Spooky, creepy, and a large dose of evil is what you’ll find in GHOST GIRL The story is both engaging and full of appealing themes for the MG audience. The characters are memorable and make the story shine. Here’s the official background blurb:

Zee Puckett loves ghost stories. She just never expected to be living one.  It all starts with a dark and stormy night. When the skies clear, everything is different. People are missing. There’s a creepy new principal who seems to know everyone’s darkest dreams. And Zee is seeing frightening things: large, scary dogs that talk and maybe even . . . a ghost.  

When she tells her classmates, only her best friend Elijah believes her. Worse, mean girl Nellie gives Zee a cruel nickname: Ghost Girl. But whatever the storm washed up isn’t going away. Everyone’s most selfish wishes start coming true in creepy ways. To fight for what’s right, Zee will have to embrace what makes her different and what makes her Ghost Girl. And all three of them—Zee, Elijah, and Nellie—will have to work together if they want to give their ghost story a happy ending. 

The 21 chapters are just the right length and the action unfolds with visits to the town’s ghostly cemetery and some nasty red-eyed hounds. I was glad to be reading this during the daylight hours.

Themes include bullying, body image, socio-economic status, and mental health. They don’t overwhelm the plot but provide the extra glue to make the story even more interesting. Perfect for the Halloween season or any other time of the year. A very enticing and hopeful debut. Hopeful in that I hope to see more from this author.



  1. Zee’s favorite book is Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. It’s a loving nod to one of the great scary stories of all times.
  2. Each of the characters face hurtful family problems. All are believable and readers may find some familiarity in the situations.
  3. Many MG books have school principals who are mean. Principal Scratch takes the prize though for the most feared administrator ever portrayed. The author did a great job of making you despise this man.
  4. The third person narrations stays close to Zee and it works. She’s a flawed but likable character. You won’t always agree with how she deals with her problems but will understand her thinking.
  5. The relationship between Zee and Nellie had a nice unexpected twist.


Ally Malinenko is a poet, novelist, and librarian living in Brooklyn, New York, where she pens her tales in a secret writing closet before dawn each day. Connect with Ally on her website at

Ally Malinenko is a poet, novelist, and librarian living in Brooklyn, New York, where she pens her tales in a secret writing closet before dawn each day. Connect with Ally on her website at


I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Be sure to visit all the other MMGM bloggers. Comments are always welcome below!

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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7 Responses to GHOST GIRL

  1. Andrea Mack says:

    Ooh, this sounds interesting! I don’t read many ghost stories but once in a while they’re fun. Perfect for the summer!

  2. There are going to be a lot of tweens who are going to love this spooky ghost story. There certainly is a lot of action with some really important themes middle grades students deal with. Thanks for sharing today!

  3. I don’t read a lot of ghost stories either but agree that this sounds like a good one with the added issues it tackles.

  4. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This sounds like a great read, especially for readers who enjoy spooky stories (and I’ve noticed a lot of those have become common in the MG world lately). I really like the important themes this book tackles, and I know what you mean about characters who make poor choices but for understandable reasons—I remember specifically having that feeling when I read the YA novel Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy. Thanks so much for the great review!

  5. Jenni says:

    I like how it has nods to Frankestein, especially since a lot of kids read that later on. I’m not one for ghost stories usually, but this sounds a bit different. And the mean principal is kind of a stereotype, so I like that he’s handled well!
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Frankenstein is a definite pull for me. But, I’m not too into spooky stories, even as a kid. But I know there are kids who eat this stuff up!

  7. Yeah, I don’t do ghost stories unless I really have to. This sounds pretty intense, and I’m sure it will do well with middle-graders. They eat that stuff up. Thanks for telling me about it. I enjoyed reading your review. The principal sounds like a great character.

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