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Pemba's Song: A Ghost Story Hardcover – September 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7–10—Pemba, an African-American teen, doesn't want to make the move from Brooklyn to Connecticut no matter how rosy a picture her mother tries to paint. As soon as she sees her new home, she knows something isn't right. At first, she thinks she's imagining things, like the strange mirror that reflects the image of an 18th-century girl. But then the blackouts begin. During them Pemba sees Phyllys, a slave who lived in the house centuries before. Something horrible happened to her all those years ago and now she needs Pemba's help. Working with Abraham, an eccentric old man who lives nearby, Pemba must uncover the girl's story to finally put her to rest. Told through alternating chapters, poetry, and journal entries, this title is sure to appeal to fans of ghost stories as well as historical fiction. There are few ghost stories featuring African-American teens and fewer still that are as well written and interesting as this one. With its brevity, it will make an excellent choice for reluctant readers as well.—Ginny Collier, Dekalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA
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Written in shifting voices and styles, this vivid, collaborative novella tells a supernatural story of a young girl’s connection with history. Fourteen-year-old African American Pemba is furious when her mother decides to move from Brooklyn to “Nowhere” Connecticut, where her cell phone “can’t even pick up a freaking signal.” More upsetting are her strange dreams about a young black girl that begin on the first night in the new house. Abraham, an elderly local who welcomes Pemba and her mother, invites Pemba to help him research African Americans in the town’s history. As Pemba’s strange visions increase, she confides in Abraham, who helps her accept that she is connecting with an enslaved girl who lived in Pemba’s new home in the eighteenth century. Pemba’s first-person contemporary narrative combines with verse passages written in the ghost’s heartrending voice. The paranormal transitions that enable Pemba to witness the ghost’s world feel contrived and jarringly abrupt. Most affecting are passages of hip-hop poetry, written in Pemba’s voice, that powerfully translate her deepening sense of African American history and her own strength. Grades 7-10. --Gillian Engberg
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Top customer reviews
In the begining of the book we are introduced to Pemba and her mother. Pemba is upset with her mom, because she is moving her away from Brooklyn and her friends to a small town in Connecticut where her mom was offered a great job and an opportunity for a fresh start.
Pemba and her mother meet a strange man named Abraham who lives at the local library. She soons befriends this man and helps him with some local research. She soons discovers that the little town and the new house (or should I say old house) they live in holds lots of secrets and one of them is the ghost a slave girl named Phyllis who lived in the house in the late 1700's.
Phyllis begins to visit Pemba in supernatural ways, asking her to help her bring justice to two unsolved murders that occured there....
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good ghost story. At the end of the book we learn that the writers of the book indeed met a man by the name of Abraham who inspired this book and its history. So I thought that was pretty cool ^-^