Ghostlight, by Sonia Gensler, with giveaway!

I went into Ghostlight, by Sonia Gensler (Knopf Books for Young Readers, August 2015), expecting Gothic southern horror, tilted toward Young Adult readers, but instead I found an engrossing not-quite-Gothic horror that's solidly middle grade, where the ghosts don't overwhelm the middle grade concerns of growing up, making friends, and figuring out old mysteries in true middle grade style!

Avery has always loved spending the summers at her grandmother's old farm, with its sprawling acres of woods and fields.  Over the years she and her older brother have made up a whole imaginary kingdom, full of stories, and she can't wait to play again.  But her brother sends that plan crashing down to earth--he says he's too old now for make believe games.   Then Avery meets Julian, an aspiring film maker staying with his dad in a cottage her grandma rents out to summer visitors.  And Julian ropes her in to a new project--making a horror movie about the Hilliard House, once the main family home, abandoned for  years.

Avery is willing to be educated in the nuances of horror movies, and she likes Julian well enough.  But she's been strictly, firmly forbidden by her grandmother to go near the old house...and there are reasons.  She goes along with Julian's plans regardless, and learns for herself the reasons for her grandmother's prohibition.  Hilliard House holds secrets of long ago tragedy, and is indeed haunted.  Avery and Julian become detectives looking for clues about the child who died there long ago, but will they be able to learn enough to set the dead at rest before new tragedy strikes?

It is a creepy ghost story, sure, but not one that is so horrific or gory so as to be the stuff of nightmares.  And the ghost story is so nicely set within the friendship/film-making/historical detection/family tension stories all going on that it is more than just a creepy story; many middle grade readers will find much to relate to here, even if they aren't necessarily ghost fans themselves. This one is particularly perfect for the budding cinematographer (I loved Julian's tips on the tricks used to make scary movies scary), a good one for those who like to explore big old fictional houses, and a good one for just about anyone who likes ghostly mystery! I liked this particular ghost lots, and enjoyed the twists of the historical mystery. In short,  Avery's journey from a somewhat whiney beginning (which unfortunately might put a few readers off) to a confident teller of stories in her own right makes for very good reading indeed. 

I'm happy to be able to offer a giveaway of a copy of Ghostlight; please leave a comment before midnight on midnight, Sept. 23rd to enter (US address only).

Sonia Gensler is also the author of the young adult novels The Dark Between and The Revenant. She grew up in a small Tennessee town and spent her early adulthood collecting impractical degrees from various Midwestern universities. A former high school English teacher, she now writes full-time in Oklahoma. 

To learn more, and to download a free curriculum guide, visit soniagensler.com or visit  @soniagensler
Follow the Ghostlight tour!

Mon, Sept 14
Cracking the Cover
Tues, Sept 15
Ms. Yingling Reads
Wed, Sept 16
Charlotte's Library
Thurs, Sept 17
The Book Smugglers
Fri, Sept 18
Unleashing Readers
Mon, Sept 21
The Hiding Spot
Tues, Sept 22
Wed, Sept 23
Word Spelunking
Thurs, Sept 24
The Book Monsters
Fri, Sept 25
Mon, Sept 28
The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Tues, Sept 29
Kid Lit Frenzy
Wed, Oct 1
Mother Daughter Book Club

Check out the trailer!


  1. This sounds deliciously creepy. I like the idea of this for middle-graders. They would eat this up. Thanks for a chance to win a copy and thanks for the post.

  2. I LOVE creepy books and what a great time of year for them. I've read a couple reviews of this book, and it sounds like something I would enjoy!

  3. The budding cinematographer angle definitely intrigues me.

  4. sounds interesting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  5. Thanks so much for reviewing GHOSTLIGHT, Charlotte -- I really appreciate it!

  6. Sounds like an amazing read!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com


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