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Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator Hardcover – July 21, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5-9 -Zany, likable Gilda Joyce deserves a place right next to her inspiration, Harriet the Spy. Ever since her father died two years ago, Gilda has been working on sharpening her psychic skills, both in an attempt to communicate with him and to solve spooky mysteries. The summer before ninth grade, she invites herself to San Francisco to visit relatives she's never met who live in a brooding Victorian mansion, complete with a ghost in the tower. Lester Splinter, her distant cousin, seems to be hiding something about his sister's suicide years ago, and Gilda is determined to find out what it is, with the help of his lonely, hostile daughter who is her age. Gilda's bravery, bluntness, and willingness to try anything help bring Juliet out of herself. Her asides to her father, written on his old typewriter, are not only humorous; they also show her grief, longing, and love for him. The wacky wigs and costumes she dons will make readers giggle out loud, as will the inserted progress reports she writes of how well her investigations are going. Readers will feel the hair on the back of their necks rise over the predicaments she manages to get into and out of. Returning home at summer's end, Gilda is surprised that her mother has begun to date and her older brother, Stephen, is friendlier. They have all begun to heal from their loss. Let's hope Gilda also returns in another psychic mystery that needs her gutsy, brash attention.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 5-7. Gilda Joyce, 13, lives in Michigan with her widowed mother. With her best friend at camp, Gilda decides she wants an adventure, so she writes to a distant relative, Mr. Splinter, and asks to spend the summer in San Francisco. Unknown to Gilda, Mr. Splinter has a daughter, Juliet, about Gilda's age. After arriving in town, Gilda learns that Juliet has been seeing the ghost of her aunt, who committed suicide. Gilda finds this especially exciting as she considers herself a psychic investigator. Allison pulls off something special here. She not only offers a credible mystery (What really happened to Aunt Meredith?) but also, by allowing readers inside the heads of both girls, provides particularly strong characterizations--much more substantial than the ubiquitous first-person narrative would have offered. Moreover, the recent death of Gilda's father and Juliet's psychological problems give the story a heft that elevates it above the typical middle-grade mystery or ghost story. Stylistically, the writing is occasionally over the top, but give this book high marks for substance. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1000L (What's this?)
  • Series: Gilda Joyce
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525473750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525473756
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #980,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The first book in Jennifer Allison's popular GILDA JOYCE: PSYCHIC INVESTIGATOR series received starred reviews from School Library Journal, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly and inclusion in School Library Journal's "Best Books of the Year" and Booklist Magazine's "Top Ten Mysteries" lists. Books in the Gilda Joyce series have continued to garner critical praise and awards including an Edgar Award nomination from Mystery Writers of America and a Sunshine State Award nomination. The Gilda Joyce mysteries have been translated into seven languages.

A former journalist, book editor and high school English teacher, Jennifer Allison lives in Chicago, IL with her husband and three children. She has given presentations and writing workshops at schools and conferences throughout the country. Read more about Jennifer Allison, the inspiration for the new IGGY LOOMIS series, and materials for integrating IGGY LOOMIS with your school's language arts and science curriculum at www.iggyloomis.com. The author is available for interviews and events upon request.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. Iglesia on December 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a mother and former youth librarian, I recommend this book for both adults and teens. It's fun, quirky, and is full of mystery and adventure. The writing is engaging and enthusiastic - you can almost imagine Gilda Joyce bounding into your living room and impressing you with her energy and imagination, not to mention her very stylish clothes! As a librarian, I especially recommend this book for dealing with some very difficult issues - suicide, the death of a parent, divorce and depression - that often perplex young adults. Gilda's enthusiasm for life (and psychic sleuthing!) may help teen readers to put these and other difficult situations into perspective, making them less overwhelming. Above all, Gilda's adventures are great fun and offer young and old readers alike a chance to escape their everyday lives!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Norma W. Goldman on September 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Move over, Harry Potter! Jennifer Allison's new teen-age sleuth Gilda Joyce has real-life adventures as Psychic Investigator that rival those of Harry. Courageous, daring, presumptuous, outrageous, undaunted, she enters a locked tower, entices ghosts, outwits unsmpathetic adults, and reforms the mal-adjusted. With wig disguises and ouija board, she flirts with the occult. Though this novel by Jennifer Allison is a "can't put it down" mystery story for teen agers, adults will enjoy it as well (I am 83). Norma W. Goldman, Professor, Wayne State University
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Sure I am only 12 but I loved this book. There were some parts that were too scary for me so I had to read on even though my Dad said it was time for bed. I think that the author over-used some bad words. I just skipped over them and tried to forget but I still give this book a 5.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. C. Thomas on November 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As the mother of two boys, I'm always looking for books to read to them that are extraordinary and challenging; Gilda Joyce is both! I loved the fact that Gilda handles very serious themes of loss and independence in a real yet fun way. Gilda is a master of coping with all that life throws her way and triumphing with humor and aplomb. Also, unlike some children's books about the supernatural, like the Harry Potter books, Gilda is literary, so I wasn't bored to death reading it out loud. Not only does it owe something to Harriet the Spy, but Jane Eyre as well. This is a great read for smart kids; the author writes as if she trusts her audience's intelligence. I've heard there's a new Gilda Joyce book coming out this spring. It's on my reading list already.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
Gilda Joyces' only dream is to become a spy/author. Her father has recently died of cancer, and her mother now has to work full time every day to support the family. The problem is that Michigan is definitely not the place for psychic investigators! When she finds out that she has a long lost relative living in San Francisco in a gloomy mansion, she thinks it a perfect opportunity to start her career. She definitely doesn't find what she expects. Get lost in mysterious locked up attics, a suspicious murder, and curious disguises! Read this book and find out more! It will let you in on the amazing life of a psychic investigator.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. J. Finley on August 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Gilda Joyce is a terrific read. As a mother of a 15 year old, I found it so refreshing to read such a wonderful story, one that not only is fun but provokes one to think about challenges that we all face and that clarity about oneself can come from probing for the answers to unanswered questions in very innovative ways! This author is outstanding and I am hoping she is on to writing her next book. This book is great for adults and middle school children. My 15 year old has read this and is boasting to her friends about it! Now that is a real coup!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By molly on July 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
Gilda Joyce is an opinionated thirteen-year-old writer and psychic investigator who likes embellishing the truth. She's trying to get better, though, and has made herself the promise that if she tells any lies she'll do the best she can to make them come true. Therefore, when it slips out that she's going to spend her summer in San Francisco with relatives, she considers it the perfect opportunity to go someplace -- and it might even be a psychic impulse!

Of course, there's always the minor problem of having no invitation from these distant relatives, and also never having spoken to them. But if you think this is a setback, you have not yet met Gilda Joyce. She sends a melodramatic, pity-inducing, completely untrue letter that will have you in stitches, a letter that mentions her "special" brother who (according to her) has a problem with drinking household cleaners and an overworked mother who toils away at her job as a nurse and comes home just in time to relieve her exceptionally gifted daughter (that being Gilda, naturally.)

Fortunately for Gilda, this letter does not exactly reach Mr. Splinter, the relative in San Francisco. Instead it reaches his secretary, who decides that Gilda is just the sort of companion Mr. Splinter's daughter Juliet needs, and invites her to come stay.

So begins the first story of Gilda Joyce, a story involving a tall tower and a suicide victim's ghost, and a mystery that Gilda feels DEFINITELY needs her help as a psychic.

This book is absolutely hilarious, and Gilda is one of the best main characters I have ever read. She's funny and smart, and despite her high vocabulary she has absolutely no idea of the meanings of words like "tact" and "boundaries".
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