A Properly Unhaunted Place by William Alexander (review)
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Reviewed by
Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor
Alexander, William A Properly Unhaunted Place; illus. by Kelly Murphy. McElderry, 2017[192p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-9527-1 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-6917-3 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4–6

Eleven-year-old Rosa Díaz is surprised when her mother—one of the most talented ghost appeasers around—moves them to Ingot, the world’s only unhaunted town. Meanwhile, Jasper knows that ghosts flock the rest of the world, but he’s happy with his ghostless existence in Ingot. Things change, though, when an angry, otherworldly creature stampedes its way through Jasper’s parents’ renaissance fair; Rosa is thrilled to put the skills she has learned from her mother (whose grief over her husband’s death has driven her to give up appeasing and therefore led her to Ingot) to the test, while Jasper is both stoked and terrified to come along from the ride. The monstrous spirit makes its appearance early, setting the pace into high gear almost immediately; Rosa is feisty as well as totally competent, and her no-nonsense ways match the plot’s breakneck speed. Jasper is bland but still likable as the bewildered sidekick whose curiosity trumps his practicality. The story behind the haunting is intriguing, and it’s skillfully revealed in bits and pieces, but it never overshadows Rosa’s much more interesting spirit hunting. Kids who prefer Ghost-busters to Goosebumps will find this right up their alley.

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