomes Zoe's beloved playmate, invisible to grownups. Stonewords shares many devices with Philippa Pearce's Tom's Midnight Garden (Lippincott, 1984); comparison of the two books could stimulate a fascinating literary discussion. Conrad's Eden of backyard and playhouse becomes sinister when Zoe's mother appears and takes Zoe into the woods, where a bank of roses marks the border of an earlier garden. The roses were planted 100 years ago, Zoe's mother says, by a mother whose daughter Zoe died on her eleventh birthday and now lies buried in the cemetery. Then Zoe Louise turns spectral, decaying before her playmate's eyes, and the modern Zoe is impelled into the past, where she finds herself locked in a struggle with fate, her best friend's life at stake. Conrad's oblique evocation of horror is as intense as her portrayal of madness in Prairie Songs (Harper, 1985). The spare, vivid prose sustains the suspense, drawing readers inexorably toward a climax as satisfying as it is unexpected. --Margaret A. Chang, Buxton School, Williamstown, MA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780064403542
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/28/1991
Series:
Harper Trophy Bks.
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.28(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Pam Conrad wrote many award-winning books for children, including the immensely popular The Tub People and The Tub Grandfather, both illustrated by Richard Egielski. She is also the author of a number of critically acclaimed novels, including Prairie Songs, a 1986 ALA Best Children's Book of the Year and a 1985 ALA Golden Kite Honor Book, and Stonewords, winner of the 1991 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Mystery.

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