cover image Funeral Songs for Dying Girls

Funeral Songs for Dying Girls

Cherie Dimaline. Tundra, $17.99 (280p) ISBN 978-0-7352-6563-9

Interweaving horror elements and wry humor, Dimaline (The Marrow Thieves), who is from the Georgian Bay Métis Community, crafts a macabre tale about a lonely girl who falls in love with a ghost. Sixteen-year-old Winifred Blight has lived on Toronto Winterson Cemetery’s grounds with her crematory operator father, who is white, ever since her Métis mother’s death during childbirth. Winifred is often bullied at school for her family’s graveyard residence, resulting in few relationships beyond her father, whose worries surrounding the cemetery’s imminent closure cause tension at home. When a passerby notices Winifred roaming the tombstones at night, they spread rumors about the cemetery being haunted, prompting a local ghost tour administrator to offer the family money in exchange for adding Winterson as a stop on the route. Winifred is happy her father agrees, but when she meets and falls for Phil, the ghost of a 15-year-old girl who died nearby, she fears the increased scrutiny will jeopardize their budding relationship. Contemplative prose excels in its portrayal of a reclusive protagonist longing for connection and overcoming grief while living in a neighborhood that shuns her for perceived shortcomings, presenting a textured narrative about loss and love. Ages 14–up. Agent: Dean Cooke, Cooke-McDermid. (Apr.)