|The Last Ghost: A Belladonna Johnson Adventure by Helen Stringer|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Amy Taylor|
|Summary: A book that keeps you on the edge of your seat and takes you into the world of ghosts, strange creatures, and the darkness that surrounds it.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: October 2009|
|Publisher: Macmillan's Children's Books|
Belladonna Johnson can see and talk to ghosts and no one else can. In fact she lives with two; her dead parents. But something is happening – the ghosts are disappearing. Her mother vanishes and her father tells her he doesn't have much time either. The doors are closing, the doors to the Other Side and there is only one left, but just as he says this, he is gone too. Not wanting to lose her parents again, Belladonna sets out on a journey with the help of Steve, a boy from school. They need to find the entrance to the Land of the Dead, the door to where the last ghost, Elsie, waits, before it's too late…
This is a great debut novel, full of action and suspense. It takes you on an adventure into another world, which was once beautiful, but is now decaying and rotting away. Belladonna doesn't fit-in in school; she hides behind a curtain of hair and slouches her way through the day. Steve is the boy always in trouble and unpopular with the teachers, but underneath it all quite clever. And Elsie, the last ghost, is an Edwardian girl who died winning a tennis match and now haunts the school. Together they search for answers that the grown-ups won't give them.
The story is set as autumn turns to winter with it's cold, darkening nights. The time when strange creatures come out. It gives you a creepy, shivering sensation, one that makes you want to read with all the lights on and a mug of cocoa by your side. The author has a way of capturing all three voices, through simple, fast paced dialogue, and striking descriptions. I found myself re-reading some sentences in envy of her choice of words. The characters come alive on the page, all with their own and very different opinions.
It has got all the usual suspects – the bad guy, his assistant, the grown ups who won't listen, and the three heroes. There is a freshness about it though; it is quite a witty book, and made me giggle. It isn't trying to be like all the other fantasy adventure books. It mocks itself in its similarities, like there really is no other option and that's just the way it is. The ending suggests that this is only the first chapter of the Belladonna Johnson Adventures. It leaves you feeling snug and sure that you will see more of these characters, and soon you hope. You know this because questions are left hanging, what will happen next? Can you wait? I know I can't.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If this book appeals then we think that you'll enjoy Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Last Ghost: A Belladonna Johnson Adventure by Helen Stringer at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Last Ghost: A Belladonna Johnson Adventure by Helen Stringer at Amazon.com.
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