Monday, June 15, 2009

Ghost Town (MG, YA)


Jennings, Richard W. 2009. Ghost Town. Houghton Mifflin. 165 pages.

"Well, I guess that makes it official," I said to Chief Leopard Frog.

Spencer Honesty is a loner. Not so much by choice either. See, that's what happens when you're the only kid left in town. Paisley, Kansas, is on its way to being a ghost town. Spencer and his mom make for a population of two. She's got a secure job working for the U.S. Postal Service.

He's got an imaginary friend, an Indian chief, who excels in whittling "good" luck charms (talismans) and writing poetry--bad poetry. And he's got his father's old camera. So with weekly visits to the newest Wal-Mart (a couple of hours away), he's got his film and batteries and a purpose for the long summer days.

Ghost Town is an odd little book. Quirky. Maybe a touch of magic realism? Is that what you call it? You see his father's camera is magical. It captures images from the past. So he never knows who is going to be in his shots. Sometimes it's his dead father. Sometimes its the girl next door. "Ghosts" are not in every shot. (And they're not always ghosts--sometimes it's just folks that have moved away from the town.) And it's really nothing he can control directly. He doesn't know this magic bit until his developed pictures start coming back to him. And that's just the beginning...

I don't know how to describe this one really. It's odd and quirky. Unique too. I liked parts of it. Loved that his mom struck up a friendship with a delivery man (can't remember if it's FedEx or UPS). Enjoyed that this is a good boyish adventure rags-to-riches pure wish fulfillment type story. Is it believable? No, but I don't think it was meant to be. It's a silly book that is fun.

Eva wanted to know if there were real ghosts in Ghost Town. Yes and no. Mostly no. His magic camera does take pictures of people who are no longer there. But most of the "no longer there" candid shots are of people still living--they're just living somewhere else. These are snapshots of the past: pictures of people brushing their teeth, pictures of people picking up laundry (and the like), just people doing ordinary things. Things that you wouldn't ever really think are photo-worthy. The one exception being the few photos he gets of his dead father.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

5 comments:

Suko 11:00 PM  

I enjoy quirky, offbeat books. I could see this one as a movie.

college admission essay help 1:00 AM  

The story line is perfect fit for a movie.

Doret 11:05 PM  

I loved Ghost Town. Spencer was great.

Zibilee 1:19 PM  

I think this would make a great read for both my teenagers and myself. I really like the camera that takes pictures of people from the past. Sounds like a great book!

bks2plz 2:26 PM  

How's your day?

I see you like to read and I wanted to tell you that my book, Gateway to DreamWorld was released on Wednesday August 12, 2009.

Synopsis: On their way home from baseball tryouts, Brad Colby and his two sons are involved in a terrible car accident that leaves six-year-old Pete in a coma. When Pete awakens, the family is crushed to learn that he is paralyzed.

Meanwhile, Pete’s eight-year-old brother, Jason, has been having powerful dreams that lead him to a mysterious realm known as DreamWorld. Jason discovers that all of his desires can come true in DreamWorld, but the time is fast approaching when he will have to choose between his two worlds.

And when more devastating news strikes at the heart of the Colby family, Jason and Pete set out on a desperate attempt to find the Gateway to DreamWorld and save their family. With time running out on their dangerous path, will Jason and Pete’s fear of the Unknown keep them from reaching the paradise of their dreams?

I invite you to order your copy now from Amazon.com or Barnes&Nobles.com at a discounted price.

Please help by spreading the word to your friends who enjoy reading a good book and be one of the firsts to pick up your copy of Gateway to DreamWorld.

Thanks for your time and I hope you enjoy the fantasy.

Brenda Estacio

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

The background is based on a background I found here...with some small adjustments on my part so it would work with the template.
Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP