Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/01/2019 Gr 5–8—Middle schooler Cordelia Liu is upset about moving away from her friends in California because her dad has lost his job. Her dad's new job is in New Hampshire, and her parents try hard to help Cordelia settle into their new home. But Cordelia is not having it—she hates the small town, and she misses her two best friends. Left with no choice, Cordelia begrudgingly starts Shadow Middle School, which was once owned by reclusive architect Elijah Z. Shadow, who died mysteriously in a house fire in 1929. Almost immediately, the ghost sightings begin for Cordelia. She sees different people throughout the school dressed in various old-fashioned clothing, which at first she chalks up to a quirky sense of style. When she tries to convince her parents that she's seeing ghosts at the school, they laugh it off, believing it's another tactic to get them to move back to California. She is relieved to make friends with classmate Benji, who also reveals he can see the spectral beings. Though Agnes can't see the ghosts, she joins their mission to set the specters free. If these souls are given their "brightkey," or what they are missing from their earthly days, they will finally find peace. It is only after they are visited by a tantrum-throwing poltergeist in the cafeteria that they realize this is dangerous work. The preteens' friendship is realistic and appealing. Readers will applaud Cordelia's bravery and the trio's ingenuity. The suspense is engaging and consistent throughout, and there's a perfect mix of scares and mystery that willl entice even the most fainthearted of readers. VERDICT This delightful blend of friendship, suspense, and spectral sightings belongs on most shelves.—Julie Shatterly, W. A. Bess Elementary School, Gastonia, NC - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 06/01/2019 Eleven-year-old Cordelia Liu was not on board with her family’s move to New Hampshire, even before she saw the ghosts in the Elijah Z. Shadow Middle School. But once she bonds with a ghost child and learns about the other spirits trapped and tormented there, she can’t ignore their plight. Along with Benji, the only other student who sees the ghosts, and Agnes, a bright girl and loyal friend, Cordelia explores the “creepy old mansion” that houses their school, trying to discover what’s happening there after nightfall. How can they help the unhappy ghosts and foil the malevolent ones? While an enormous mansion might not be the most practical building for a middle school, it serves as a classic setting for a mystery story rooted in the past. The author of the Thickety series and Nightbooks (2018), White opens the Shadow School trilogy with a well-paced thriller of a new-kid-at-school narrative. Tension builds to a crescendo when an overnight rescue attempt goes awry, and the ending promises more adventures to come for Cordelia and her friends. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.