When I was in elementary school, my good friend Kimberly and I were into ghost stories. Obsessed with ghost stories might be a more accurate portrayal of our fondness for all things macabre. I'm pretty sure we read EVERY book in our school's small library that dealt with the subject. During my "ghost phase," as I like to call it, I read the book Stonewords by Pam Conrad and aside from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle, the short novel became one of my favorites. Like the main character, Zoe, I wanted a best friend who was a ghost...I know, I was a little odd, and totally into my ghost phase! This book is the first I had ever read that dealt with time travel and the complexities that can develop in the plot of a novel because of time traveling characters...maybe this book is why I loved The Time Traveler's Wife so much! It had everything a girl going through a ghost phase could ask for: visits to a crumbling cemetery, an old, creaky house, and a mystery that must be solved before the last page or a main character will meet his untimely death! Loved it then, and still love it today when I found a used copy online, ordered it, and read it in one sitting. It's silly how a stroll down memory lane for me involves ghosts and graveyards, but it was a very great memory to rekindle! Maybe I should send my pal Kimberly a copy for Christmas...I just might do that for old times sake!
Read this review from Publisher's Weekly for a brief description of this moving novel. I ABSOLUTELY loved it as a girl and have had MANY students fall for it, too. If you have kids in the 10-13 year old range that like a great ghost story, this book will be their favorite!
From Publishers Weekly:
Zoe was overjoyed to find a playmate already in residence when she came to live in her grandparents' old house. The girls shared everything, toys, a playhouse, even the same name--everything except time: Zoe Louise is a visitor from another century. As Zoe grows up she begins to wonder about Zoe Louise's strange behavior. She follows her back in time to learn the terrible truth--that only she can prevent her soul mate's untimely death. For a ghost story, Conrad's latest novel is a surprisingly comforting tale of nurturing and forgiveness told in a direct, graceful style. Zoe, abandoned by her mother, adopts the life struggle of a ghost as her cause, and in winning is able to accept and love her mother just a little. This is a warmly poetic, atmospheric story shot through with bursts of fear, desperation and very real suspense.