After surviving the car plunge into a river that killed Trace’s parents, he has moved to Brooklyn, New York to live with his mother’s eccentric sister, Aunt Lea. Despite her warmth and love, and his regular visits to a psychiatrist, Trace is not adjusting. Nor does he wish to adjust. He is plagued by nightmares of drowning, and he is consumed by guilt as he feels he is responsible for causing his parents to crash.
At middle school, Trace is given an assignment to report on the 1860s with a team of students that includes his best friend, Ty, a chubby Chinese-American, and Kali, the super popular school beauty. Agreeing to meet and study at the main branch of the New York Public Library, Trace somehow goes astray, finding himself in an off-limits deserted area of the library where he sees a tearful small boy in ragged clothing. He sees this child in other places as well and gradually realizes that he is seeing a ghost.
With an intricate plot and a likeable protagonist who both embraces and humorously resists self-pity, this is a ghost story with a most satisfying ending. Trace, while not a paragon of middle school success, will succeed wonderfully well with his intended audience.
Kemie Nix ©2019 Parents’ Choice
Kemie Nix is Chairman of Children’s Literature for Children (CLC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to bringing children and books together. Mrs. Nix, a senior book editor for Parents’ Choice, has a remarkable sense of selecting books children love to read.