Riley’s Ghost

John David Anderson. Walden Pond, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-062985-97-2
White seventh grader Riley Flynn is still smarting from being rejected by her best friend Emily when a run-in with a group of “vindictive volleyballers” angry about an altercation in science class concludes with Riley being locked in a supply closet long after school ends. After escaping the closet, Riley discovers that she has bigger problems: the school doors are locked tight, the phones aren’t working, and a dissected frog from science lab that claims to be a vessel for a ghost follows her, trying to communicate something. As Riley searches for an exit, the lights go out and she begins to see visions, “like a movie projected onto the inside of her skull,” of someone else’s tortured middle school memories. Riley, sensitive and lonely yet given to bouts of rage, is an appealingly honest middle school protagonist; Anderson (One Last Shot) begins chapters with memories of her past that relate to her current predicament, adding context to the tween’s social struggles. Though a bit overstuffed at times, the well paced, legitimately creepy tale powerfully conveys the pain of being a middle school outcast—and the importance of being seen. Ages 8–12. Agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/04/2021
Release date: 01/11/2022
Genre: Children's
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-6696-0747-2
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-06-298599-6
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