Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Night Tourist

The Night Tourist

Katherine Marsh
For ages 12 and up
Hyperion Book CH, 2008   ISBN: 978-1423106906

Jack lives in New Haven with his father who is a professor at Yale University. Jack's mother died a few years ago, and both he and his father are still struggling with her loss. One day Jack accidentally gets hit by a car and some rather strange things happen soon after this event. For one thing, he sees a man in their apartment one night who is sitting on the sofa reading something. When Jack accosts the man, the stranger jumps out of the window. Jack fully expects to see the man dead in the courtyard below but he has disappeared.

Then, because Jack seems "jumpy," Jack's father sends his son to see a doctor in New York City. Jack sees the doctor – who does not really do or say much – and then he makes his way to the train station to get the train back to New Haven. While he is waiting for the train, he joins a train station tour group, and as he is following the guide around he meets a girl who calls herself Euri. Euri offers to show Jack the lesser known sites in the station, and he agrees to go with her.

What Jack discovers is that there is an underworld beneath New York City where the ghosts of the city's dead people live. Every night the ghosts pour out of several fountains around the city and they "haunt" their loved ones, go to plays, have a ghostly drink in a bar, and more. Jack's mother died in New York City and he decides to try to find her. With Euri to help him, he begins a journey that is exciting, frightening, and at times very dangerous.

In this most unusual novel, Katherine Marsh explores the idea that there might be some dead people who want to be alive again. What would happen if such a thing were to happen? What would the consequences be if a person were to leave the world of the dead and become alive once more?

With great skill Katherine Marsh weaves together a story that is entertaining, thought provoking, and at times very moving.