Ways To See a Ghost by Emily Diamand

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Ways To See a Ghost by Emily Diamand

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: It's no fun for Isis, having a mum who mistakenly believes she's psychic. The thing is, unlike her mum Isis actually does see ghosts, but how could she admit she sees her little sister Angel, who died at the age of three? It would destroy her mother's already fragile mental balance. And that's before Isis finds out about the danger which threatens everyone she loves — dead or alive. Emily popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us about how scary children's fiction should be.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: July 2013
Publisher: Templar
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781848775541

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Isis has spent half her life effectively being the adult in the family. After a dreadful car accident which killed her little sister Angel five years previously, her mother Cally falls apart, and her father walks out on them. Isis is left to cope as best she can, though the early days are hard: there's often no food in the house, her uniform is grubby and too small, and she has to take responsibility for getting herself to and from school.

Things improve somewhat when Cally decides she can contact the spirit world, even though this means Isis spends her evenings trying to get her homework done at the back of draughty halls and theatres while her mother listens with her spirit ear to pass on messages from the dead (or so she believes). Not that that's the only reason Isis isn't doing well in class: since Angel's death she can see ghosts, and sometimes they crowd round her so thickly at school, demanding her help, that she can't actually see the board. Still, the new interest eventually helps her mum recover sufficiently to fall for Gil, a UFO-fanatic with a son, Gray, who is the same age as Isis. Their shared embarrassment at their parents' exuberant kissing and cuddling in public helps bring the two youngsters together as friends.

This could easily have been a gloomy tale of adults who pursue their own needs and obsessions instead of paying attention to their children, but it isn't. In fact, there's a great deal of humour in the book, especially in the scenes with the ghosts. Crowds of them turn up to heckle when Cally does her clairvoyant act (not that anyone but Isis is aware of them) and little Angel, permanently stuck as a toddler, is as demanding and mischievous as she was when she was alive — the scene where she misbehaves at a meeting of so-called psychics will have readers chuckling at her naughtiness. UFO fans aren't spared, either: secret websites and conspiracy theories abound, and smelly Stu, who only goes out in the dark, is a comic gem.

But despite the light-hearted scenes the mood of the book gradually darkens. We know right from the beginning that a tragedy is imminent: an unnamed voice questions Gray about his friendship with Isis, and there are suggestions of shadowy powers behind the already terrifying events of the story. Emily Diamand handles her material deftly, revealing more and more about the mysteries which fill the book as the story unfolds, but always keeping enough back to make the reader want to read faster and faster. It is an exciting story, full of high-speed drama and breath-taking escapes, and it comes highly recommended, though maybe not for the faint-hearted, or those with an extremely active imagination!

Another rather scary story about young people battling ghosts which has been published recently is Lockwood and Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. Be careful, or you'll be digging out that old teddy, and sleeping with the lights on . . .

Buy Ways To See a Ghost by Emily Diamand at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ways To See a Ghost by Emily Diamand at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Ways To See a Ghost by Emily Diamand at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ways To See a Ghost by Emily Diamand at Amazon.com.


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