Ghosts Come Rising

When a loved one passes on, it is common to wish to speak with them across the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead. The flu pandemic of 1918 has just ravaged the globe, and twelve-year-old Liza and her younger brother John have been left parentless and in the custody of their unscrupulous relative, Mr. Spencer. Capitalizing on the resurgence of peoples’ belief in Spiritualism, Mr. Spencer teaches Liza and John how to make “ghosts” appear in the photographs he takes. When the trio finds itself at the headquarters of the infamous Silver Star Society, they will discover once and for all where the line between fiction and reality truly lies.

This compelling middle grade novel will have readers of all ages engrossed from the first pages. Written like a historical fiction account of life in the early 1920s in America, the book incorporates widely held beliefs of the time, the technology and clothing available to people, and true events that help place the story in a real-life context. Beautiful descriptions make the story come to life, and readers will frequently wonder what is true and what is a clever illusion. Liza’s first person account limits what readers are able to observe, providing another means of placing mysterious circumstances into their imaginations.

Though this is written for a middle grade audience, older readers with an interest in the paranormal will also enjoy this suspense-driven story as it unfolds. Liza claims from the very beginning that the reader should believe nothing she says, so the remainder of the book plants seeds of doubt as far as what she claims to see and experience. Colorful characters find their way into Liza’s surroundings, and these enhance the otherworldliness of the plot while giving readers even more elements to question. Images appear occasionally throughout the narrative to enhance the visual component of this story, further anchoring the intended time frame in readers’ minds. Captivating in its delivery, this book is one that will resonate with readers thanks to both its design and subject matter. This is an excellent addition to library collections for middle grade readers who enjoy paranormal mysteries.

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