Author: Dianne K. Salerni
Published : 2020 by Holiday House
Rating – 3/5
Thank you to Holiday House for providing me a copy of this book for review from BookCon 2020.
Summary (From GoodReads)
Murderous ghosts and buried family secrets threaten young Eleanor and Alice Roosevelt in this thrilling middle-grade novel that puts a supernatural spin on alternate history.
It’s 1898 in New York City and ghosts exist among humans.
When an unusual spirit takes up residence at the Roosevelt house, thirteen-year-old Eleanor and fourteen-year-old Alice are suspicious. The cousins don’t get along, but they know something is not right. This ghost is more than a pesky nuisance. The authorities claim he’s safe to be around, even as his mischievous behavior grows stranger and more menacing. It’s almost like he wants to scare the Roosevelts out of their home – and no one seems to care!
Meanwhile, Eleanor and Alice discover a dangerous ghost in the house where Alice was born and her mother died. Is someone else haunting the family? Introverted Eleanor and unruly Alice develop an unlikely friendship as they explore the family’s dark, complicated history. It’s up to them to destroy both ghosts and come to terms with their family’s losses.
Told from alternating perspectives, thrills and chills abound in Dianne K. Salerni’s imaginative novel about a legendary family and the ghosts that haunt their secrets.
Eleanor – Calm; Inner Strength; Resilient – While vastly different from her cousin Alice, Eleanor was still a pleasure to read about due to her inner strength and rational thinking. I love that she had goals and wanted to study. We see her character grow and she becomes more capable of voicing her opinion and I loved that progression.
Alice – Outspoken; Strong; While struggling with her own familial issues, we see Alice as a direct opposite of Eleanor in that she is quite fierce and determined to state her opinion in any situation. She is daring and willing to investigate the mystery surrounding the ghosts in this story.
It’s interesting to note that the world in this book is well aware that ghosts do exist and there are societies and organizations which are designated to eliminate ghost hauntings within a household. I found that aspect to be very interesting since we typically do not see that type of environment in ghost mystery novels. Instead, we are left in complete isolation without official organizations to reach out to and need to unravel the full mystery ourselves.
Unfortunately, the downside to this novel would have to be the writing and the plot. The writing styles tend to switch back and forth from 1st person to 3rd person when changing perspectives and I personally did not like that. I would have preferred if it stuck to one form of writing throughout the book to make it more uniform. The story itself while it is interesting in terms of the mystery, I thought it could have been better developed in more detail. I did not feel that there was a steady progression to the end of the novel. It lacked flow which is disappointing since it did have potential to be a really great thriller.
Have any of you read any mystery/thriller book from the Middle Grade genre?
Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!