I picked up RULES FOR GHOSTING after reading a blog post Ammi-Joan Paquette wrote about having several books release within a few months. I’d read one of her picture books but hadn’t read any of her novels. I’m so glad I did. Here’s the description:
Dahlia has been the resident ghost at Silverton Manor for as long as she can remember. Zipping in and out of rooms and planting her very own ghost garden is fun enough, but she’s always wanted a real friend.
Oliver Day can’t wait to see the new mansion his family will be house-sitting. Tired of moving around and having only his pesky siblings to play with, he’s hoping this place can be their home once and for all.
When the Days arrive at Silverton Manor, Dahlia can’t wait to see what excitement her new guests will bring! What neither Dahlia nor Oliver realizes is that an unscrupulous ghost hunter and a crooked town councilman are planning to rid the manor of its ghosts and sell it to the highest bidder. With just days to save their home, they must join forces to solve the mystery behind Dahlia’s death many years earlier.
But first, Dahlia and Oliver must become friends. If only the number-one rule for ghosting didn’t state that ghosts should never, EVER make contact with the living …
Here are the five things I loved most:
1. The descriptions – The descriptions are so full of imagery. I get a perfect picture of what each character is seeing, and at the same time, they tell me something about the character, too. For example, in the following, Oliver gets his first glimpse of the house, and it tells us as much about him as it does the house.
“But to Oliver it was a dream house: at least three stories high, maybe four if those were attic windows peeking out of the very tip-top. This was a house that could outlast a hundred games of hide-and-seek and still feel brand new; a house that had its own face and its own brain, and probably talked to you in your sleep; a house of spooky mystery and mayhem and charm.”
I also loved this description of his mom’s smile:
“… she said, with a smile that promised pancakes every day for a week and maybe even an extra hour of nighttime TV.”
Can’t you just see that smile?
2. The mystery – I found it interesting when I read the acknowledgements that this book started out being only from Dahlia’s point of view. I can see how it evolved from being her story to Oliver’s as well. That’s especially evident with the mystery, which is something she needs to solve but ends up affecting the Day kids as well. I liked the way each character gathered clues and worked together to come up with the final solution.
3. The clever names – I love all the clever names, like the ghosting Ghouncil, and the sly joke about Mrs. Tibbs’ name at the beginning. Kids won’t get it, but it won’t distract them, either. Then there’s the Ghosterminator, Rank T. Wiley, with the ever-changing middle name.
4. The parents – Ms. Paquette is very effective at keeping the parents out of the action without killing them off or having them abandon the kids. They’re present the whole time, but obviously they don’t believe Oliver about the ghosts or Wiley’s true intentions, so that makes it easy for them to stay uninvolved.
5. The ending – I really appreciate it when a book wraps up neatly into a bow. All of the little strings left dangling during the story, from Wiley’s deliberate deception about the work he was supposed to be doing to the supposed curse on the house, all fit together in the end. And yet, the bow wasn’t tied so tightly that it couldn’t be pulled loose again for a sequel. Well done, Ms. Paquette.
And here’s another fun note. There was a familiar name in the acknowledgements–my critique partner, Kip Wilson! I love seeing people I know listed in a book.
If you haven’t read this one yet, definitely pick it up. If you have, let me know your thoughts in the comments.