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Among the Ghosts

Among the Ghosts

4.2 12
by Amber Benson, Sina Grace (Illustrator)

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Noh, a slightly eccentric girl whose father is constantly traveling, moves in with her aunt, a teacher at the gothic New Newbridge Academy. The Academy has a strange, storied history but Noh feels right at home there. She’s startled to meet several other kids while investigating an old, burned-out dormitory on the far end of campus, especially since the


Noh, a slightly eccentric girl whose father is constantly traveling, moves in with her aunt, a teacher at the gothic New Newbridge Academy. The Academy has a strange, storied history but Noh feels right at home there. She’s startled to meet several other kids while investigating an old, burned-out dormitory on the far end of campus, especially since the teachers keep telling her that no students reside at the school during the summer. Soon, Noh discovers that these other students are actually ghosts and that she’s the only "realie" who can see them . . . and, when the ghosts start disappearing, the only one who can save them!

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Elizabeth Fronk
Noleen who is called Noh is a girl with a special talent and is visiting her Aunt Sara, a professor at the New Newbridge Academy. Upon her arrival, Noh encounters a hostile old woman in the cemetery. The old woman bestows upon Noh a stone which she recognizes as an evil eye, an object that has special powers. Upon her first explorations of the school, Noh discovers the burned-out West Wing and meets Nelly who appears to be just another student. Nelly is really a ghost as there are no other students on the campus in the summer. She stays with Trina and Henry, also ghosts, in the burnt out dormitory. Meanwhile something nasty is growing on the school's campus. Henry suddenly vanishes and Noh notices all of these ants gathering at the West Wing. She finds a set of equations to solve and she takes them to the physics teacher, Caleb DeMarck, who has been seen wandering around the West Wing. Can Nohand her magic stone help restore things to normal? This chapter book for middle school and reluctant high school readers has some intriguing elements: an outcast heroine, some ghosts, a summertime setting and a fast pace. However, too many characters and supernatural elements create a story that loses its punch at the end. Fans of the author as well as reluctant supernatural readers may be fascinated by Noh's plight. Reviewer: Elizabeth Fronk
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—So that he can explore the Appalachians, Noleen Maypother's scientist father sends her off to her Aunt Clara's for the summer—apparently without checking his sister's availability first. Noh arrives to find a vacant house and decides to take the train to New Newbridge, where her other aunt teaches at the academy. Since Noh will be a sixth grader there in the fall, it seems a logical solution. Aunt Sarah welcomes her and helps her get settled into the old boarding school. But as soon as she arrives, strange things start happening: she meets other children around the ruins of the burned-out West Wing and discovers that they are the ghosts of former students and that she is the only "realie" who can see them. And when her ghost friends start to disappear, it is up to her to solve the mystery and help the ghosts who are left. Benson incorporates some creative ingredients but fails to combine them in a satisfying way. The characters are two-dimensional, the dialogue is stilted, and the plotline so far-fetched and meandering that even the ghosts and the "nasty thing" that lurks in the background will fail to keep most students' attention. Occasional black-and-white drawings are scattered throughout and add nothing to the story. Readers with an interest in the paranormal are better directed to books by Mary Downing Hahn or to Elizabeth Cody Kimmel's "Suddenly Supernatural" series (Little, Brown).—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Kirkus Reviews

Ghostly children, a long-dead inventor, a voracious monster (sort of), a motherless-but-plucky girl, a mysterious private school, clever chapter headings and arch authorial asides are all jumbled together to create something that winds up being less than the sum of its parts. Young Noh (full name Noleen-Anne Harris Morgan Maypother) finds her way to New Newbridge Academy and her aunt Sarah after her absent-minded father sends her to stay with a different aunt who happens to be unavailable. Within a few days, Noh makes friends with various ghosts, finds a mysterious formula, thwarts the inventor's evil machine, escapes from the monster and discovers that she has unusual powers. Benson's celebrity (she played a role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and multimedia directing credits may attract some potential readers, but the hodgepodge of typical fantasy conventions, unlikely plot twists, excessive description and decidedly flat characterization will prevent all but the most persistent from slogging along to the final page. Which, in typical fantasy fashion, sets up a sequel. Skip this one and the next one too. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Ants and Sweaters

Thomas spied the ants as he waited by the back door to the kitchen. At first he ignored their merry procession, his mind overwhelmed with thoughts of the rich, buttery apple pie that he knew was baking in the oven only a few feet from where he was standing. Once or twice he let his eyes flick away from the window in the kitchen door in order to mark the ants’ progression, but it was only after he saw Mrs. Marble pull the golden-crusted beauty from the oven that he gave the ants a real looking at.

From what Thomas could tell, it seemed like the ants were on their way home from a military reconnaissance mission in the kitchen. They marched single file down the concrete steps that led to the kitchen door, across the sidewalk, and into the grass. They each carried a small piece of white fluff on their backs, which to Thomas made them all look like they were wearing little angora sweaters. A grin splitting his face at the thought of ants in knitted sweaters, he decided that the white stuff was definitely not angora, but something edible that the ants had stolen from Mrs. Marble’s kitchen.

Thomas didn’t like anyone stealing from Mrs. Marble—even the ants. Mrs. Marble was the nicest lady in the whole world as far as Thomas was concerned, besides which she baked some of the best pies this side of the Mason-Dixon Line… or at least, that’s what everyone said after they’d sampled one of her delicious desserts.

Feeling like a police detective in search of a crime—a policeman was something Thomas had always wanted to be when he grew up, after being a chef, of course—he decided to follow the ants and see where they were going. He pushed his brown newsboy cap out of his eyes and followed the thieving insects across the school grounds, past the archery field, and back over to the burned-out shell of the West Wing.

There had been a fire in the West Wing a number of years before, and now most people kept away from the building. Thomas thought those people were silly for being scared of an old, burned-out building, but he guessed that anyone was allowed to feel any way they wanted to about stuff that scared them. Though personally he believed that just because something didn’t look perfect anymore, didn’t mean you had to be scared of it. Sometimes a pie didn’t come out looking perfect, but that didn’t mean you threw it away—misshapen pie tasted just as good as any other kind of pie, thank you very much!

On the steps that led into the main entrance of the West Wing, Thomas paused to tip his cap to a girl who was sitting on the topmost step. She had her nose pressed firmly into a book, but she looked up and gave him a quick grin as he passed her by. Thomas spent most of his time in the kitchen, which was where he’d worked… before, but because of this, he didn’t really know the other kids at the school very well. He wasn’t sure what this particular girl’s name was, but he thought it began with the letter N—although he couldn’t really be sure. He was much better at remembering recipes than names.

Before the grin had even left her face, the girl was back into her book. Thomas saw that she didn’t even notice the ants that were marching up the steps beside her. If he’d been the one sitting by an army of ants, he’d sure have noticed them.

Thomas went through the door that led into the interior of the building, his eyes trained on the ants’ progress. Instantly he saw that the line of ants was making its way across the room before disappearing down into a small hole that sat right underneath the hearth of a large brick fireplace. Thomas got as close to the hole as he could, putting his eyeball right up to it, but it was so dark that he really couldn’t see where the ants were going at all.

Suddenly Thomas felt his whole body go stiff as a strange, prickly sensation swept across him. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up at attention. Thomas hadn’t felt anything like this in so long that at first he almost didn’t recognize what it was.

It was only when his teeth started to chatter that he realized what was happening to him. For the first time in more than eighty years, Thomas was cold. He looked up from where he was crouching by the base of the fireplace, and his eyes went wide when he saw what was waiting for him.

He opened his mouth to shout, but only a deep gurgle of fear popped out. It filled the empty room like the hollow sound of the last piece of candy rattling around inside a trick-or-treater’s Halloween grab bag.

When the girl with the book came back inside from her perch on the stairs, the room was empty. She scratched a bug bite on her arm and looked around curiously. She was pretty sure that she’d seen the boy from the kitchen come in here only a few minutes before.

She wondered where he’d gone.

© 2010 Amber Benson

Meet the Author

Amber Benson is a writer, actress, and director who has written for the stage, screen, books, and comic books. She is perhaps best known for playing the role of "Tara" on the hit television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Amber lives in Los Angeles, California.This is her first children's book.

Sina Grace draws comic books, kids' books, and big-people books and can be found in coffee shops all around Los Angeles.

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Among the Ghosts 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I luv this book! I think that if u read it then t+o will be hooked:) :')
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a super good book! Im only on the 5th chapter.
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Mystryrdr More than 1 year ago
Although a good book, the book cover suggested a different type of story than what I read.  Oh well, as the saying goes..."Can't judge a book by its cover..."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havent red the book yet. But i am excited to! I read the describtion and sample for the book and i was hooked on! If i were a judge for best book and author of the year i would choose this book and author. I am a huge fan for ghost hunters so there is 1 of 8 reasons why i like the sample and description. I recomend this to all ages that can read chapter books. : -)
Corrine Bartlett More than 1 year ago
good book.... they should make another to add on!!!!