cover image Nothing but Ghosts

Nothing but Ghosts

Beth Kephart, . . HarperTeen, $17.99 (278pp) ISBN 978-0-06-166796-1

Coping with loss and uncovering secrets are staples of YA fiction, but Kephart (House of Dance ) skillfully uses nuanced characters and resonant imagery to make the familiar feel new and magical. Sixteen-year-old Katie D'Amore and her father live in an old “heirloom” house, one that's far too large following the recent death of Katie's mother. Her father restores paintings—bringing torn, stained and begrimed canvases back to life—and Katie has taken a summer job as a gardener for the town recluse, Miss Martine, which offers another kind of resurrection. But neither can leave grief behind. Orders to excavate an unlikely spot for a new gazebo lead Katie to investigate the mystery behind Miss Martine's sudden withdrawal from the world. Her search parallels her father's current restoration project, which also gives tantalizing glimpses into an old tragedy and the still-open wounds it left behind. Kephart's evocative writing and gentle resolution offer healing and hope as her characters come to terms with their losses. As Katie says, “Things disappear and vanish... and after that all you can do is keep the idea of them bright inside yourself.” Ages 12–up. (July)