11 year old Zee lives in Knobbs Ferry, a small, sleepy (or comatose, if you listen to Zee) town, where nothing much happens. Her mother is dead, her sister Abby works double shifts at the local diner to pay their bills, while their father, who left a few months earlier, tries to find work upstate. Zee herself is a story teller, a lover of scary tales to be precise. Her favourite place in Knobbs Ferry is the cemetery. Her best and only friend Elijah listens to all her stories, and has her back in school, where Zee fairly regularly ends up in the principal’s office.
But after a bad storm hits Knobbs Creek, and the school gets a new principal, weird things start happening. Unlike everyone else, Zee can’t take to Principal Scratch, who claims to show everyone a way to get what they want out of life. When Zee’s on-going feud with the perfect Nellie Bloom worsens when Nellie nicknames her Ghost Girl and claims Zee’s father has a new life and family elsewhere, Zee enrols Elijah to lure Nellie to the cemetery to play a prank on her. Instead of getting revenge, Zee, Elijah and Nellie encounter something far scarier than any of Zee’s stories.
Something really bad has come to Knobb’s Ferry, and with most of the town oblivious, can Zee wake them up to the danger – or face it herself?
This is an exciting story, which I found hard to put down. It has a high level of scare, which I would have loved as a child, as well as the terrifying antagonist. Even as an adult, I found it creepy in places, so it’s definitely an upper middle grade story. An enemy in our midst that most fail to recognise is still one of my favourite themes, especially when it is done as well as it is in Ghost Girl.
As well as being a well-written and pacey tale, the characters are well drawn. I liked how each of the three children – Zee, Elijah and Nellie – have their own difficulties and struggles at home. This is lightly done, but adds a lot of depth to the characters, and endears them to the reader. Zee is a great heroine, feisty and full of energy, not allowing life to repress her. The relationship between the three develops really nicely as well.
This is a well-written suspenseful tale, with ghosts, hell hounds, and great characters. I loved it! So highly recommend for anyone who likes a scary tale!
10 out of 10 Diamonds