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Carly’s Ghost

By Peggy Tibbets

Reviewed by Jeannette Angell

Publisher: Press-TIGE Publishing
ISBN: 1999
Genre: Children’s/Mystery

In “Carly’s Ghost,” a children’s-to-young-adult novel by Peggy Tibbetts, twelve-year-old Carly Baillie moves with her family into a log cabin that apparently came pre-inhabited – by a ghost that has kept the house empty for two years! No one in town wants to mention to the Baillie family why the house has been empty for so long, and the family moved halfway across the country to be there, so they haven’t heard the rumors. In fact, in the bustle of unpacking, all that they know is that they are getting on each other’s nerves!

Carly is quick to notice that her bedroom door is always closed, though, even when she’s sure that she left it open. Far from being afraid, however, she makes up stories in order to be allowed to stay home alone and explore what might be happening there.

The story focuses first on Carly’s family, showing an intense sibling rivalry with her sister Jackie, her mother’s new job and hopes, her father’s pleasure at being able to provide this new home.

Very quickly, however, the narrative turns to describe the time that Carly spends alone in the house, discovering a secret passage and the documented life of Amanda, one of the cabin’s previous inhabitants, who lived there over a century before…and is possibly still living on the premises! To Carly’s delight, it seems that Amanda – if it is Amanda – shares her feelings about her detested sister Jackie. Certainly all sorts of terrible things have started happening to Jackie that Carly can’t explain any other way.

Tibbetts does well with both dialogue and characterizations. The Baillie family is real and vibrant and wholly believable; conversations among them have the ring of truth. A slight problem is with Tibbetts’ grammar and punctuation; it is sometimes difficult to overlook copyediting problems enough to completely enjoy the story itself.

“Carly’s Ghost” is a wonderful story to share with children, or even for an adult to read alone on a hot summer day, remembering when the creaking floorboards and mysterious nocturnal sounds were part of one’s own childhood. It is a terrific transitional novel between children’s chapter books and young adult novels and is a great deal of fun to read.

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