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Lily's Ghosts Paperback – September 6, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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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)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (September 1, 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 (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,882,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm an adult, but occasionally go for a quick light read, and this fit the bill. The book is probably more geared to kids between 11-14, but that being said, I thought it was pretty good! I didn't find the plot overly predictable, and the characters seemed real enough. The book was a fast read, and pretty amusing ride.
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Format: Hardcover
Poor Lily Crabtree didn’t want to have to move again, especially to her great-uncle’s creepy old house in New Jersey. But, things are worse that even Lily can imagine – this house is haunted – the whole town is haunted – and several ghosts have Lily in their sights. There’s a deep mystery here, and if Lily can maintain her sanity (and sense of humor), she’s the one to unravel it!

This is a great book! In fact, I can scarcely believe that this is the first book of author Laura Ruby – it won the 2003 Parent’s Choice Silver Honor for Fiction. Yep, I foresee a great future for this author.

Now, on to the book. This is a great book. At first I was afraid that hackneyed theme of wacky/unrealistic/ex-hippy/Boomer mother and straight-laced/cynical/Gen Xer daughter would produce a boringly predictable story. But, on the contrary, Ms. Ruby has produced a fascinating story that is one of the most unique things I have read in a while. I found the ghosts to be a exquisite combination of scary and funny, the (living) characters to be interesting and believable, and the ending to be something that I never could have guessed at.

Again, this is a great book, one that I highly recommend to all readers (young and old) who like a good ghost story that is also uplifting and entertaining.
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By A Customer on September 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is my new favorite book! i'm not a person who generally likes to read, but once i started LIly's Ghost, i could not put it down. It kept my attention with all the various ghosts and their individual stories. I loved Lily's attitude. She was so down to earth. I think she is a great role model for many of the girls who read this book and are having tough times at home or with boys.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In Ruby's novel, Lily's been dragged all over the country by her free-spirit mother; a new boyfriend means new town; "Computer Geek," Lily's name for Mom's most recent fling, dumped them, and Mom's ancestral home in Cape May, New Jersey, is the only place left to go. Cape May, the house, and their family have a history, one that's still very much alive. Lily and her new friend Vaz become involved in a family mystery; they become involved with the town's plethora of ghosts; and finally they become involved with each other.. The pace is swift but not breakneck. Lily's problems are believable and compassionately presented even though they are nestled in a slightly spooky, romantic mystery. Her often funny story, peppered with ghostly interludes, is capped by a twisting conclusion.

A promising debut and one `tweens will appreciate.
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