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Monday, July 8, 2013

Review: Rules for Ghosting by A.J. Paquette

Rules for Ghosting
by A.J. Paquette
Pub Date: 7/9/13
Pub: Bloomsbury & Walker
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Twelve-year-old Dahlia has always lived at Silverton Manor-having spent fifty years as its resident ghost. When Oliver Day and his family show up as house-sitters the day Mrs. Tibbs, a Liberator sent by the Spectral Investigative Council, arrives to teach Dahlia the proper rules for ghosting, Dahlia can't wait to make new friends. But the unscrupulous ghost hunter, Rank Wiley, and the crooked town councilman, Jock Rutabartle, plan to rid Silverton Manor of its ghosts and sell it to the highest bidder. With her home and friendships at stake Dahlia may have to break the rules of ghosting as quickly as she learns them to solve the mystery of her death and save the manor. Equal parts charming and eerie, this ghostly caper hits all the right notes for the middle-grade audience.
I received an eARC of this title in exchange for an honest review

A.J. Paquette's Rules for Ghosting is an utterly delightful and superbly entertaining middle-grade read! This ghoulicious gem of a book is full of spooky, charming fun and storytelling that simply sparkles and shines!

For fifty years, 12 year old Dahlia has lived at Silverton Manor as its resident ghost. Mrs. Tibbs, a Liberator from the very important and rigid Spectral Investigation Council, shows up to teach Dahlia the proper rules for ghosting and help her uncover the anchor that is keeping her stuck at Silverton Manor. On the same day as Mrs. Tibbs arrival, Oliver Day and his family of house-sitters move into the manor. The Days' job is to ensure the manor gets a pretty makeover, both for its physical appearance and its reputation, so that Jock Rutabartle can sell it. But a nasty ghost hunter named Rank Wiley gets in the way of both Dahlia and the Days. Dahlia must break some ghosting rules to save herself and help Oliver save the beloved manor.

I loved everything about this book! The characters, the plot, the writing- it's all just awesome. Rules for Ghosting is the perfect middle-grade blend of fun thrills, eerie whimsy, and smart mystery. Paquette's storytelling has that special spark, the kind that is fueled by a wonderfully imaginative and addicting story, that I always look for in middle-grade books. With a pitch-perfect voice, amusing humor, and clever plotting, Rules for Ghosting is truly captivating from beginning to end.

I'm huge fan of ghost stories and ghost hunting, and Paquette has created the perfect middle-grade ghost story that has a enough eerie spookiness to keep readers enthralled, but is brimming with charm and age-appropriate thrills. This book was seriously just SO MUCH fun to read! It has so many fantastic elements, from an enchanting setting (Silverton Manor) to a compelling mystery to awesome characters, this book has it all. Silverton Manor, with its irresistible charm; mysterious allure; and many rooms waiting to be explored, is like a character in itself. Given the chance, I'd move into Silverton Manor (and claim Poppy's room!). Paquette weaves a clever, unpredictable mystery that kept me on my toes and was exciting to unravel with Dahlia and Oliver.

The characters in Rules for Ghosting shine! I adore ghost-girl Dahlia; she's everything I look for in a middle-grade heroine: smart, brave, capable, inquisitive, and endearing. Oliver and his rambunctious younger siblings make for an engaging and amusing bunch. Younger readers will love this group of young characters and want to join their ghost-hunter busting team (I know I do!). And Rank and Jock make for fun baddies.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: With spooks and kooks, thrills and chills, and sparkle and shine, Rules for Ghosting is an awesome middle-grade read that charmed me completely. I can't recommend this book enough, especially for all the younger readers in your life!


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A.J. Paquette
A.J. Paquette has been writing stories since early childhood. She and her sister would spend hours creating masterpieces of stapled paper and handwritten words, complete with pen-and-ink covers and boxed illustrations. The road to publication was long and winding, peppered with many small successes including: a variety of national magazine publications, being a 2005 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award honoree, and receiving the 2008 SCBWI’s Susan Landers Glass Scholarship Award, for the book that would later become Nowhere Girl. Her first picture book, The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies, was published in 2009. She now lives with her husband and two daughters in the Boston area, where she continues to write books for children and young adults. She is also an agent with the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. 

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