Lily's Ghosts


Laura Ruby's book for teen girls is an interesting panoply of the coming-of-age story, the divorced parents story, and a supernatural mystery. All of the elements are distinct and they never become muddled in the flow of the book.

Lily and her mother move from Montclair, NJ to Cape May after her mother's latest boyfriend throws them out. Lily's mother's uncle owns the house and offers it to them as a place to stay in this time of turmoil. Lily and her mother move in and the ghost descend--one of them, Lola, mistakes Lily for her rival Steffie and pulls all sorts of ghostly pranks from putting jam in Lily's shoes to dying Lily's hair pink. Other ghosts intervene in her life as well.

While the ghost story and the girl-mother relationship story are okay, I am disturbed by some elements of this book--elements that I think might mislead many young women who don't have firm guidance. For example in the course of this book Lily, who is about 13 embarks on a "love affair" (If matters of the heart carry such weight at that time) with her boyfriend Vaz. They carry on throughout the book, and Lily's mother becomes quite concerned and determined to slow everything down. This provokes Lily's strongest rebellious moment and the mother relents. I don't know how this would be read by young women likely to encounter the book, but it presents for me some grave misgivings about recommending it.

The book is well-written and fun to read and probably harmless for most adults. But if you have a daughter to whom you are likely to hand it, you would be wise to read it first and judge the content against your child's maturity.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 1, 2006 8:54 AM.

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