Debbie Dadey, . . Bloomsbury, $14.95 (130pp) ISBN 978-1-58234-789-9

When 11-year-old Lillie Mae's mother dies, the girl's heartless aunt sells or keeps for herself all of the deceased woman's belongings and plunks the child on a train bound for the Kentucky farm owned by a great-uncle and aunt ("It had taken Aunt Helen three days even to remember about them and another four days to find out if they were still alive"). Alone in believing that her soldier father survived the war, Lillie Mae is convinced that he will one day return to find her. Her neighbor Paul tells her that the farm is haunted and also encourages the other kids at school to shun her. And she is awakened at night by a shuffling sound and a foul odor that she calls "a rotten food smell.... It smelled like death." In a simplistic about-face, Paul befriends Lillie Mae (he rescues her when she becomes lost in the woods during a nighttime thunder storm) and discloses the source of the nocturnal noise and stench (her uncle is making moonshine in the attic to pay his wife's medical expenses). Dadey's (Cherokee Sister) heavy-handed revelations and forced dialogue exacerbate the feeling of melodrama. Ages 9-up. (June)