Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I met this author last weekend at the West Texas Book & Music Festival in Abilene, TX. She had won a publishing package from WordWright for this book.

I read the book that evening at the Abilene KOA. As it is just 76 pages written for young adults, it took me less than forty minutes.

I LOVE this story! Arthur has my dream job. He researches the history of ghost towns. One summer, he takes his mother, his 11-year-old daughter Josie, and his 7-year-old son Ron to live in the abandoned iron-smelting town of Whitner, Alabama, while he studies the town’s sudden, unexplained demise.

It isn’t long before Josie finds out they are not alone among the derelict buildings. We know right away that Josie’s new friend Lucy is a ghost, but it will be several more days before Josie figures that out.

GHOSTS OF WHITNER is, in many ways, a mini version of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Author J.A LeVitt has done a wonderful job of weaving a message of friendship, forgiveness, and family into a story that is surprisingly suspenseful and scary. In spite of the simple language she uses, detailed images pop right into the mind. The ending left me quite satisfied, unlike so many other young adult titles in this genre (like the Goosebumps books) which discredit their own plots by attributing the ghostly events to dreams, pranks, or other convenient coincidences.

Yes, there is murder behind the downfall of Whitner. The kids witness death there, too, and approach a murderer in an attempt to right some very old wrongs. If that makes you nervous, treat yourself to this fun little book before you pass it on to your 9-year-old!

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