A Stir of Bones

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9780670035519: A Stir of Bones

Fourteen-year-old Susan Backstrom seems to have a charmed life-she's smart and beautiful, the only child of wealthy, attentive parents. But there are secrets inside her expensive house that Susan would never tell. One day, at the library, she overhears their housekeeper's son talking with some friends about sneaking into a nearby abandoned house. Much to her own surprise, Susan very much wants to join them-and soon she's part of the best secret of all. The house has a resident teenage ghost. More important than that, the house itself is a living, supernatural thing, able to serve as a magic conductor. With the help of five new friends-three humans, one ghost, and House, Susan has what she needs to transform her life, if she dares. A Stir of Bones is the stand-alone prequel to acclaimed fantasist Nina Hoffman's award-winning adult novels A Red Heart of Memories and Past the Size of Dreaming. It is every bit as remarkable, warm, and heartwrenching.

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About the Author:

Nina Kiriki Hoffman (ofearna.us/books/hoffman.html) has written novels, juvenile and media tie-in books, short story collections, and more than two hundred short stories. Her works have been finalists for the Nebula, World Fantasy, Mythopoeic, Sturgeon, and Endeavour awards. Her first novel, The Thread That Binds the Bones, won a Stoker Award. Nina's YA novel Spirits that Walk in Shadow and her science fiction novel Catalyst were published in 2006.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 7 Up-Susan Backstrom, the protagonist of this haunting and harrowing novel, appears to have everything. In reality, she is a prisoner of her abusive father, who beats his wife whenever he disapproves of his daughter's behavior. In a rare moment of freedom at the library, Susan overhears a group of kids talking about entering a haunted house and convinces them to let her go with them. With these new friends, she discovers that the house has a life of its own. Susan forms a close bond with the house and with Nathan, the ghost of a boy who committed suicide in it. When her father's menacing becomes too much, she decides to kill herself to be with Nathan and the house forever, and it is up to her friends to stop her and the house to show her how to use her newfound powers, derived from a piece of Nathan's bone, to heal rather than hurt. In this prequel to Hoffman's adult novels A Red Heart of Memories (1999) and Past the Size of Dreaming (2001, both Ace), the author creates an unusual world. As the story is told through Susan's eyes, everything, even the more fantastical events, seems matter-of-fact and dispassionate, which draws readers in and intensifies the horror. However, while some readers may find it satisfying that Susan has found a way to help her mother, others are likely to question her ability to protect herself from her father and worry that she has no adult to turn to for help.
Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Hoffman, Nina Kiriki
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