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Lily's Ghosts Paperback – September 6, 2005


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (September 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060518316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060518318
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,209,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-A cast of eccentric characters plays out this intriguing story, which opens with an enticing description of Cape May, NJ, and the hint that ghosts might be hovering about. Lily, 13, and her mother have just moved to this shore community after her mother's breakup with her latest boyfriend. They take up residence in the old Victorian home owned by her mom's Uncle Wes, a relative with whom they have had little contact. Lily is so horrified by a portrait of her other great uncle, a pale, frightening-looking young man, that she hides it in the closet. Very soon, inexplicable things begin to happen: strange phone calls, objects changing location, jam in her shoes. Before long, Lily realizes that she is being haunted, and she resolves to solve a mystery from the past that involves her uncle's house and several of her relatives. The story shifts back and forth between her reality and a parallel world inhabited by ghosts, giving the book multiple dimensions and keeping readers guessing. A likable character, Lily is curious and courageous in her attempts to get to the bottom of things. A friendship develops between her and a local boy who helps her in her quest for the truth. Readers will be hooked right up to the surprising ending. A good pick for fans of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Bernie and the Bessledorf Ghost (Atheneum, 1990).
Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Fun…pleasant humor, a combination mystery and making-new-friends tale.” (Chicago Tribune)

“A fast-paced, comic tale.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“A spirited novel.. Readers will fly through the pages.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

“Sure to delight the reader…will tickle readers’ funny bones.” (Detroit Free Press)

“Sharp-witted narrative and lively characters…intriguing.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Very well written and sprinkled with humor throughout. A great read.” (Meridian Magazine)

“Make room for this first novel on the surefire ghost tale shelf.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

“Satisfying. A good bet for girls ages 10 through 14.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“This should be a movie just so ‘tweens and teens will come ask for the book.” (Kirkus Reviews)

More About the Author

Laura Ruby is the author of books for adults, teens and children. Her titles include the Edgar-nominated tween mystery LILY'S GHOSTS (now updated for 2011), the children's fantasy THE WALL AND THE WING (3/06) and a sequel, THE CHAOS KING (5/07) all published by Harpercollins. She writes for older teens as well, and her debut young adult novel, GOOD GIRLS (9/06), also from Harpercollins, was a Book Sense Pick for fall 2006 and an ALA Quick Pick for 2007. She followed this with the teen novels PLAY ME (2008) and BAD APPLE (2009).

Her short fiction for adults has appeared in various literary magazines, including Other Voices and The Florida Review. A collection of these stories, I'M NOT JULIA ROBERTS, was published by Warner Books in January 2007. Called "hilarious and heart-wrenching" by People and "a knowing look at the costs and rewards of remaking a family," by the Miami Herald, the book was also featured in Redbook, Working Mother, and USA Today, among others.

Raised in the wilds of suburban New Jersey, Laura Ruby now lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two cats that serve as creative advisors.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 52 customer reviews
Good read for young adults.
tech tngal
This book is a fabulous combination of good, old-fashioned ghost story and contemporary YA fiction.
California Reader
I though that the book was very good and did not have very many boring parts in it.
Stacey L. Lucas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kool Fool on February 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This has got to be one of the better children's books around. Well, I know I haven't read that many children's books and I'm probably not the best judge, but I've read books where the protagonist sounds either too young or too old or too dumb or too smart or too secure for someone his/her age, and in this book, Lily sounds just perfect. She may be a bit mature for a thirteen-year-old, but she still has foibles, which makes her so believable as a human being. In fact, both Lily and Vaz are about the only characters from children's books who are so three-dimensional they continue to linger in my head after I've finished the book.

I also love the writing style. It is descriptive but also fast-paced. It seems like things keep happening. I'm only disappointed about a chapter near the end, in which the author definitely rushes through, trying to wrap everything up neatly in a few pages. A few things remain unclear, but since the climax is over, I'll choose to overlook that.

The cover is misleading, though. I originally picked up the book because I thought it was going to be a funny book, but it's not really ha-ha funny. In fact, it's kind of creepy at parts, and I'm above the targeted audience's age. Still, I don't regret reading this book. It's awesome.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Deyoung on August 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading Lily's Ghost on a 5 hour trip to Hawaii. It's very much in the vain of Harry Potter but with a female heroine and ghosts. My favorite parts were the interludes where the ghosts chat amongst themselves and live out their afterlife as part of today's world. The prose flows easily and smoothly - intellectual enough for an adult but easy enough for any kid who would appreciate Harry Potter. The ending is a nice twist that gets you thinking. An easy recommend for anyone who likes ghosts or coming of age stories.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen Laskas on August 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Go to any bookstore and look at the titles in middle grade and YA shelves and you'll see plenty about ghosts. But Laura Ruby's novel rings true on so many levels, that it can't help but, well, "leap out at you."
LILY'S GHOSTS has a cast of hilarious ghosts haunting throughout Cape May, NJ, a terrific living town of characters (and sometimes that word "character" can be taken literally!) and a warm and witty style that draws the reader into the story. Readers from all backgrounds will find something in Lily that speaks to them, and the mystery she solves is wonderfully done. This is a novel that is asking real questions without giving us absolute answers.
A truly enjoyable read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Vernick on August 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It doesn't get better than this.
You will get goosebumps. From the ghosts that haunt Lily's uncle's house. From the spirits that linger on the beach. You'll also get them from the tingling excitement of the relationship developing between Vaz, Lily's partner in ghost-busting crime, and Lily herself.
What's most impressive here isn't the unforgettable characters, the bizarre goings-on in the haunted house, or the suspense that consistently builds until the end. It's the writing. Ruby knows how to hook a reader, in a most inconvenient way that will have you shrugging off all your prior commitments until you reach the end of this book. But it is so worth it.
You will be hoping for a sequel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By GHarrar on August 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This novel presents a real world and a ghost world side by side, and the young heroine, Lily, tries to keep the two straight. The setting of Cape May, New Jersey, is perfect for the odd goings-on. Young readers will have fun figuring out which strange things are caused by the mischievous ghosts and which by the malevolent people. A great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Thirteen-year-old Lily Crabtree doesn't want to live in Great-Uncle Wesley's Victorian mansion in Cape May, New Jersey, but that's where she and her mother end up after her mom's latest romance fizzles. It's bad enough that living in a seashore community in the winter is deadly dull, but Lily's cat, Julep, is staring at things that Lily can't see, an old Kewpie doll is following the girl around the drafty house and things keep disappearing and reappearing with maddening regularity. Her mother thinks Lily is making it all up, but Lily knows that something strange is happening in the family house. A chance meeting with a boy named Vaz (short for Vasilios) gives Lily a romantic interest and an ally, and the two join forces to discover the murderous secrets hidden in her family history. Ruby divides her effectively creepy ghost tale into two parts, the day-to-day activities of the living and the day-to-day activities of the dead, in serif and sans serif fonts, respectively, and the actions of individuals present and departed are humorously balanced to provide both historical context and local color. The foreshadowing is smoky but discernible, and the cumulative pace is just right for a suspenseful tale of murderous betrayal, vengeful ghosts, and
tragic rivalry. The atmospheres of haunted house and deserted seaside are delicately evoked, and concluding revelations move logically and inexorably into focus. Ruby doesn't horrify so much as she insinuates. Ruby doesn't horrify so much as she insinuates, in gracefully nuanced language that provides chilling support for the action. Make room for this first novel on the surefire ghost tale shelf.
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