cover image She Is a Haunting

She Is a Haunting

Trang Thanh Tran. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5476-1081-5

In Tran’s hair-raising supernatural horror debut, Vietnamese American 17-year-old Jade Nguyen travels to Vietnam with her younger sister Lily to visit their father, Ba. Jade and Ba haven’t been close since he left their family four years prior. Though she’s initially opposed to the trip, she agrees to go after Ba promises to pay her university tuition. In Vietnam, the sisters stay with Ba in an old French colonial house called Nhà Hoa, which he has been renovating with plans to open a bed-and-breakfast. There, Jade experiences sleep paralysis and is plagued by nightmares featuring the Vietnamese wife of the white colonist who originally owned Nhà Hoa. When attempting to persuade her family to leave doesn’t work, Jade enlists Florence, the niece of Ba’s business partner, to set up a fake haunting to drive them out. As Jade endeavors to protect her family and uncover Nhà Hoa’s secrets, she struggles to hide her growing feelings for Florence from Ba, whom she believes will rescind his offer of tuition help if he learns she’s bisexual. Tran smartly weaves Vietnamese culture and real horrors of French imperialism to deliver an eerie tale overflowing with deeply unsettling atmosphere. Ages 13–up. Agent: Katelyn Detweiler, Jill Grinberg Literary. (Feb.)