Ghost Club: The New Kid

ghost-club-new-kidDeborah Abela (author)

Random House, Australia: March 2012; 234pp

ISBN: 9781742750804

Genres: adventure, fantasy, gothic

Issues: confidence, gifted, identity

The Ghost Club is the world's oldest association for psychical research. Angeline and Edgar are the Club's youngest ghost-catchers so when Dylan is inducted, it makes sense that the children work together. But despite his aptitude and heritage, Dylan really isn't sure that he wants to be a ghost-catcher.

Nor does he really understand why Angeline and Edgar are so enthusiastic about getting up close and personal with ghouls, ghosts and poltergeists. What makes it worse is that everybody seems to assume every comment he makes has a deeper, insightful meaning, until he finds himself regarded as one of the greatest potential ghost-hunters the club has ever had. What if someone finds out that he's just plain terrified and doesn't have any idea what he's doing? Especially if that someone is Angeline, who seems to Dylan to be the epitomy of brave, cool and intelligent.

The first in what is obviously going to be a rollicking series of thrilling tales of encounters of the grim and ghostly variety, Ghost Club: The New Kid is full of cool pseudo-scientific gadgets, close encounters of the chilling kind and a cast of eccentric characters to delight the reader. The highly-visual, action-packed narrative will keep young readers enthralled as will the humorous edge to the ghostly encounters. In Angeline, Edgar and Dylan, the author introduces the reader to both the joys and the difficulties of being gifted. Angeline is skilled and confident in ghost-hunter work but ask her to carry on an ordinary conversation with someone from her class and she freezes with shyness, for example. The Ghost Club appreciates and celebrates their members' abilities and eccentricities in ways that the 'real' world never will. Dylan is the kind of gifted child who at first wishes he could surgically remove his special skills in order to sink back into 'normality'. Edgar, more balanced, is a total brainiac who talks his own jargon-filled language but also plays soccer on the weekend. Giftedness comes in all shapes and forms and the Ghost Club welcomes them all – even the spectral kind.

A great beginning to what promises to be a highly entertaining series.