cover image Ghost Book

Ghost Book

Remy Lai. Holt, $22.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-81041-0; $14.99 paper ISBN 978-1-250-81043-4

Lai (Pawcasso) navigates profound questions of fate and friendship via Chinese mythology in this playful graphic novel ghost story. Twelve-year-old July Chen goes largely unnoticed by kids at school and even her own father, making her feel invisible. But thanks to her ability to see ghosts, she meets tween William Xiao, her first friend, whose soul is trapped between life and death following a near-fatal experience. July offers to help William return to his body, resulting in the duo journeying through the underworld. There, they learn that because of a secret deal July’s dad struck with the King of the Underworld’s henchmen, the fates of July and William, born on the same day in the same hospital, have been twined since infanthood. In Lai’s richly imagined underworld—populated by silly and creepy ghosts, tile-roofed houses, and stands selling cuisines such as Dancing Soup and Honesty Soup—the new friends must outsmart the shepherds of the underworld if they hope to uncover the secrets of their past and save William. Animated illustrations featuring dreamlike backdrops and bold hues render both a youthful adventure and a mature meditation on the double-edged sword of memory. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)