Saturday, February 26, 2011

Breathe: A Ghost Story

McNish, C. (2006). Breathe: A Ghost Story. London, England: Orion Publishing Group Ltd.

Plot Summary:
Jack and his mom moved into an old house after the recent loss of his dad. This house was supposed to be a happy change, one that would breathe new life into their little family. What his mom didn't know was that the house was already occupied by five ghosts, one woman and four children. Jack had always been able to sense strange things, but after his father's death, he seemed to have a connection to people who had died. He was immediately aware of ghosts in the house, eventually being able to see them. He meets the ghost mother, a woman whose own daughter died in the house and has been longing to be a mother again. But, when Jack refuses to treat her as a mother, she forces him to by possessing his own mother. This feat isn't easy and the ghost mother must feed off of the souls of the ghost children in the house to do so. This is too much for Jack and his frequent asthma attacks to bear, will he be her next victim?

This was a haunting story. The spookiness of it would definitely appeal to young people. I ripped through it eager to discover what would come of Jack and his mother. The story was imaginative, the author providing interesting descriptions of "the other side" and "the Nightmare Passage." The author also weaves in the history of the ghost mother and her life with her daughter in the 19th century, who suffered from Scarlatina.

Horror, Fantasy

Reading Level:
Ages 9 - 12

Similar Books:

single-parent, loss, death, asthma, ghosts

Rhode Island Teen Book Award

Character Names/Descriptions:
Jack: recently lost his dad, moved with his mom to old farmhouse, asthmatic, can see and speak to ghosts
Sarah: Jack's mom, recently widowed, becomes possessed by the Ghost Mother
Ghost Mother: died in the house in the 19th century, mother to Isabella who died of Scarlatina, possesses Sarah, wants to be mother to Jack, feeds off of the souls of the ghost children who live in the house

Jack has a special gift of being able to sense the dead, but this gift becomes a nightmare as he and his mother move into an old farmhouse along with five ghosts. Jack and his mother must fight to escape the evil Ghost Mother who is desperate to be a mother once again.

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