Friday, May 14, 2021

Ophie's Ghosts by Justina Ireland - ESSENTIAL

Ophie's Ghosts by Justina Ireland
, 336 pages. Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins), 2021. $17 

Language: G (0 swears 0 'f'); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG. 



12yo Ophelia can see Ghosts, the first was her father, on the night he was killed, it's dangerous for a black man to vote in 1920s Georgia. She and her mother have moved to Pittsburgh and are working in a manor house. Ophie's responsibility is taking care of old Mrs. Caruthers, who is in poor health. But, the manor is full of ghosts - ghosts only Ophie can see, and her mother has forbidden Ophie from telling anyone she can see them. Her great-aunt Rose also has the ability, and has warned Ophie to leave the dead alone, they only cause trouble. One ghost, Clara, helps her navigate her first difficult day, and despite her aunt's warning, Ophie is determined to help Clara, a maid who seems to have been murdered at the manor. 

Ireland's debut Middle Grade novel is well written, nice and spooky. The descriptions of the ghosts are chilling without being gory, and the story is gripping and exciting. Ireland also weaves in historical context, showing the racism and injustice of the time period. A great horror, but also an important story about social justice and the divide between the black community and the wealthy white community of the 1920s. I listened to Bahni Turpin narrate the audiobook, provided by The King's English bookstore through 

Lisa Librarian

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