The Girl in White, by Lindsay Currie

I am back from vacation--a week and a half in Montana, mostly spent volunteering with the Forest Service fixing up some old buildings at a history tree nursery, and less time visiting used bookstores.  In case anyone is interested, here is my haul (the books whose titles can't be read are Great Day in the Morning, by Florence Crannell Means, and Janine, by Robin McKown).

More books coming home than I took with me (8 ARCs, mostly mg fantasy), and I enjoyed reading them. The result is that I am now behind on reviews....so I hope to review lots in the coming week.

First up is The Girl in White, by Lindsay Currie (September 6th 2022 by Sourcebooks Young Readers), a nice ghost story with which to kick off the spooky season of Fall!

Mallory has been uprooted from Chicago to Eastport, MA--a quaint ocean town. There's a twist to the quaintness, though--the town capitalizes it reputation on being a spooky hotspot. Mallory's parents have plunged into the thick of the spooky stories, opening a restaurant in a building where a casket came tumbling out of a collapsing interior wall. The horror of it is embraced by her parents, and the restaurant is thriving, but Mallory is almost completely fed up with non-stop ghost stories all the time, and totally fed up with the town's fetishization of one legend in particular--that of Sweet Molly, whose brother Liam was lost at sea in the 19th century when the townsfolk forced him to set out on a fishing voyage (for economic reasons) in stormy weather. After he was quickly lost at sea, Molly swore she'd get revenge on the town, and now she's become one of its most popular (aka moneymaking) cursed legends.

The anniversary of Liam's death is approaching, the town is planning one of its biggest ever Sweet Molly extravagances, and Mallory, to her horror, is being haunted by Molly's ghost.  It stinks to be Mallory, sleep deprived, even less in control of her life than being uprooted, to the point where she literally is in danger (the ghost makes her sleep walk) and forced to endure all the Sweet Molly madness of the town.

Mallory can't explain away her terrifying encounters with Molly, and she has no idea how to get them to stop. Fortunately, she has good friends, one of them a earlier victim of Molly's harassment, and in a race against time, as strange and terrifying weather hits Eastport, and the climax of the festival approaches, they work together to find the true story of Molly and Liam....

The mix of very creepy ghost, local history gone out of control, and real world complexities of loyalty to family and friends make this one I'm sure will please its target audience lots! It's all woven together very well, with both the spookiness of Sweet Molly strong enough to satisfy young horror readers, and the new kid in town story satisfying those who aren't reading it for the scares.

As a grown-up reader, I appreciated that Mallory and her parents and friends were able to work through the wrinkles in their relationships with good faith and little drama. I respected the horror element of the plot; it was very vividly described in good mg horror fashion. That being said, I wondered, as I often do, why ghosts have to be so gosh darn mean when communicating with the living. If you are a ghost who can write messages in blood red paint etc. why not just be explicit? But I guess Molly's one weapon in her quest to change the narrative was her ability to terrorize....peaceful protest wasn't an option, which is an interesting thing to think about.

Which leads to what, to me, an even more interesting aspect of the book--at the heart of the plot is the need to question established narratives, and to revise accepted history. And even though this particular revision is not actually all that weighty, it does matter to Molly, and to the town. It's the sort of book that might well put thoughts into kids' heads that will lead them to become good critical thinkers as they get older, which is a good thing!

disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher


  1. Sigh. Roses are Blue and Hall's Clotheshorse look especially good. I have Hall's A Hatbox for Mimi. You'll have to let me know what you think of these. As for the mean ghosts, there have been a couple lately with more helpful ghosts, but my readers prefer the bloodthirsty ones! Glad you had a good trip.

    1. you need to come back to my house and read some more!

  2. Looks like you found a nice haul of books. What part of Montana were you in? Too bad we missed one another. I really enjoyed The Girl in White too.

    1. I was in the southwest, and I hope that's not where you are because if so I kick myself hard for not reaching out!


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