Thursday, September 08, 2022

The Girl in White

Currie, Lindsay. The Girl in White
September 6th 2022 by Sourcebooks Young Readers
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus
Mallory isn't thrilled that her parents have moved from Chicago to Eastport, Massachussetts. It's not that she misses her friends, since she has made new ones at her arts school, Harbor Point; it's that her parents now run a horror themed restaurant called The Hill. Eastport prides itself on spooky happenings, like the casket that purportedly came through the wall of the restaurant and the legend of Sweet Molly, whose sea faring brother was killed in a storm, causing her to vow revenge on the town. Since it's October, the town in gearing up for the anniversary of Liam's fateful voyage, and Mallory wants nothing to do with the planning. It all seems kind of... silly. That is, until she has an very odd experience on the beach. She seems a ghostly figure that fits the description of Molly's ghost, and also sees a woman from town whose eyes are completely white. When she wakes up surrounded by sand, she has no memory of digging on the beach, but she has pictures on her phone that clearly show the word "stop". When she runs into classmate and neighbor Joshua, to whom she's never really talked before, he admits to watching her around town because he has been having the same weird dreams that she's been having. He can see Sweet Molly as well. Mallory brings in her friend Emmie to the conversation, since Emmie tried to debunk a local legend about a dead body in the foundation of the local hotel. Emmie feels that the spirit is targeting Joshua and Mallory because they are both from out of town; Joshua has moved to the area with his divorced mother, who works with the city government on the festival. When classmate Brie, who studies drama, wins the part of Molly in the local parade, they bring her in as well. Why is Molly so agitated? As the festival nears, the weather seems out of kilter, and the attacks increase in frequency and intensity. The kids have a theory as to why Molly is upset, but will they be able to work out the logistics of righting the historical wrongs against her and her brother Liam? When Joshua is forced into the role of Liam and is set to ride on a boat in the harbor, Mallory knows that they need to take action to avert a catastrophe. The town might need the legend to support their tourism, but is there a way that it can be reframed to appease Molly's spirit?
Strengths: Writing a good story about a killer ghost is hard, but Currie does a particularly clever thing with The Girl in White. It's kind of like a Suzanne Nelson Wish Novel (complete with family restaurant and cute classmate Joshua), but there's also this incredibly scary ghost with dead eyes who shows up to terrorize her, ala the Raven in Red from Schwab's City of Ghosts. Add a dash of local lore and a mystery to solve, and this is definitely a book that many different readers will enjoy. There were a lot of components of the plot line that worked well. Mallory's parents are deeply invested in their restaurant, but are concerned about her as well. Mallory's unease with the celebration is fully realized when she connects how the town treats Molly's life with the unhappiness the ghost must feel. The weather is used to good creepy effects, and I jumped several times when Molly appeared! Mallory and her friends worked well together, although there were a few bumps; the fact that the kids were able to apologize to each other and move on was great. Everything was woven together particularly well, which is not something I usually notice. What I did notice was that I really liked Mallory, and felt that she had some cause for her irritation with her parents. The fact that she was able to be positive about her town and effect some change for the better even though she would rather be somewhere else really endeared her to me. This book will definitely never make it back to the shelves!
Weaknesses: I wish the ghost hadn't been named Molly Flanders McMulligan Marshall, on top of the book having a ditty about her losing her brother, because the combination somehow got the song Molly Malone stuck in my head all day. 
What I really think: Ghost stories for middle school readers really need to have murderous ghosts. They have to occasionally attack, and it helps a lot of they have dead eyes and are accompanied by cold and stormy weather. I can't wait to see what creepy tale Currie writes next!
 Ms. Yingling


  1. This sounds a fun story! Definitely for my TBR. Thanks for the review

  2. Just finished this one as well. Lovely review.