Discussion Guide for Totally Psychic by Brigid Martin

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Totally Psychic
Author: Brigid Martin
Published: August 15, 2023 by Inkyard Press

Summary: This debut middle grade series stars a Cuban-American tween medium navigating friends, family and ghosts!

Paloma Ferrer is psychic. In fact, everyone in her family line has “the gift.” Now that Paloma has come into her powers, she dreams of a famous medium to celebrities, being just like her beloved grandma.

When Paloma’s parents move them from Miami to Los Angeles, she hatches a plan to get her career as a medium up and running:

  • Host seances at her new school and stream on social media
  • Build her profile and make a name for herself
  • Avoid detection from her tattletale of a little sister

But when a reading gone awry leaves Paloma in a sticky situation with a new friend, she’ll need more than a crystal ball to find her way out of this mess.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions: 

Please view and enjoy the discussion guide I created for Cake Creative Kitchen for Totally Psychic:

You can also access the educators’ guide here.

Recommended For: 

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Guest Review: Magyk by Angie Sage

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Guest Reviewer: Grace, UCF Elementary Education Student

Magyk (Septimus Heap Book One)
Author: Angie Sage
Published March 2nd, 2005 by Bloomsbury Publishing

Summary: The first part of this enthralling new series leads readers on a fantastic journey filled with quirky characters, clever charms, potions and spells, and a yearning to uncover the mystery at the heart of this story…who is Septimus Heap?

The 7th son of the 7th son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across a bundle in the snow containing a newborn girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son, Septimus?

Angie Sage writes in the tradition of great British storytellers. Her inventive fantasy is filled with humor and heart: Magyk will have readers laughing and begging for more.

About the Author: Angie Sage began her career illustrating books, and then started writing – first toddler books, later chapter books and then the masterful Septimus Heap. She lives in a fifteenth-century house in Somerset. She has two grown-up daughters.

Review: Magyk is an interesting fantasy adventure that provides children an alternative to the increasingly controversial Harry Potter series. It has themes of wizardry/magic and adventure and focuses on a small group of young characters that age throughout the series.

Magyk and the rest of the Septimus Heap series promotes gender equality as it has several strong female characters and shows women in positions of power without questioning from other characters. In addition, this book and its series promote friendships between characters not only of different genders but of different backgrounds and races.

This book also has strong themes of found-family as well as other complicated family relationships that can be comforting to children without a more traditional nuclear family structure. One of the main characters, Jenna, has been adopted and struggles with her relationships with her non-adopted siblings. This is explored further in later books in the series when she meets her biological father and learns the identity of her birth mother.

The series associated with Magyk grows with its reader as Septimus, the main character, ages throughout the series. The books introduce increasingly mature themes over time, introducing readers to new ideas as they are ready for them.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book touches upon the idea of found family. This theme could be implemented in the classroom to help students better understand the importance of relationships between themselves and those around them. Highlighting the importance of the people we surround ourselves with and the aid they can provide is an important lesson to learn as it gives us strength to go about our day.

This book also teaches students to trust themselves and bare more responsibility as time goes by. Throughout the book, the characters discover that true power comes from themselves. It is only by trusting themselves and working hard that can they achieve their goals. This teaches students the importance of a good work ethic and how you have to work in order to achieve your goals. By adding additional responsibilities to characters throughout the book you can see how their wants and needs change over time however, this does not take away from the goals and aspirations they want to achieve.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Although Jenna is not related to the Heaps by blood she is raised as their daughter. How does Jenna’s relationship with her parents differ from that of her “siblings”?
  • Boy 412 and Jenna both have complicated pasts. How does their relationship change throughout the book as they learn more about themselves and each other?
  • How does Boy 412 relationships with others vary compared to how other children in the book make relationships?
  • How do the circumstances in which Jenna and Boy 412 discover their identities vary? How does this affect how they react to the news?
  • Boy 412 was raised in a militaristic environment, how does this shape the person he has become? If he was raised in a different environment do you think his personality would be different?
  • How do Marcia, Sarah, Zelda, and Silas treat the children differently? Why do you believe they have such different approaches?

Flagged Passages: 

“Oh it’s a pebble… But it’s a really nice pebble Dad thanks.”

Read This If You Love: Books about witches/wizards, Books that age with you

Recommended For: 

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Thank you, Grace, for your review!!

 

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

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The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street
Author: Lindsay Currie
Published October 10th, 2017 by Aladdin

Summary: A girl unravels a centuries-old mystery after moving into a haunted house in this deliciously suspenseful mystery.

Tessa Woodward isn’t exactly thrilled to move to rainy, cold Chicago from her home in sunny Florida. But homesickness turns to icy fear when unexplainable things start happening in her new house. Things like flickering lights, mysterious drawings appearing out of nowhere, and a crackling noise she can feel in her bones.

When her little brother’s doll starts crying real tears, Tessa realizes that someone—or something—is trying to communicate with her. A secret that’s been shrouded in mystery for more than one hundred years.

With the help of three new friends, Tessa begins unraveling the mystery of what happened in the house on Shady Street—and more importantly, what it has to do with her!

Review: I always go in tentatively to spooky books because I am so jumpy and also really don’t enjoy when the only point of a book is to scare the reader. But I could tell right away that Shady Street was going to completely exceed other just-scary books because it was about so much more. Sure, there was definitely a shady mystery and some really scary moments, but it was all entwined with a story about friendship, family, identity, and moving. Lindsay Currie did a perfect job balancing the two goals of the book: to scare the reader and to make the reader care so much about her characters.

In addition to the plot development being on point, Shady Street‘s characters were each were fully-developed to give every reader someone to connect with. I also liked how Currie included actual Chicago folklore and landmarks to enhance the story (and as a girl who lives in Florida and loves Chicago, I loved the Florida truths throughout also). Check out Currie’s website for behind the scenes info, and here’s a video of Lindsay Currie on a walking tour through Graceland cemetery, one of the settings of the book:

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Students are going to love this story because it is a perfect mix of ghost story and coming-of-age story, so classroom, school, and public libraries all definitely need to have a copy–once one students reads it, the word is going to get out, and it’ll never be on the shelf!

In the classroom, using Lindsay Currie’s website and video, Shady Street is a good example of author’s decision-making, how the setting of a story can impact the plot, and how an author uses the setting to affect the mood.

Book Trailer: 

Discussion Questions: 

  • How would the story have been different if Tessa had not gone to the pond the first time?
  • Why do you think Inez chose Tessa?
  • Did the story end how you thought it was going to?
  • How did the author use the setting to affect the mood of the story? The plot?
  • Which character do you connect with the most? Explain.
  • What caused Inez to act the way she did?
  • Similar to what Tessa did at the end for Inez, create a name plate for yourself with illustrations that identify you.
  • Explain the act of condensation.

Flagged Passages: “The door clicks shut behind her, and I grab a pair of jeans off the chair I slung them over last night. My sketchpad is open just slightly and I stop in my tracks, confused at the small blur I can see in the upper left-hand corner of the sheet. It’s grayish black, like I started something then just barely ran the bad of my thumb over it.

‘What in the–‘ I start, bending closer to the page.

I didn’t draw anything last night. I was so tired from carrying boxes all over this ginormous place that I crawled into bed without even brushing my teeth.

I stare at the mark. It’s small and shaped like an upside-down L. Lifting the book and giving the paper a tap, I watch asn the unwelcome spot becomes dust again and drifts into the air. There will still be a darkened area there, but I’ll camouflage it with shading later. Still. There’s something about the mark that bothers me. Something off.”

Read This If You Love: Mary Downing Hahn novels, The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd, Ghostlight by Sonia GenslerDoll Bones by Holly Black, The Seer of Shadows by Avi

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Lindsay Currie for providing a copy of the book for review!**

Frightlopedia by Julie Winterbottom

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

frightlopedia

Frightlopedia: An Encyclopedia of Everything Scary, Creepy, and Spine-Chilling, from Arachnids to Zombies
Author: Julie Winterbottom
Illustrator: Stefano Tambellini
Published August 23rd, 2016 by Workman Publishing Company

Summary: Here’s the book for kids who love scary stuff, whether it’s telling ghost stories around a campfire, discovering the origins of various vampires, monsters, and witches, or reading creepy tales under the covers with a flashlight.

Combining fact, fiction, and hands-on activities, Frightlopedia is an illustrated A-Z collection of some of the world’s most frightening places, scariest stories, and gruesomest creatures, both real and imagined. Discover Borneo’s Gomantong Cave, where literally millions of bats, cockroaches, spiders, and rats coexist—in pitch darkness. Learn about mythical creatures like the Mongolian Death Worm—and scarily real ones like killer bees, which were accidentally created by scientists in the 1950s. Visit New Orleans’s Beauregard-Keyes house, where Civil War soldiers are said to still clash in the front hall. Plus ghost stories from around the world, a cross-cultural study of vampires, and how to transform into a zombie with makeup. Each entry includes a “Fright Meter” measurement from 1 to 3, because while being scared is fun, everyone has their limit.

Review: I loved the structure of this text, and students and other teachers will as well. Different than a traditional encyclopedia, the Frightlopedia mixes fact, fiction, traditional literature, and hands-on activities which makes this a perfect classroom text as it will suck in readers in so many different ways, and it will also work in such a variety of classroom activities as well.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Like I shared above, this text has a really nice mix of genres along with hands-on activities. For example, parts of the text could be used during lessons on mythology, literary standards, traditional literature, science, or history. There is just so much, it is hard to actually share it all. Go into MONSTERS, if you want include mythological creatures; SHARKS or JELLYFISH during biology; CAPUCHIN CATACOMBS or MUMMIES in history; XYLOPHOBIA or CLAUSTROPHOBIA during word students of affixes; WRITE YOUR OWN GHOST STORY during creative writing; and so much more!

Discussion Questions: Which section did you find the most frightening? Why? The most interesting? Why?; Do you believe in ghosts?; How were mummies made in different cultures?; Which animal is the most frightening to you?

Flagged Passages: 

frightlopedia-vampire

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Read This If You Love: Ghost stories, mythology, being scared, learning about weird animals, learning about scary history

Recommended For: 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Scary Books I Recommend to Jumpy People

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Ten Scary Books I Recommend to Jumpy People

Kellee

I am not a huge scary book fan because I am really jumpy, and they can definitely make me have bad dreams, but these are ten scary books I’ve enjoyed recently and can recommend because the awesomeness of the story outweighs the side effects of the jumpiness.

1. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood

Now, I won’t lie. This one is pretty darn scary, but Anna is a fascinating character.

2. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

monstrumologist

Rick Yancey’s story mixes fantastical science with treacherous monsters to make a truly smart horror story.

3. Doll Bones by Holly Black

dollbones

Yes, this doll is super creepy!

4. The Haunting of Derek Stone: City of the Dead by Tony Abbott

city-of-the-dead

I read Derek’s story years ago, but it hasn’t left me yet.

5. and 6. In the Shadow of Blackbirds and The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

in-the-shadow-of-blackbirds cure for dreaming

Cat Winters has a way of writing magic realism with a touch of suspense and a dash of creepy. But it all mixes up into stories you won’t be able to put down.

*These are not sequels*

7. This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

this dark endeavor

How did Dr. Frankenstein become the mad scientist we all know? Read to find out.

8. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

coraline2

After reading, you will never hope to have a different family!

9. Guys Read: Thriller edited by Jon Sciezska

 guys-read-thriller

A collection of spooky stories ranging from humor to horror.

10. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

a monster calls

Not a traditional horror story, but instead is a fantastical story filled with pain and fear and love.

Which scary books would you recommend?

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Review and Author Q&A: Alistair Grim’s Odditorium by Gregory Funaro

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odditorium

Alistair Grim’s Odditorium
Author: Gregory Funaro
Illustrator: Vivienne To
Published January 6th, 2015 by Disney-Hyperion

Summary: Grubb, age twelve (or thereabouts), has never known anything beyond his miserable existence as a chimney sweep, paid only in insults and abuse by his cruel master.

All of that changes the day he stows away in the coach belonging to a mysterious guest at the inn that he is tasked with cleaning. Grubb emerges from Alistair Grim’s trunk and into the wondrous world of the Odditorium. Fueled by a glowing blue energy that Grubb can only begin to understand, the Odditorium is home to countless enchanted objects and an eccentric crew that embraces Grubb as one of their own.

There’s no time for Grubb to settle into his new role as apprentice to the strange, secretive Mr. Grim. When the Odditorium comes under attack, Grubb is whisked off on a perilous adventure. Only he can prevent the Odditorium’s magic from falling into evil hands-and his new family from suffering a terrible fate.

Grubb knows he’s no hero. He’s just a chimney sweep. But armed with only his courage and wits, Grubb will confront the life-or-death battle he alone is destined to fight.

About the Author: Gregory Funaro is the NY Times Best Selling author of the Odditorium series from Disney-Hyperion. He grew up in Cranston, Rhode Island, and wrote his first story, “The Ghost in the Window”, in the fourth grade. He considers this to be his finest work, but unfortunately it has been lost to time. Following high school Greg majored in theatre at the University of New Hampshire, and after various acting gigs, received his AM in Theatre Arts from Brown University and an MFA in Acting from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. Greg teaches drama at East Carolina University, and spends far too much time on the internet looking for vintage lunchboxes.

greg funaro

Follow him on Facebook or Twitter (@GregoryFunaro) and visit his website at http://www.gregoryfunaro.com/

Review: Take a bit of Oliver Twist add in some Harry Potter and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory mix it with the snark of Lemony Snicket and Frankenstein’s monster then top it off with some Emerald Atlas and (more) Harry Potter adventure with mythology and fairy tale sprinkles and voila! You have yourself Alistair Grim’s Odditorium. But do not let me fool you into thinking that Gregory Funaro’s story is like anything you’ve read before because even though it alludes to many fantastical adventures, it is its own story through and through.

What makes Odditorium soar is not just the amazing adventure that Grubb and Mr. Grim go on (because it is amazing!), but the cast of characters that accompany them. Without Mrs. Pinch, Nigel, Mack, Lord Dreary, the samurai, and others, the book just wouldn’t be the same. Gregory Funaro did an amazing job creating a fully-developed supporting cast of characters that help push this adventure to the next level.

Author Interview: Thank you so much to Gregory for being willing to answer some questions for us!

KelleeAlistair Grim’s Odditorium seems to allude to many traditional stories such as mythology and Grimm fairy tales. What other pieces of literature inspired your story?

Gregory Funaro: The works of Charles Dickens, especially Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. The setting is Dickensian London, and you’ll find a lot of common themes from Victorian literature running throughout the series, such as hidden identities, unrequited love, upper-class destiny, etc. There are echoes of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, of course, and the fantasy works of Lloyd Alexander (The Chronicles of Prydain), but like so many Dickens novels, underneath all the magic and adventure, Odditorium is just a simple story of one boy’s journey toward acceptance and self-discovery.

K: Grubb has quite an odd name–how did that come about?

GF: His original name was Twip–a mash-up of Twist (Oliver) and Pip from Great Expectations. However, one day when I was writing in my office (the building is very old) I spied what looked like a maggot in the cracks between the floor tiles. It ended up being just a rogue grain of rice from some sushi I’d had a few days earlier, but the “maggot” sparked the idea for grub. The extra “b” was just something I threw in there for fun.

K: The illustrations in the novel really help bring it to life and seem to perfectly embody your words. What was your process with working with the illustrator?

GF: Along with the editors, at the beginning of the publication process I was very involved in the initial shape explorations of the Odditorium itself, but after that, as far as I know Vivienne To was pretty much on her own. I was also involved in some tweaking of illustrations along the way to make sure they jived with the story–especially in Aquaticum–but in terms of conceptualizing characters and whatnot, all that came from Vivienne. Fine by me. She is amazing.

K: Although the story is primarily adventure and fantasy, you threw in some humor throughout (I particularly love Mack!). How important do you think it was to add that to your story?

GF: Indispensable. You must have humor even in the most tragic of stories. You need a break once in a while from all the tension(Shakespeare was the master at this) and having a humorous character like Mack (who can also be serious if needed), provides a much richer experience for the reader. I think having a “comedian” in children’s books is especially important because kids can relate. However, you have to be careful, because too much (i.e., just throwing in a bunch of random jokes or snarky comments) can get annoying very quickly.

K: You majored in and teach theater–how did you find yourself writing for young adults?

GF: I actually started writing thrillers during my spare time about eight years ago. I had a couple published (they weren’t very good) and then moved over to children’s literature after the birth of my daughter. Oddly, though, I didn’t see Odditorium as a children’s book at first. In the original premise, Nigel (Mr. Grim’s right hand man) was going to be the focus of a story about Frankenstein’s monster being reunited with his long lost daughter. That idea rolled around in my head until the following summer, and by the time I started Odditorium, it was a children’s book, the monster’s daughter had somehow become Grubb, and the focus was on his journey with Alistair Grim. Nigel and his daughter’s story still exists in the book, but it’s one of the subplots.

K: Book 2 is out now! Can you give us a non-spoilery peak into what Alistair and Grubb are up to next?

GF: Book 2, Alistair Grim’s Odd Aquaticum, centers around an underwater quest for the legendary sword Excalibur–the only weapon powerful enough to penetrate Prince Nightshade’s armor. That’s right, the evil prince and his gang of baddies are back, along with some new characters, including a banshee assassin and a witch named Mad Malmuirie, who wants revenge on Grim for stealing her magical objects. The rest of the Odditorium’s crew is back, too, and they all journey to the mythical realm of Avalon, where the story takes a magical turn that not even Alistair Grim could have predicted.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: First and foremost, I think this book is going to find some major love in libraries. If we can get this into students’ hands, they are going to talk about it and pass it around. It is that kind of book. Students will want to talk about it.

In addition, aspects of the book can definitely be used to discuss allusion. Teachers can pull out excerpts of the text and excerpts of the alluded text to compare and contrast and look at how the author made parts of or ideas from the classic text come alive in this new story.

Discussion Questions: Do you believe what Mr. Grim did to help Nigel was right?; What part does Mrs. Pinch play in the story?; What stories/books does Alistair Grim’s Odditorium remind you of? Which parts of the story remind you of what story/book?; Did the author give you any clues (foreshadowing) about Grubb’s true identity?; What do you think happened to Kiyoko?

Book Trailer:  

Read This If You Loved: Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, Emerald Atlas by John Stephens, Series of Unfortunate Events (series) by Lemony Snicket, The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo, Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley, The Vanishing Islands by Barry Wolverton, The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson

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Blog Tour with Review, Author’s Guest Post, and Giveaway!: Ghostlight by Sonia Gensler

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Ghostlight

Ghostlight
Author: Sonia Gensler
Published August 4th, 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary: Things that go bump in the night are just the beginning when a summer film project becomes a real-life ghost story!

Avery is looking forward to another summer at Grandma’s farm, at least until her brother says he’s too old for “Kingdom,” the imaginary world they’d spent years creating. Lucky for her, there’s a new kid staying in the cottage down the road: a city boy with a famous dad, Julian’s more than a little full of himself, but he’s also a storyteller like Avery. So when he announces his plan to film a ghost story, Avery is eager to join in.

Unfortunately, Julian wants to film at Hilliard House, a looming, empty mansion that Grandma has absolutely forbidden her to enter. As terrified as Avery is of Grandma’s wrath, the allure of filmmaking is impossible to resist.

As the kids explore the secrets of Hilliard house, eerie things begin to happen, and the “imaginary” dangers in their movie threaten to become very real. Have Avery and Julian awakened a menacing presence? Can they turn back before they go too far?

My Review: I do not do creepy. No creepy books, movies, haunted houses…nothing. So, a creepy book had to sound really good or be recommended to me by someone I trust for me to read it. This one was both, so I agreed to give it a chance. Although it did scare the kajeebees out of me, I am very glad that I picked it up. First, the ghost story part of the plot is done so well. It isn’t over the top, it seemed real, and it really got me! Second, the book was so much more than a ghost story. It was a look at rural vs. urban, celebrity, the definition of family, mental disorders, filmmaking, and more. Third, the characters seemed real. You have four very different preteens/teens, but they all represent a different type of person. Each has flaws, and each is wonderful

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I was fascinated by all of the filmmaking information that Julian shares with Avery. I would love to use this part of the book with students, as well as information from other sources, to help them make a film from a script they wrote. They could also use the information to make a book trailer with good filmmaking technique.

P.S. I book talked Ghostlight on Tuesday to my class, and 90% of them put it on their TBR list. They all want to know what is going on in that house!

Discussion Questions: Would you forgive Julian and Lily after what they did to Avery?; If you were Avery, and you were asked about your father, how would you respond?; What does Avery’s family situation tell us about what family is?; What specifically made the ghost in Ghostlight scary?;

We Flagged: “…Julian paused the video. This time I could see the wispy thing hanging in the air across from Lily. It wasn’t a person, but it was something.” (p. 119)

Book Trailer: 

Read This If You Love: All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn, Doll Bones by Holly Black, Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver, Seer of Shadows by Avi, City of the Dead by Tony Abbott, Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac

Sonia Gensler has some more books to share that you may enjoy: Ghostlight, my first middle grade novel, was inspired by classic B&W horror films and the spine-tingling tales of authors like Mary Downing Hahn and Patricia Clapp. To celebrate its release, I thought I’d share other recent middle grade ghost novels that raise the stakes with deft characterization and unique conflicts.

Breathe: A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish (2006): Jack and his mother move into an old farmhouse, but only he can see the resident ghosts. Having once nearly died of asthma, Jack has a special sensitivity to those who have crossed to the other side. In fact, Jack senses several ghostly individuals within the house, but the more he learns, the more vulnerable he becomes to the most powerful of the spectral entities — one who wishes to control all the inhabitants of the house, living or dead. Breathe presents the ghostly characters and their conflicts in an innovative way that will keep readers gripped to the very end.

Seer of Shadows, by Avi (2008): Young Horace apprentices with a society photographer in 19th-century New York City. When Horace finds an eerie image on a developed photograph — the likeness of the subject’s dead daughter — dark things begin to happen. I am fascinated by the notion of Victorian spirit photography, so this story was particularly to my liking! (Another spirit photography novel for readers interested in more mature characters and themes would be Cat Winters’ In the Shadow of Blackbirds.)

The Aviary, by Kathleen O’Dell (2011): Clara lives in the crumbling Glendoveer Mansion, where her mother is housekeeper. Her life is comfortable enough, but she can’t go outside, has no friends, and actively fears the exotic birds kept by old Mrs. Glendoveer. One day, the mynah bird speaks to her, and he seems to be saying a name. Eliot. When Clara investigates, she gradually learns the dark history of the Glendoveer family, and in turn discovers secrets from her own past. While not a traditional ghost story, this Gothic tale is full of mystery and chilling reveals.

Doll Bones, by Holly Black (2013): Zach has decided to put childhood things behind, but when his old friend Poppy tells him she is being haunted by her china doll, he agrees to help her properly bury it. Creepy dolls aside, this book is haunting in its look at childhood play and imagination–particularly what may be lost in the transition from childhood to adolescence.

A Curious Tale of the In-Between, by Lauren DeStefano (2015): Pram, who can see and speak with the dead, wishes more than anything to meet her living father. The mysterious Lady Savant says she can help, but Pram soon learns the lady has a dark agenda of her own. This captivating novel is more mystery than horror, and I was intrigued by how it represented interactions between the living and dead. The novel’s focus on the manipulation of memories reminded me (in a very good way) of the film Inception.

About the Author: Sonia Gensler is also the author of the young adult novels The Dark Between and The Revenant. She grew up in a small Tennessee town and spent her early adulthood collecting impractical degrees from various Midwestern universities. A former high school English teacher, she now writes full-time in Oklahoma. To learn more, and to download a free curriculum guide, visit soniagensler.com or her Twitter: @soniagensler

Sonia Gensler_credit Eden Wilson Photography

Giveaway: 

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Follow the Ghostlight Tour!

Mon, Sept 14
Cracking the Cover
Tues, Sept 15
Ms. Yingling Reads
Wed, Sept 16
Charlotte’s Library
Thurs, Sept 17
The Book Smugglers
Fri, Sept 18
Unleashing Readers
Mon, Sept 21
The Hiding Spot
Tues, Sept 22
Proseandkahn
Wed, Sept 23
Word Spelunking
Thurs, Sept 24
The Book Monsters
Fri, Sept 25
GreenBeanTeenQueen
Mon, Sept 28
The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Tues, Sept 29
Kid Lit Frenzy
Wed, Oct 1
Mother Daughter Book Club

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**Thank you to Barbara from Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review and giveaway as well as a big thank you to Sonia Gensler for her guest post!**