cover image Deception


Lee Nichols, Bloomsbury,$16.99(336p)ISBN 978-1-59990-308-8; $9.99 paper ISBN 978-159990-421-4

In adult author Nichols's (Tales of a Drama Queen) first book for teenagers, which launches the Haunting Emma series, 17-year-old Emma's parents leave on a trip and weeks pass without a word of their whereabouts. Social workers are about to intervene when Bennett, a handsome friend of Emma's older brother, whisks her away to live at his family's sprawling, gothic, and haunted museum in Massachusetts. There, Emma enters the upscale Thatcher Academy, where she makes new friends and frets about the mysterious visions—including ghosts— that plague her. Soon Bennett reveals Emma's true nature: she is a "ghostkeeper" and the descendant of one of the earliest and most powerful ghostkeepers. As Emma struggles to navigate the requirements that come with her new identity, Nichols populates her life with the requisite competing love interests. While Nichols's take on the girl-who-sees-ghosts story will satisfy fans of the genre, the characters and plot feel familiar, though Emma has a sense of humor that, if on the silly side, balances the book's sinister moments with snark. Undemanding paranormal fun. Ages 14–up. (June)