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Becky's tightly knit family is astonished when they discover that Becky's mother had a twin sister who has died, and when an orphaned cousin, Will, comes to live with the family, his increasingly withdrawn nature reveals a disturbing secret. Reprint.
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Grade 5-8-- Becky is astonished to learn, accidentally, that her mother had a twin sister. But this dark secret pales when she learns that Will, the woman's now-orphaned son, is coming to live with her family, perhaps permanently. When he arrives, he and his cousin have a long way to go to fulfill Becky's mother's favorite saying, "Blood is thicker than water." Their slowly developing relationship is complicated, though perhaps strengthened, by the presence of a ghostly spirit that pursues Will relentlessly. He is haunted by sounds of weeping and mysterious happenings, and finally by a voice pleading insistently, "Bury me." It turns out that the ghost is that of a young boy killed long ago in a local mining accident. All of this makes for a fairly chilling tale. The story is told in first person, with chapters alternating between Becky and Will. The scary effects are bound up with how the yo people relate to one another as they move from hostility to caring. Both are well-realized characters. The parents are mostly bewildered by what is going on and serve only as part of the backdrop for the action. Will's mother remains a shadowy figure. There are some interesting minor characters in the form of Will and Becky's school friends and foes. The book is reminiscent of David Wiseman's Jeremy Visick (Houghton, 1981). Overall, Farmer's story will capture and hold the interest of readers who are looking for a ghost story with some meat on its bones. However, this is really Becky and Will's book; it's about becoming a family against great odds. --Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In a subtle exploration of loss, grief, and family ties, Farmer (Charlotte Sometimes, 1969, etc.) incorporates an uneasy ghost yearning for decent burial into an orphaned boy's difficulties adapting to a new home. Becky learns of her mother's twin sister only as Megan is dying of an overdose, leaving a son, Will, Becky's age--a slim, dark boy who has lived in foster care since being abused by one of Megan's boyfriends, and who's never known a father. After coming from London to Becky's family in Derbyshire, Will hears urgent pleas in the night: ``Help me!'' The cries are audible to no one else, though the whole family is troubled by other manifestations--mysterious vandalism, unlocked doors, a Christmas tree that withers overnight. In alternating narratives, Will and Becky reveal a mutual dislike gradually transformed into familial amity seasoned with comfortable bickering; meanwhile, they deduce that the ghost was a laborer- -like Will a neglected child--trapped in a nearby mine. Driven by his own troubled past and the ghost's demands, blamed for his moody unpredictability as well as the ghost's misdeeds, Will decides on a desperately perilous way to free them both. Deftly individualizing even her minor players, Farmer crafts the family dynamics--the competitive twins, the newly acquainted cousins, the contrasting relationships between parents and children--with leisurely care, building toward a splendidly dramatic denouement. Unusually rich and involving. (Fiction. 10-15) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Candlewick, 1995. Condition: New. Robert Gantt Steele (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M1564025195