Newbound, Andrew. Ghoul Strike.
This cover goes to prove that boys WILL read books with girls as the main characters, as long as there is enough action, an intriguing cover, and ... ghost drool. Sigh.
Alannah has a ghost busting business, but it's not the paltry 50 pound fee she charges to get rid of the ghosts that earns the big bucks-- it's selling the treasures that she gets from the ghosts! Most ghosts are bound to earth by some valuable worldly good, so Alannah dispatches the ghosts and keeps the treasures! She runs into problems at Pittingham Manor with her sidekick Wortley when they meet up with the otherworldly Office Flhi who is dealing with a ghoul invasion. Alannah is a bit put out by Flhi's interference because she is trying to find her parents and the ghouls are an unwanted wrinkle, and Flhi is irritated that Alannah doesn't understand the seriousness of the threat. The two find a common enemy in Horrad, who knows more about Alannah's parents than he will admit AND is definitely working with the ghouls. While the two are able to thwart the imminent demise of the earth, the next threat is just around the corner.
Strengths: There are not enough monster books out there that are not overly cartoony. This is a loto f great action and adventure, and my students will be pleased. Not a surprise that Newbound is British. The Brits seem to write ghosts and horror so much better than authors in the US! (Gauntlet flinging? Why, no!)
Weaknesses: While action is good, the first major ghoul fight went on four about 8 chapters. I wanted a bit more background, but that translates into "nothing happening" to my students.
LINDA GERBER IS MADE OF AWESOME!!!
The 7th graders are writing letters to authors, and about eight girls asked me for Linda Gerber's address. Since Linda was my first author interview, has spoken at my school several times and drove me to a cupcake party in Cleveland (um) two years ago, I had (um) her phone number still in my phone. Not that that is creepy and stalkerish at all!
So I told the students "Let me text her and ask!" They were suitably impressed.
I forgot that unless someone has your number in the phone, they have no idea what crazed lunatic is asking for your address! I texted her back with my name, and she very kindly provided a destination for their letters AND told me I could tell the students that she always replies to me. Hee, hee, hee.
So, not only are Linda's books awesome, she is, too. My students will be thrilled. Go buy her books NOW!