Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Jill Baguchinsky
For ages 12 and up
Penguin, 2012   ISBN: 978-0525425847

Violet has always been able to see ghosts. For as long as she can remember, she has been able to see, hear, and communicate with the ghosts, which should not surprise anyone really because Violet’s mother had the same ability. Before Violet’s mother, Robin, died in an accident in a haunted house, Robin and her husband were paranormal investigators, and they went around recording and studying hauntings. Violet’s mother also did her best to help ghosts resolve their problems so that they could finally find peace.

After Robin’s death, Violet’s father stopped being a paranormal investigator and he trained to become a mortician instead. Now that he has finished his training and has set up his own business, Violet, who had to live with her aunt for a time, is living with her father once more in a small apartment above her father’s funeral home business.

Not surprisingly, Violet sometimes meets ghosts in her father’s funeral home, and she gently but firmly helps them to move on to wherever they are supposed to go. Some of the ghosts go on to wherever ghosts go, while others prefer to hang out in the world of the living for a while.

Violet is never really afraid of the ghosts because her mother always told her that ghosts could not hurt her. In fact, she even has a poltergeist who is a kind of family pet living in her apartment. One thing that does frighten her is starting in a new school, and sure enough on her first day in her new high school, Violet finds out that she has to take a gym class. Violet hates gym with a passion. When she goes into the girl’s locker room she hates gym even more because some kind of paranormal being is in there. Something evil and terrifying has settled in the locker room and it scares Violet silly.

Violet may do everything in her power to get out of gym, but when it comes to ghosts, she cannot help wanting to find out what is going on. With her new friend Tim, Violet tries to figure out what the entity in the locker room is and what it wants. She may not be a pro like her mother was, but surely Violet can use her skills to find out how to rid the school of the dark being that is residing there.

In this deliciously clever, often amusing, and sometimes rather creepy book, the author takes us on a unique journey into the life and adventures of a girl who can see dead people. It is fascinating to see how Violet makes important discoveries about the dead and how, in the process, she discovers things about her own life story.