Spellbinder by Helen Stringer This was such a fun read, I loved it. 12 yr old Belladonna Johnson can see ghost, its a family trait from her mother's side. Belladonna continues to live with her parents after they die in a car accident. At school Belladonna does her best not to be seen talking to ghost, everyone already thinks she's strange. Stringer's captures much with her writing. Many readers will be able to sympathize with Belladonna's math crisis.
"Unfortunately the walk to school wasn't a long one and, as if to bring her back down to earth, Math was the first class of the day, forcing Belladonna to make up some less than convincing reason why she hadn't done her homework. Mr. Fredericks hardly seemed to listen, moving right on to the next exercise. So far as he was concerned, if students couldn't be bothered to do their homework, then he couldn't be bothered to teach them. Belladonna sighed. She had only managed to keep up with math by slogging away and making sure she did every single piece of homework. Now she'd missed one exercise and suddenly everything was a mystery. She had a feeling that she would never again know what was going on in class" (ARC)
Life continues like it did before the accident until all the ghost disappear. With the ghost gone everything in Belladonna's world is at risk. People aren't sleeping since there are no ghost to supply them with dreams. Belladonna must figure out what is happening, if she wants to see her parents again. She has two people to help, Steve a classmate and Elsie a teen ghost who died in 1912. Stringer takes the time to develop Steve and Elsie. I loved the interaction between these characters.
"How are we supposed to reach that?" said Elsie. There's a chair in the front room!" Belladonna ran off and returned with an old chair. Steve took it off her, placed it squarely underneath the trapdoor and jiggled it. One of the legs promptly fell off. Why don't you just climb the banister?" asked Elsie. "Because I might fall off and plummet to my death," "I'll do it, then! I'm already dead." "So you keep saying," muttered Steve. Elsie heaved herself up on the banister, teetered there for a moment, turned a funny color, and quickly got down. "What;s the matter?" asked Belladonna. "Apparently you can still have vertigo even when your dead," said Elsie unhappily" (ARC)
Once I started reading Spellbinder I didn't want to stop. Its a great book and reluctant reader friendly. Ages 10up Goes on sale Sept. 29