cover image Ophie’s Ghosts

Ophie’s Ghosts

Justina Ireland. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-291589-4

In 1920s Georgia, 12-year-old Ophelia Harrison, who is Black, learns that she can see ghosts when her father, killed hours earlier by a white lynch mob, wakes Ophie in the middle of the night to save her and her mother from the same fate. After relocating to Pittsburgh to live with her father’s family, Ophie must leave school and work alongside her mother at the opulent Daffodil Manor, owned by the Caruthers family, white, pro-slavery Southerners from Virginia. There, Ophie sees more ghosts than ever, soon learning of her family’s legacy of helping sometimes-dangerous haints with unfinished business move on. Her fascination with Clara, the old home’s most beautiful ghost, draws Ophie into a mystery that reveals the human cost of systemic racism across America and the price routinely paid by those attempting to defy it. In her middle grade debut, Ireland (Dread Nation) deftly balances historical detail and atmosphere, capturing the essence of the centuries-enduring racism that oppresses through actions large and small. Ophie makes a brave, dynamic main character: scared, grieving, and compassionate, while also deeply aware that she deserves more than a racist society permits her. Ages 8–12. [em](May) [/em]