cover image The Gone Away Place

The Gone Away Place

Christopher Barzak. Knopf, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-55609-8

Barzak (Wonders of the Invisible World) shows his expertise in conjuring a palpable sense of otherworldliness in this sad and eerie tale set in Ohio. Following a fight with her boyfriend, Noah, high school senior Ellie Frame decides to skip school to go to the lighthouse, a town landmark and popular refuge for teens. Here, she witnesses a succession of tornadoes that flatten much of the town and kill 150 people, including her three best friends and Noah. Reeling from grief, Ellie begins to see something over the next few weeks—the ghosts of people she knew, all of whom speak to her as though they were alive. Others in town have seen ghosts, too, and Ellie broods over why Noah, the person she misses most, has failed to make an appearance. The gray aura of tragedy might be oppressive if not for the book’s suspenseful elements and glimmers of light, small miracles that inspire hope and emotional healing. Ellie’s quest to find Noah and help other ghosts who want to be released from their bonds to earth is highly spiritual and deeply moving. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (May) [/em]