Billy has run away from home. He hides away in a graveyard for several days, camping out in an old brick shelter with his backpack and sleeping bag. His mother is desperate to find her missing son, and she works with the police to start a search.
This story is told from two main perspectives, Billy and his mother. The two have a very close and affectionate relationship, but all is not well in Billy’s home, prompting him to run away. The writing perfectly balances the multiple points of views from the different characters, showing their distinct voices. There is such an appealing charm in the writing style that it draws you right in to the story, and makes the characters very endearing and relatable.
Marjorie is a shy girl, who runs her deceased mother’s laundry business. Wendell is a ghost who feels out of place in the afterlife, and runs away to visit the human world. When Marjorie’s business is threatened by an enterprising businessman, only other-worldly help will save the laundromat and heal Marjorie’s grieving heart.
The friendship between Marjorie and Wendell is so hilarious and weird! I love that they are both damaged and lost, but they find their way together.
The story shows a vivid picture of the grieving process, with all the ugliness and messiness that entails, but also gives hope to the characters and shows them healing and coming together.
I really enjoyed the scenes from the Land of Ghosts, where Wendell attends a support group for Dead Youth Empathetics. It was hilarious and interesting! The ghosts have their little homes, and their activities, and they hang out at the bath house to wash their sheets. I love the imaginative world-building! Continue reading →
Young Alex, the laird of Carra, is forced to sell his ancient and dilapidated Scottish castle to an American millionaire. Poor Alex is heartbroken to be leaving his ancestral home, but worst of all is the parting with his ghostly friends who haunt the Castle of Carra. When the millionaire tears down the castle and transplants it in Texas where his ailing daughter, Helen, can enjoy it, the ghosts accompany the ancient stones of their home, and uncover an evil plot to kidnap Helen. The good ghosts befriend a mysterious phantom hand, and rely on Alex to help save poor Helen from her kidnappers!
This has all the charm and silliness that I’ve come to love in Ibbotson’s books! The writing is fresh with a whimsical story-telling style. I love how weird and wacky the characters are, and how every detail about them carries weight in the story. The plot is full of preposterous surprises and plenty of action.
One of the best things about Ibbotson’s writing is how she takes ordinary things and turns them upside down to the astonishment of the reader.
Ever since Cailen had a near-death experience, she can see ghosts. They hang around, bothering her, and because her internal defenses are weak, they can sometimes possess her body.
Her roommate, Gabriella, is a spiritualist who has a better grasp on exorcising ghosts, and Cailen is happy to leave all the ghost-hunting to her friend and go on ignoring the spirits as much as possible.
Everett is a student reporter who is convinced that a recent series of murders needs some ghost experts to investigate, and he drags the reluctant Cailen into the mystery.
This is a total departure from the type of books I usually read. I don’t like horror or ghosts, but I thought I would pick this up because it looked more funny and sarcastic than scary. But then I was disappointed that there’s a lot of alcohol and profanity in this book. It was almost unreadable because of all the nasty words. Continue reading →