My co-worker recommended Ghost to me knowing that I’m a lover of horror. I was intrigued by it just by it’s binding, the white cover and honestly just the size of it. The book is about the size of a picture book and was shelved among the children’s books but for the subject matter I found that might not be the best place to shelve it, but it from it’s size it would look juvenile among the middle-grade chapter books. I almost wonder if reprinting it into graphic novel size wouldn’t be better and reach it’s age group better, but honestly the illustrations are so gorgeous in this book that shrinking them down would be a crime. I might recommend this book to the young, mature child who doesn’t scare easily but otherwise think that a middle-grade reading level is best for Ghost.
Ghost uses a variety of ways to tell these thirteen chilling stories, to gush about the illustrations again reader’s might just go through to look at the pictures because of how beautiful and eerie they are. But Ghost also uses onomatopoeia for many of it’s stories, which would make this a great book to read around a campfire, as well as creepy poetry and haunting prose to tell these thirteen tales.
It can be really hard to find horror for young reader’s (youth today know of Fear Street because of the Netflix movies but have never heard of goosebumps) that doesn’t end up being more silly than scary. Of course I’m not implying stories should traumatize children, but the horror genre is one that’s beloved by many and one that some kids want to be introduced too but can’t find a good Segway into. I found Ghost to be a wonderful sort-of beginner’s horror anthology because even as an adult some of the stories are children, and even though I may recognize certain tropes they would be new and chilling to those being introduced to the genre.
Read my thoughts on each story below:
Prologue and Epilogue: Two boys at camp find Old Man Blackwood who knows all the best ghost stories. This was an excellent way of framing the anthology and I loved how it tied in with the other stories.
Reflection: A girl hears a tap, but it isn’t coming from her window, it’s coming from her mirror. A great first story in the anthology, I loved the use of sound to build the tension.
The Old Pond: A young boy’s family grieves the death of their daughter, not knowing why she swam out into the middle of the old pond. I’m a sucker for stories with water imagery, even if they’re scary. This was one of my favourites and I loved the characters in this one.
The Doll: A girl finds a doll in a store that her mother refuses to buy. This is the first poem in the book and it’s delightfully chilling.
Point Whitney: A teenaged boy joins a group of others as they ice fish on a forbidden area of water. Probably my least favourite, too much had to be understood in too short a story. I really liked the snowy setting though, that was written very well.
Fred: The narrator and their friend Fred go for a hike in the woods. Another poem and I really enjoyed it, love me a good forest horror.
Depth: A teenaged boy dives down to an abandoned WWII submarine to retrieve his dead parents body. A horrifying premise but this story wasn’t one of my favourites either, which is surprising since it’s set underwater. Still scary and creative though.
The Descent: A young boy finds himself going down an elevator with no buttons. I really enjoyed this one, it’s a pit-in-your-stomach kind of scary and I loved how everything was slowly revealed.
Eyes Closed: After moving into her own room a young girl believes it’s haunted but keeps her eyes shut so she can’t see what it is. This story was pretty simple and it’s pretty predictable, but a good short scare nonetheless.
The Library: Young Meg goes to the library after her teacher assigns the class to read a real book and gets help from the old librarian to find the perfect book. This one was my absolute favourite of the anthology, it was a sick kind of scary where not much was revealed but lots was implied, my favourite type of horror.
The Boy in the Basement: A girl moves to a new house with her dad and they find that the locked basement door opens up to a brick wall. This one had heavy Coraline vibes which I appreciated but would have enjoyed something a bit more creative.
Green Eyes: A boy eager to make friends agrees to go to the cemetery to see the mysterious green eyes that haunt there. Another poem with a good message, the illustrations in this story were some of my favourites.
Widow in Black: A group of kids favourite past-time is killing spiders after school and the Widow in Black doesn’t like that. Some good revenge horror, I found the ending to be stronger than most of the story for this one.
Publication: December 1st 2019
Pages: 160 pages (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction, Anthology, Ghost Story, Middle-grade, Horror
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤
“Ghost: Thirteen Haunting Tales to Tell is a ghost story collection for middle schoolers.
Featuring the only true ghost stories in existence (as the book itself will tell you), readers discover 13 eerie encounters that are perfect for sharing—if they dare.
With tales about a finger against the inside of a mirror, a wooded area where the trees look back, and a basement door blocked by a brick wall so thick it stifles the screams from below, this book is sure to haunt anyone who can’t resist a spooky story.
• Filled with creepy poems and tales
• Features striking, bone-chilling illustrations from Disney-Pixar talent
• Book contains all original stories
This haunting book will consume your imagination and keep readers of every age up long past their bedtimes.”