Alexandra ‘Alibi’ Vernon is the eleven-year-old daughter of a psychic medium whose behavior is repeatedly influenced by kids from the Other Side. From building sub sandwiches in her sleep to sneaking into a stranger’s attic, Alibi has her innocence challenged on a regular basis. Since her mother is fairly new at medium work, she only schedules two readings a week. However, this particular week, she accidentally schedules five readings, five days in a row. During this time, each child from the Other Side has a mysterious clue for Alibi to unravel, and she begins to notice each clue is connected in some way with the other readings.
With a bit of ghostly charade playing, lots of trouble dodging, and the help of her deceased relatives: Grandpa Edgar and Cousin Kyle, along with her living but scaredy-cat best friend, Daisy, Alibi is able to solve the mystery and help all five grieving parents simultaneously. (author’s synopsis)
Alibi, also called Ali, receives odd messages on a daily basis. Once she realizes her prankster cousin Kyle, who is dead, is not behind all of the “messages” Ali puts them together, in a notebook, trying to decipher their meaning. At the end of each chapter, the author recounts each day’s messages, making it easy for the reader to keep up and remember which ghost did what. Alibis’s Grandpa Edgar tries to help by giving her non-verbal clues though he can speak to Ali. I think he wants her to figure this out on her own. She does just that with the help of her best friend Daisy.
This is a rather short, 22 chapter, 98-page book. The mystery is well constructed, leaving the conclusion difficult to guess until the second to last chapter. How Ali and Daisy get to the end is exciting, imaginative, and well written. Unless you know, which you now do, that this is the author’s first book, the writing will not give it away. The one thing I did not like was the listing of each clue at the end of every chapter. I found it repetitively annoying and felt the author did not think I was capable of keeping up with her and the details of each chapter. A first time author mistake of not trusting the reader.
The characters are distinctive and easy to cheer on. The only exception was dad. He seems to know what his wife does for a living; he seems to know the ghosts these clients call on affect his daughter, yet both Ali and mom keep as much from him as possible. He had the family move into the current creepy house because he wants to fix it up and then flip it, but Mom and Ali do the work. Dad cannot feel any of the ghost’s presence, including the two relatives Grandpa Edgar and cousin Kyle. His character is more like a family neer-do-well, with little real input into the story. The story would have lost nothing had mom been a single parent.
Alibi’s Ghost is an entertaining story, maybe more for girls than boys because all the characters that drive the story are girls. Anyone who likes a good mystery will like this. The ghosts will not keep anyone up at night or cause nightmares. Scaredy-cat Daisy could read this and not freak out. I think she would even enjoy the story.
The only other thing I was not happy with, and it could just be a pet peeve of mine, but the title is unnecessarily long. Simply Alibi’s Ghosts works great. Adding The Larger-than-Life, Small World of a Medium’s Daughter is a mouth full. Despite my dislikes, Alibi’s Ghost . . . is a good story that middle grade kids will enjoy. I think even young teens would be entertained as well. L. S. Hullinger is a promising new author.
To comment, please scroll to the top and click under the date.
Author: L. S. Hullinger Self-published Release Date: December 13, 2011 ISBN: 978-0-9851-8623-4 Number of Pages: 98 Ages: 8 to 12