The best middle grade and young adult ghost stories with an important message from beyond

A.A. Blair Author Of Mystic of the Midway
By A.A. Blair

The Books I Picked & Why

The Doll's Eye

By Marina Cohen

Book cover of The Doll's Eye

Why this book?

Hadley was starting her new life, even if it was against her will. Moving to her new/old house bothered by a neighbor fascinated by bugs and a step-father she loathed, Hadley wished for things to be as they used to be: when she didn’t have to share her mother. But the more she resists her new life, the more she becomes immersed in the house’s mysterious past. 

The Doll’s Eye is a creepy mystery that builds towards an unexpected outcome, reminding us that divorce is hard, but running away from our problems can be even more perilous.

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The Night Gardener

By Jonathan Auxier

Book cover of The Night Gardener

Why this book?

The Night Gardiner is a truly creepy tale of courage and strength. Set in the Victorian era, Kip and Molly become orphaned as they seek refuge from their famine struck home in Ireland. Molly finds work at the Windsor Estate which is haunted by a tragic spirit and creepy tree that controls the estate’s inhabitants. 

Molly and Kip inspire as they uncover the mystery of the tree and persevere. The story celebrates the strength of the two orphaned children, the sacrifices they have made and their plight to build a new life in a new country. Their bond overcomes the most sinister of spirits, highlighting the importance of family.

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Bad Girls Don't Die

By Katie Alender

Book cover of Bad Girls Don't Die

Why this book?

Bullies beware! Bad Girls Don’t Die features a vengeful poltergeist that possesses the little sister of protagonist Alexis Warren.

Alexis is a lonely misfit teenager on the fringes of her high-school social scene. Her home life isn’t much better as her mother’s desire for corporate success leads to regular dinner table conflict. The sisters find comfort in each other, but that’s when Alexis notices a change in her sibling Kasey. Subtle at first, Kasey’s transformation into a malicious psychopath sends Alexis into an investigation that reveals a small-town secret of a fatal bullying incident. 

Bad Girl’s Don’t Die is a story of sisterly bonds, secret pasts, and the sacrifices that are sometimes made to protect loved ones.

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Ghost Boys

By Jewell Parker Rhodes

Book cover of Ghost Boys

Why this book?

Ghost Boys is the tragic tale of seventh-grader Jerome Rogers. Set in inner-city Chicago, Jerome Rogers is a good student doing his best to navigate his adolescence. As a young black man Jerome is warned by his parents to avoid negative influences.

But in a moment of innocence, Jerome is shot and killed by a police officer, mistaking Jerome’s toy pistol as the genuine article. The story is all too familiar. As a ghost, Jerome finds brotherhood amongst a collection of specters who have suffered a similar fate. Historical figure Emmet Till guides Jerome through his anger and grief as he comes to terms with his fate. 

Ghost Boys is an important novel to help raise awareness of injustice, tragedy, and its impacts on the victim’s families and their communities. 

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City of Ghosts

By Victoria Schwab

Book cover of City of Ghosts

Why this book?

Cassidy Blake is a ghost whisperer. She helps troubled spirits find eternal peace. While on vacation in Edinburgh, Scotland, the City of Ghosts, Cassidy encounters the Raven in Red, whose own tragic tale has turned her into a Ghost collector. Her power is undeniable and Cassidy is pulled through the veil and into the in-between. Now a ghost herself, Cassidy needs the help of a rival Ghost Whisperer, Lara. They join forces to save Cassidy and return her to the land of the living, ending the Raven in Red’s reign of terror. 

City of Ghosts reminds readers of the importance to ask for help and how personal tragedy can forever affect the lives of those impacted. 

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