cover image A Properly Unhaunted Place

A Properly Unhaunted Place

William Alexander, illus. by Kelly Murphy. S&S/McElderry, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-4814-6915-9

Rosa Díaz is not happy about moving to the town of Ingot, “the only unhaunted place Rosa had ever heard of.” As the daughter of a renowned “appeasement specialist,” trained to calm supernatural entities, Rosa knows that it’s downright unnatural that Ingot’s library isn’t haunted. Venturing out from her windowless apartment in the library’s basement, Rosa meets Jasper Chavalier, the 11-year-old son of two actors at the local Renaissance fair. After a vengeful, possessed tree attacks the festival, Rosa realizes that something sinister is behind Ingot’s lack of hauntings, leading her and Jasper to confront a surprising villain. National Book Award winner Alexander (Goblin Secrets) neatly inverts the typical ghost story, creating a supernatural landscape in which hauntings are part of the fabric of life and go hand in hand with respecting and honoring the departed. The friends’ realization that they must rely on themselves, not their parents, is relatable and poignant: Rosa’s efforts to accept her mother’s shortcomings and Jasper’s struggle to find his inner hero add depth to this charming mystery. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Aug.)