Ghost Book

Holt. Aug. 2023. 320p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781250810410. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781250810434. .
Gr 4 Up–Mild horror and humor collide in this delightful graphic novel inspired by Chinese mythology, set during Hungry Ghost month. All kinds of ghosts fill the halls of Redhill Elementary, home to the gates of the Underworld. July Chen, 12, pretends she can’t see the ghosts in her school so as to appear normal, but the spirit of a wandering soul named William Xiao is persistent in enlisting her help to free himself from a series of tragic events. Solid character development and plot drive this tale that touches on friendship, family, loss, and legend. Fans of Lai’s other works, such as Pie in the Sky and Fly on the Wall, will note her signature art style evident in the book, though the full color is heavy on darker blues and greens, which set the perfect tone for the spookier elements of the story.
VERDICT Fans of Lai’s other works, as well as Kat Leyh’s Snapdragon, and Emma Steinkellner’s “The Okay Witch” series will enjoy this modern ghost story with a hopeful ending. Recommended first purchase for upper elementary and middle school collections.

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