Friday, May 8, 2015

Dead Scary: The Ghost Who Refused to Leave

Gould, S. (2014). Dead Scary: The Ghost Who Refused to Leave. Orbis Media.

Children's Chapter Book / Paranormal / Fantasy

I gave this book 4 of 5 Stars.

When Adam's mom gets an inheritance that includes the family moving into "a home from heaven," Adam soon finds out that it's already occupied by an Earthbound Spirit, Edward, who has made the house his own heaven on earth.  This might not be a problem, except Adam has a gift for being able to see and communicate with ghosts, and he and Edward take an immediate dislike to one another. With both Adam and Edward each refusing to find a new place to live, the stakes get dangerously high as Edward calls in the Warrior Spirits to get rid of Adam and his family.  Adam has to rely on worldly and otherworldly allies for help, especially as the Warrior Spirits prove to be more menacing than even Edward anticipated. Who will ultimately get to stay in the house -- and at what cost?

Dead Scary is a quick-to-draw-you-in story that will immediately engage readers and keep them turning the pages.  Main character Adam is written as a very believable teenaged boy, and even with his extraordinary gift, readers will connect with him.  In very few words, author Sally Gould does a great job of giving readers a definite impression of each character, and whether the character is living or an Earthbound Spirit, each is very human. Gould's depiction of the world of the Earthbound Spirits is particularly interesting since it very much parallels the world of the living: there is a governing power, rules, jobs, friendships, and enforcers. Plus, a connection between the spirit world and God/Heaven is made, which was also quite thought provoking without being too heavy.

The writing was very well done and error-free (hooray!), though American readers need to know that the author is Australian, and as such, there are some things that may seem like errors. For example, where Americans would say something is "as easy as pie," in the book, it would say something is "as easy as."  Actually, it would say, 'as easy as' -- notice the single quotation marks -- because another thing that Australians do differently is quotation marks. Where Americans use double quotation marks, Australians use singles for their quotes. These differences actually made the story even more fun for me (I giggled every time I came across the word "reckon"), though admittedly, I am a bit of a language nerd.

I recommend this book for ages 8-11 and reluctant readers because it's so well-paced and the layout isn't intimidating, with plenty of white space and short chapters. It's clean and the scary factor is balanced so that scenes are never too intense.  

Thank you to the author, who provided me a print copy of her book in exchange for my honest review -- the only kind I give. 

Learn more about author Sally Gould and her books on her WEBSITE, ON GOODREADS, ON FACEBOOK, OR CLICK HERE TO READ HER SMASHWORDS INTERVIEW, where Ms. Gould reveals her inspiration for Dead Scary.

Want to know more about ghosts? Ms. Gould discusses 7 Reasons Why Ghosts Hang Around, based on research she did and Mary Ann Winkowski's When Ghosts Speak.

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