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Ophie's Ghosts

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The New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation makes her middle grade debut with a sweeping tale of the ghosts of our past that won't stay buried, starring an unforgettable girl named Ophie. Ophelia Harrison used to live in a small house in the Georgia countryside. But that was before the night in November 1922, and the cruel act that took her home and her father fro The New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation makes her middle grade debut with a sweeping tale of the ghosts of our past that won't stay buried, starring an unforgettable girl named Ophie. Ophelia Harrison used to live in a small house in the Georgia countryside. But that was before the night in November 1922, and the cruel act that took her home and her father from her. Which was the same night that Ophie learned she can see ghosts. Now Ophie and her mother are living in Pittsburgh with relatives they barely know. In the hopes of earning enough money to get their own place, Mama has gotten Ophie a job as a maid in the same old manor house where she works. Daffodil Manor, like the wealthy Caruthers family who owns it, is haunted by memories and prejudices of the past--and, as Ophie discovers, ghosts as well. Ghosts who have their own loves and hatreds and desires, ghosts who have wronged others and ghosts who have themselves been wronged. And as Ophie forms a friendship with one spirit whose life ended suddenly and unjustly, she wonders if she might be able to help--even as she comes to realize that Daffodil Manor may hold more secrets than she bargained for.


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The New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation makes her middle grade debut with a sweeping tale of the ghosts of our past that won't stay buried, starring an unforgettable girl named Ophie. Ophelia Harrison used to live in a small house in the Georgia countryside. But that was before the night in November 1922, and the cruel act that took her home and her father fro The New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation makes her middle grade debut with a sweeping tale of the ghosts of our past that won't stay buried, starring an unforgettable girl named Ophie. Ophelia Harrison used to live in a small house in the Georgia countryside. But that was before the night in November 1922, and the cruel act that took her home and her father from her. Which was the same night that Ophie learned she can see ghosts. Now Ophie and her mother are living in Pittsburgh with relatives they barely know. In the hopes of earning enough money to get their own place, Mama has gotten Ophie a job as a maid in the same old manor house where she works. Daffodil Manor, like the wealthy Caruthers family who owns it, is haunted by memories and prejudices of the past--and, as Ophie discovers, ghosts as well. Ghosts who have their own loves and hatreds and desires, ghosts who have wronged others and ghosts who have themselves been wronged. And as Ophie forms a friendship with one spirit whose life ended suddenly and unjustly, she wonders if she might be able to help--even as she comes to realize that Daffodil Manor may hold more secrets than she bargained for.

30 review for Ophie's Ghosts

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erykah Lynn

    How do you get a one star rating for a book not even written. Not on my watch!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie DeMoss

    In Georgia, 1922, twelve-year-old Ophie is suddenly awakened by her father, who tells her to get her mother and hide. Although questioning, she obeys. Soon evil men descend on their home. They had already killed her father, and now they burn Ophie’s home to the ground. That was the night Ophie learned she could see ghosts. With no justice for her father and nowhere to live, Ophie and her mother take the train to Pittsburgh to live with Aunt Rose. Ophie soon begins working at Daffodil Manor as a m In Georgia, 1922, twelve-year-old Ophie is suddenly awakened by her father, who tells her to get her mother and hide. Although questioning, she obeys. Soon evil men descend on their home. They had already killed her father, and now they burn Ophie’s home to the ground. That was the night Ophie learned she could see ghosts. With no justice for her father and nowhere to live, Ophie and her mother take the train to Pittsburgh to live with Aunt Rose. Ophie soon begins working at Daffodil Manor as a maid to the old, biased, and angry Mrs. Caruthers. But the ghosts of the manor know that Ophie can see them, and most of them want to be seen. Ophie begins to grow strong as she adapts to her job and to her abilities. When she starts to investigate a mystery in the old house, she questions the ones who would know the most–the ghosts. This is a well written and important book because it teaches middle grade readers about the horrors and history of racism. Through the savage murder of Ophie’s father, the experiences of some of the ghosts, and the cruel privilege of Mrs. Caruthers, America’s tainted past is explained. Ophie herself is a force of hope as she helps the ghosts move on to the afterlife and shows the truth to those who are still living. Every character, ghost and living, is well developed and has a story to tell. The point of view is mostly Ophie’s, but the old house, Daffodil Manor, also has a voice, as does the City of Pittsburgh. Aunt Rose serves as a helpful guide to the spirit world in a difficult time. This is a beautiful blend of historical fiction and magical realism that is both awakening and intriguing. Highly recommend. Four and a half stars, rounded up to five on sites that do not have a half-star option. I received a free copy of this book for review in Historical Novels Review Magazine. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own. Ophie’s Ghosts will be released on May 18, 2021.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jenna (Falling Letters)

    Dec 12 2020: Removing my rating now that there are more legitimate ones. Apr 27 2020: I never rate books without reading them but I want to balance out the two one-star reviews...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Canaves

    I absolutely adored this upcoming historical mystery by the author of Dread Nation. Ophelia Harrison’s life abruptly changes when her father is murdered and her and her mother flee Georgia to Pittsburgh–thanks to what Ophie has yet to realize is her ability to see ghosts. No longer attending school, the young Ophie is put to work as a maid in a wealthy white family’s home where her mother is also working, trying to save enough money to move out of a shared family home where they are not welcomed I absolutely adored this upcoming historical mystery by the author of Dread Nation. Ophelia Harrison’s life abruptly changes when her father is murdered and her and her mother flee Georgia to Pittsburgh–thanks to what Ophie has yet to realize is her ability to see ghosts. No longer attending school, the young Ophie is put to work as a maid in a wealthy white family’s home where her mother is also working, trying to save enough money to move out of a shared family home where they are not welcomed by most. And so Ophie, trying to make sense of the world around her in 1922 and her seeing ghosts (which a relative is trying to guide her through), discovers that the “help” she was getting in her new job is not from a living woman. And she’s no longer living because she was murdered. This sets Ophie off to figure out who would have done such a thing and why. Ophie is one of those child characters in literature that I immediately fiercely loved, rooted for, and enjoyed watching every moment of her navigating her way through life. The opening chapter is so well written that as soon as I finished it I turned back to the beginning to read it again, as to not miss a single moment or feeling. If you like books that grab you with their voice immediately, and properly sink you into a place and time, this is a must-read. It’s already at the top of my 2021 best books. And if you’re doing Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, here’s your middle grade mystery read. --from Book Riot's Unusual Suspects newsletter: https://link.bookriot.com/view/56a820...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Belles Middle Grade Library

    Wow. This book was on another level. It hit so many emotions for me. Its one of those books that has a paranormal mystery that is thrilling & so enjoyable w/that part. & at the same time has these hard hitting important subject matters that move you on another level emotionally. This is symbolic in many ways, because America’s own ghosts of the past have much to say, & we should NEVER forget & always listen & learn-especially when many of these same horrific things are going on still today. This Wow. This book was on another level. It hit so many emotions for me. Its one of those books that has a paranormal mystery that is thrilling & so enjoyable w/that part. & at the same time has these hard hitting important subject matters that move you on another level emotionally. This is symbolic in many ways, because America’s own ghosts of the past have much to say, & we should NEVER forget & always listen & learn-especially when many of these same horrific things are going on still today. This book is also an excellent way to teach middle graders the important & horrific details of the past, in a way they will absorb it, & learn from it. Because while this is a work of fiction, the racism depicted in these pages was very real-IS very real. My heart broke over & over again. Not just for lovely Ophie, but for all of the people back then that experienced these horrific things-not being able to shop at the same places, not making eye contact, always being respectful no matter what, never get angry, never go out alone, & all the other spoken & unspoken rules from white people against them. Otherwise they could at the very least get a verbal lashing, but more often than not it was physical-horrific beatings, torture, or murder-or all 3. My heart breaks for all the suffering still happening to people in 2021. As for the fictional parts of the story-just as amazingly told. I loved the time/setting! Especially since I now live about an hour away from Pittsburgh, I drank up all the knowledge that the author gave of the city at that time-I love history anyway, so this was even more special being so close. The mystery aspect was phenomenal. I had no idea what was going to happen, whodunnit, or anything. The author sprinkled hints/clues throughout the books at perfect times. It flowed so well! All the characters are superb-living & not! Ophie has my heart. So much on that girls shoulders at such a young age. She handled herself so well. She made me so proud time & time again. She doesn’t understand the injustice not only from rich white people(or white people in general), but also the injustice in her own family when they live w/her aunt. She continues to be the better person though, & I don’t know if I could have. Each character is different & identifiable w/their own story. They each add something important to the story. When we meet Colin, my heart broke again. Kids were not even exempt from such cruelty. I found Clara & her story so engrossing. She was an amazing character & I loved her dialogue throughout. The twists at the end?! EPIC! I loved this book & highly recommend. I really hope this author will write a ton more MG in the future. Thank you so much Harper Collins for sending me this beautiful book to read/review. Absolutely STUNNING cover by Vashti Harrison too!💜

  6. 4 out of 5

    Scottsdale Public Library

    Ophie's Ghosts is a sweet and spooky historical fiction set with a paranormal aspect. The ghosts aspect is well done, making this not too scary. Though, there are some heavier topics addressed like grief, racism, slavery, and even murder. Even with the heavy hitters, Ophie is a character to read; she's strong, smart, kind, and resilient. I'm not sure it's possible to not like Ophie. -Megan G. Ophie's Ghosts is a sweet and spooky historical fiction set with a paranormal aspect. The ghosts aspect is well done, making this not too scary. Though, there are some heavier topics addressed like grief, racism, slavery, and even murder. Even with the heavy hitters, Ophie is a character to read; she's strong, smart, kind, and resilient. I'm not sure it's possible to not like Ophie. -Megan G.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cara (Wilde Book Garden)

    I loved this! Justina Ireland's writing was a wonderful balance of imaginative passages and descriptions, plus letting the emotional parts land, plus the perfect amount of atmosphere. And I loved Ophie as a main character. She's so smart and resilient and kind and plucky, and I just adored her. The spooky elements were really well-done, and I love the way Ireland used those to talk about history and trauma and racism. The plot and mystery was compelling, and the end of the book was beautiful and so I loved this! Justina Ireland's writing was a wonderful balance of imaginative passages and descriptions, plus letting the emotional parts land, plus the perfect amount of atmosphere. And I loved Ophie as a main character. She's so smart and resilient and kind and plucky, and I just adored her. The spooky elements were really well-done, and I love the way Ireland used those to talk about history and trauma and racism. The plot and mystery was compelling, and the end of the book was beautiful and so satisfying. And this was definitely a satisfying story in itself, but I would love if Justina Ireland would make this a series! Or just write more spooky historical middle grade, because I think she's fantastic at it. CW: Racism, racial slurs, grief, murder, slavery

  8. 4 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    This story follows 12 year old Ophelia ‘Ophie’ Harrison who has the ability to see ghosts after witnessing her father being killed by white supremacists. Ophie and her mother move to Pittsburgh as a new start and take up maid positions in Daffodil Manor. While employed at Daffodil Manor, Ophie quickly learns that the mansion is full of ghosts struggling to move on. Ophie befriends one particular ghost and decides that she is going to solve the mystery surrounding the ghost’s death. In doing so, This story follows 12 year old Ophelia ‘Ophie’ Harrison who has the ability to see ghosts after witnessing her father being killed by white supremacists. Ophie and her mother move to Pittsburgh as a new start and take up maid positions in Daffodil Manor. While employed at Daffodil Manor, Ophie quickly learns that the mansion is full of ghosts struggling to move on. Ophie befriends one particular ghost and decides that she is going to solve the mystery surrounding the ghost’s death. In doing so, Ophie uncovers more secrets than she signed up for. There was so much that I loved about this book. Ireland does a fantastic job of weaving an incredible story that brings 1920s Pittsburgh to life while also putting Black history and racism front and center. The atmospheric writing really shone when it came to the creepy Daffodil Manor and its inhabitants. As far as Ophie goes, I was rooting for her from the beginning. She’s a fierce and independent MC who refuses to let the truth go uncovered just because it makes people uncomfortable. Also, I highly recommend the audio for this one because it is narrated by Bahni Turpin, and she absolutely nails the performance. Thank you to Harper Kids for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus In 1922, Ophie lives with her family in Georgia. When her home is attacked by violent racists after her father votes, she and her mother escape with the help of their pastor and start a new life in Pittsburgh. They live with Aunt Rose and a number of cousins, and her mother finds work in service at Daffodil Manor. While she would rather go to school, Ophie knows that in order for her and her mother to earn enough to get a place of their own, she will need to work E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus In 1922, Ophie lives with her family in Georgia. When her home is attacked by violent racists after her father votes, she and her mother escape with the help of their pastor and start a new life in Pittsburgh. They live with Aunt Rose and a number of cousins, and her mother finds work in service at Daffodil Manor. While she would rather go to school, Ophie knows that in order for her and her mother to earn enough to get a place of their own, she will need to work as well. She gets hired at Daffodil Manor as well, taking care of the aged Mrs. Carruthers. Ophie must carry tea trays, read, and cater to the woman's fractious whims. Pittsburgh is cold and gray, and there's another development that complicates Ophie's life-- ever since her father's horrible death, she can see and communicate with ghosts. She sees many of them on public transport on her way to work, and the manor is filled with them as well. There is one particular ghost, Clara, who seems particularly helpful. However, Aunt Rose, who also has the ability to communicate with the spirit world, warns her that no ghost is to be trusted, and that Ophie can help spirits move on but should always be wary. As her responsibilities increase at the manor, Ophie tries to investigate what happened to Clara so that she can help her spirit move on. In communicating with her, she inadvertently increases Clara's powers. When Mrs. Carruthers' family visits for a big announcement from her son, Richard, Clara's ghost because more dangerous, taking over the body of another servant, Phoebe, and making it imperative that Ophie figure out Clara's fate before the entire family is endangered. Sorry there aren't more details-- I didn't want to spoil too much of the story! Strengths: This had a great mix of elements-- a girl with special powers who uses them to help others around her, great descriptions of life in Pittsburgh in the 1920s, a creepy mansion, and social justice themes woven deftly throughout. There aren't a lot of books that address the Great Migration, and to combine this historical period with a ghost story is brilliant, especially when Ophie brings Southern traditions like haint blue paint to the North. The snapshot into the difficulties of employment for Black workers is valuable, and the fact that domestic positions are becoming harder to find after the Great War is addressed. Mrs. Carruthers is an interestingly developed character; can't say anything more than that! The ghosts, and Ophie's relationship with some of them before she knows enough to help them move on, are varied and interesting. This was a fast-paced, interesting read! Weaknesses: I would have liked to know more about Ophie's life in Georgia before the attack on her family, but realize that would have slowed down the book a bit. What I really think: Perfect for fans of Barbara Brooks Wallace or India Hill Brown's The Forgotten Girl, this also reminded me a bit of Urban's Almost There and Almost Not and Duga's The Haunting. Definitely purchasing-- the cover is fantastic! Since I grew up not far from Pittsburgh, I loved the details of the city in the 1920s.

  10. 5 out of 5

    CozyReaderKelly

    I absolutely loved this book! Everything about it really worked for me, from the historical aspects of life in the 1920’s to the stories of the ghosts that Ophie comes across through the story. The writing pulled me in from page one and kept me intrigued about what secrets that Daffodil Manor was keeping within its walls.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    Excellent historical mystery replete with ghosts. After her father is killed by white supremacists, Ophie and her mother flee Georgia to stay with relatives in Pittsburgh. They end up working as domestic servants in a mansion that is thoroughly haunted. Ophie, who can see dead people, becomes attached to the ghost of a beautiful young woman, Clara, who was murdered. Despite being warned of the danger of getting involved with ghosts, Ophie decides she wants to solve the murder and help Clara "mov Excellent historical mystery replete with ghosts. After her father is killed by white supremacists, Ophie and her mother flee Georgia to stay with relatives in Pittsburgh. They end up working as domestic servants in a mansion that is thoroughly haunted. Ophie, who can see dead people, becomes attached to the ghost of a beautiful young woman, Clara, who was murdered. Despite being warned of the danger of getting involved with ghosts, Ophie decides she wants to solve the murder and help Clara "move on." The book is age-appropriately chilling and the conclusion is satisfying and hopeful. Ireland does a superb job of integrating historical context, especially the evils of racism, into a highly entertaining ghost story/mystery. It's not easy to do; I've read a number of kid's books where the author's attempt to educate their readers overtakes the story. To be clear, I think it's essential for kids (and everyone else) to be educated, aware of, discuss, and ultimately fight hard against racism. But if a kid (including--perhaps especially--a kid of color) picks up a book that's billed as a ghost story and a mystery, then they want to read a ghost story and a mystery, not a historical textoook. Highly recommended for fans of the genre, and and a must-have addition to middle schools looking to diversify their collections (in other words, all middle schools). Thanks to net galley for this one.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Woc Reader

    Ophie's ghost kicks off with some action with Ophelia being awaken by her father in the night because their house is being burned down by a racist mob. Upon safely escaping Ophie soon realizes she her father never made it home and died before the fire after being killed for exercising his right to vote. It wasn't him who woke her up. At least not his living self. Ophie and her mother end up moving to Pittsburgh to stay with relatives. They can't afford to let Ophie go to school so she must work a Ophie's ghost kicks off with some action with Ophelia being awaken by her father in the night because their house is being burned down by a racist mob. Upon safely escaping Ophie soon realizes she her father never made it home and died before the fire after being killed for exercising his right to vote. It wasn't him who woke her up. At least not his living self. Ophie and her mother end up moving to Pittsburgh to stay with relatives. They can't afford to let Ophie go to school so she must work alongside her mother at Daffodil Manor for a wealthy white family. The manor is filled with ghosts and Ophie soon puts her newfound gift to use helping them pass over to the other side. She ends up meeting a ghost who recently passed in a horrible death she can't recall and is determined to crack the mystery and help her pass on. I listened to this via audiobook and the narration is so slow if you try to listen at 1.0 speed. Bahni Turpin is very hit and miss with me when it comes to audiobooks and here she was a miss. Even though the subject matter is difficult this slow paced story needed a much more upbeat narrator to breath life into it. While I was aware of what was going on in the story I never found myself fully engaged. I usually like historical fiction and while I think this book could be a good tool to teach children a little Black history I can see some struggling to stay engaged. The concept is good but the execution wasn't gripping enough. I received a finished audiobook from Harper Audio in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Perfection. Sweet, spooky, mysterious perfection. I loved every minute of reading this book!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    Hand this historical ghost story to fans of mysteries who like them spooky but aren't looking for something truly scary. I'd try it on fans of Hoodoo (it's not as scary as Hoodoo) or Spirit Hunters. Hand this historical ghost story to fans of mysteries who like them spooky but aren't looking for something truly scary. I'd try it on fans of Hoodoo (it's not as scary as Hoodoo) or Spirit Hunters.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Lizzie

    My goodness, I loved this book! It's joining "The Parker Inheritance" at the top of my recommendation lists for educators and parents who want new fiction books to help children to grapple with America's racist history. This book is a ghostly mystery in which Justina Ireland establishes a whole set of rules for the afterlife, but she's not so busy focusing on the ghost story that she pulls any punches when it comes to both the casual and aggressive racism that main character Ophie and her mother My goodness, I loved this book! It's joining "The Parker Inheritance" at the top of my recommendation lists for educators and parents who want new fiction books to help children to grapple with America's racist history. This book is a ghostly mystery in which Justina Ireland establishes a whole set of rules for the afterlife, but she's not so busy focusing on the ghost story that she pulls any punches when it comes to both the casual and aggressive racism that main character Ophie and her mother face every day. The mystery is a slow burn that younger children might find a little too slow, but the ghostly moments are genuinely spooky. A unique approach to this subject written in a modern style. This is also an #ownvoices novel.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Carr

    Format Read: Audiobook (8 hours) Cover Art: 4 stars Library Buy: Yes My Review: Anytime you can incorporate history into a story, I'm instantly invested. The story begins in the southern United States during the 1920s. A family is torn apart by the brutal and deadly effects of racism and then forced to move north to start a new life as domestic servants. We come to learn of Ophie's supernatural ability to see and communicate with spirits. This leads us on a thrilling, heartwarming, and heartbreaking Format Read: Audiobook (8 hours) Cover Art: 4 stars Library Buy: Yes My Review: Anytime you can incorporate history into a story, I'm instantly invested. The story begins in the southern United States during the 1920s. A family is torn apart by the brutal and deadly effects of racism and then forced to move north to start a new life as domestic servants. We come to learn of Ophie's supernatural ability to see and communicate with spirits. This leads us on a thrilling, heartwarming, and heartbreaking journey where Ophie learns to make peace with her own tragedy while helping the occupants of Daffodil Manor (both human and supernatural) find closure. I found the historical setting added an extra element to the overarching mystery of solving the death of one of the supernatural inhabitants of Daffodil Manor. The author expertly leads us on a suspenseful journey through time and the stories of the family members and many ghosts who linger in the manor. Overall I found it enjoyable and would recommend it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    smalltownbookmom

    This is such a great middle grade historical fiction mixed with elements of fantasy! The story begins in 1920s Georgia when Ophie wakes one night to an urgent message from her father to get herself and her mother out of the house and hide. Not knowing why, Ophie obeys and later learns the warning came from her father’s ghost (he had been lynched by a mob). Wanting to escape the hardships of life in the South Ophie and her mom migrate to Pittsburgh to work as domestic servants in a big estate cal This is such a great middle grade historical fiction mixed with elements of fantasy! The story begins in 1920s Georgia when Ophie wakes one night to an urgent message from her father to get herself and her mother out of the house and hide. Not knowing why, Ophie obeys and later learns the warning came from her father’s ghost (he had been lynched by a mob). Wanting to escape the hardships of life in the South Ophie and her mom migrate to Pittsburgh to work as domestic servants in a big estate called Daffodil Manor. Ophie soon learns she can see ghosts everywhere and they want her help to move on. There’s a particularly dark secret haunting the mansion she works in too and it takes all of her skills and strength to get to the bottom of it. The book does an amazing job bringing the history of race and class to light in this time period and combining it with a heart pounding mystery solved by a strong young Black protagonist. Gave me a lot of similar vibes to Amari and the night brothers and Root magic. Excellent on audio with the supremely talented Bahni Turpin as narrator. Highly recommend this wonderful new book available tomorrow! Thank you to @Libro.fm for my advance listening copy!! Justina Ireland is one to watch!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Krisette Spangler

    4.5 stars This was an adorable story. Ophie can see ghosts, but her aunt warns her it can be dangerous to talk to them. However, Ophie can't help but be drawn into the plight of the ghosts who seem to need to wrap up unfinished business. Her desire to help draws her into a mystery that could cause her to lose her life. 4.5 stars This was an adorable story. Ophie can see ghosts, but her aunt warns her it can be dangerous to talk to them. However, Ophie can't help but be drawn into the plight of the ghosts who seem to need to wrap up unfinished business. Her desire to help draws her into a mystery that could cause her to lose her life.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

    5/5 stars This is Justina Ireland's first middle grade book and boy did she deliver. I read this book in one sitting and I enjoyed every second of it. This story is equal parts chilling, mysterious, thrilling, and sweet. Even if you aren't particularly into middle grade books I still recommend this book. 5/5 stars This is Justina Ireland's first middle grade book and boy did she deliver. I read this book in one sitting and I enjoyed every second of it. This story is equal parts chilling, mysterious, thrilling, and sweet. Even if you aren't particularly into middle grade books I still recommend this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens

    Ophelia Harrison sees dead people, a talent that runs in her family but was jump-started early in her after the lynching of her father in Georgia. Three months later, she and her mother are in Pittsburgh working at Daffodil Manor, a mansion with four living inhabitants and a slew of ghosts.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Deanna Bailey

    I haven't read a middle-grade book in a while- it's not really my jam if you will- but this was an amazing and spooky read. I love a good book with ghosts and while this was a little scary sometimes, it was still a nice break from the graphic murders I read. This was a cozy yet edge-of-your-seat mystery read that I really enjoyed! I haven't read a middle-grade book in a while- it's not really my jam if you will- but this was an amazing and spooky read. I love a good book with ghosts and while this was a little scary sometimes, it was still a nice break from the graphic murders I read. This was a cozy yet edge-of-your-seat mystery read that I really enjoyed!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Richie Partington

    Richie’s Picks: OPHIE’S GHOSTS by Justina Ireland, HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, May 2021, 336p., ISBN: 978-0-06-291589-4 “If there's something strange In your neighborhood Who you gonna call (Ghostbusters) If there's something weird And it don't look good Who can you call (Ghostbusters)” — Ray Parker, Jr. Ophelia “Ophie” Harrison is a twelve-year-old Black girl in the early 1920s. She and her mother escape their small town in Georgia after Ophie’s father is murdered and their house is burned down. In the ope Richie’s Picks: OPHIE’S GHOSTS by Justina Ireland, HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, May 2021, 336p., ISBN: 978-0-06-291589-4 “If there's something strange In your neighborhood Who you gonna call (Ghostbusters) If there's something weird And it don't look good Who can you call (Ghostbusters)” — Ray Parker, Jr. Ophelia “Ophie” Harrison is a twelve-year-old Black girl in the early 1920s. She and her mother escape their small town in Georgia after Ophie’s father is murdered and their house is burned down. In the opening scene, we see Ophelia’s father frantically awakening her, telling her to grab the can with the family’s money out from under the loose floorboard, and quickly get her mother out of the house and into Ophie’s secret hiding place in the woods. Later, after she’s done as he’d told her, and as their house is going up in flames, her father briefly appears at the hiding spot--a former animal den--and encourages Ophie to get some sleep. But how can this possibly be if, as she is later told, her father was actually murdered on the way home that day after daring to vote? It turns out that Ophie can see ghosts. Her dad’s is her first. Ophie and her mother leave Georgia and travel to Pittsburgh where they move into a house that’s already crowded with relatives. This includes three bullying girl cousins. They go to school, but Ophelia must work so that she and her mom can rent their own place ASAP. So she heads off with her mother to Daffodil Manor, a large, down-on-its-heels mansion. There, Ophelia is to serve the Manor’s very wealthy and very cranky old white widow, Mrs. Caruthers. And Daffodil Manor is bustling with ghosts, including Clara, who offers Ophie advice on dealing with the angry Mrs. Caruthers. At home one evening, Ophie’s Aunt Rose figures out Ophie’s secret when she observes Ophie watching the ghost of Rose’s late husband. Aunt Rose explains that seeing haints runs in the family and warns Ophie about the dangers of giving attention to, or communicating with, the ghosts. But Ophie ignores the advice. She wants to know why all those ghosts are stuck in Mrs. Caruther’s mansion. One of the ghosts with whom Ophie engages in conversation is a young Black boy whose ghostly back is ripped up, crisscrossed with whip marks. “There were a lot of terrible ways to die, and even if Ophie didn’t know what all of them were, she had a feeling this boy knew at least one. ‘What happened to you?’ Ophie asked. The boy shrugged. ‘I tried to run away. They found me. Now I can never leave.’ ‘Why can’t you, you know, move on?’ Ophie asked. ‘Is there something you want? Can I help you?’ Ophie realized that she desperately wanted to help the boy in that moment, to offer him something to remove the sorrow from his eyes. The boy shrugged. ‘Ain’t nothing I want. Not that you can give me, anyway. Can you keep Henry safe?’ Ophie bit her lip, a sharp pain lodging under her rib and stealing her breath. Mr. Henry? He was an old man, and this boy was just a kid like Ophie. How could he keep Mr. Henry safe? How could she? Aunt Rose had said all ghosts want something, but what was Ophie to do with the ones who wanted something impossible? The boy confused Ophie and gave her a peculiar sensation, as though she had more in common with him than anyone else in Daffodil Manor, even Clara. He was dead, and yet so close to life that Ophie could talk as if he were there with her. In another life, she could have been him--a ghost trapped in a terrible place. She knew why those men in Georgia had killed her daddy, even if everyone pretended she was still a baby and couldn’t understand. She knew that even in Pittsburgh, it was dangerous to go into the Polish or Irish neighborhoods because bad things happened to colored people, especially girls. All the unspoken rules that Ophie and her kin abided by in order to stay safe, this sad boy was a stark reminder that every single one existed because colored folks had once been property, and that some people still saw them as nothing more than that.” Between dealing with her mean cousins, the cranky and racist Mrs. Caruthers, and all the ghosts, what will Ophie do? Can she solve the murder mysteries relating to Clara and the other dead inhabitants of Daffodil Manor? Or should she listen to Aunt Rose and ignore the haints? Breathtakingly captivating and disturbing, OPHIE’S GHOSTS is a great mystery and ghost story for eight-to-fourteens that reveals a lot about the lives of Black Americans during the depths of the Jim Crow era. Richie Partington, MLIS Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com https://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/ https://twitter.com/richiespicks [email protected]

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kirstie Myvett

    Historical fiction AND a ghost story is a win-win in my book! Ophie's Ghosts transports you to 1922 Georgia where Ophelia Harrison is warned by her father to escape the house before a mob arrives. After the horrible events of that night, Ophie realizes it wasn't actually her Dad that warned her, but his ghost. Ophie and her mother move to Pittsburg to start a new life working in Daffodil Manor. Ophie is charged with caring for old, mean, Mrs. Caruthers, but she isn't the only one demanding of Op Historical fiction AND a ghost story is a win-win in my book! Ophie's Ghosts transports you to 1922 Georgia where Ophelia Harrison is warned by her father to escape the house before a mob arrives. After the horrible events of that night, Ophie realizes it wasn't actually her Dad that warned her, but his ghost. Ophie and her mother move to Pittsburg to start a new life working in Daffodil Manor. Ophie is charged with caring for old, mean, Mrs. Caruthers, but she isn't the only one demanding of Ophie's attention. Daffodil Manor has several ghostly occupants that have taken an interest in the girl that can see them AND possibly help them. Justina Ireland does a great job of transporting you to 1920’s Pittsburg and into Ophie’s unique world. She creates characters (and ghosts) you care about and delivers a story that will stay with the reader long after you’ve finished.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    This is a well-written story of a young girl whose life was upended when the white men from their town came and took her father away. She and her mother flee the town because her mother knows they will be the next victims. They end up in Pittsburgh sharing a house with relatives they barely know. Ophie’s mother wants a place of their own. Ophie must work at the old manor house where her mother has a position in order to make their dream of living in a place of their own. On the way to Pittsburgh This is a well-written story of a young girl whose life was upended when the white men from their town came and took her father away. She and her mother flee the town because her mother knows they will be the next victims. They end up in Pittsburgh sharing a house with relatives they barely know. Ophie’s mother wants a place of their own. Ophie must work at the old manor house where her mother has a position in order to make their dream of living in a place of their own. On the way to Pittsburgh, Ophie realizes she can see ghosts – and they are everywhere, including the manor house. Justina Ireland has written a hard-to-put down story that has elements of tragedy, hope, love, and ghosts. Ophie is hard not to like and readers, young and old, will find themselves wanting to find out what happens to Ophie and she learns to live without her father and with the ghosts in her life. This historical novel, while written for middle school readers, can easily capture the hearts of adults because it is well written with interesting characters and a story-line that is unique enough to be engaging to all readers. Set in 1922, the author evokes the era so well that adult readers will be transported back to a time in America’s past where the words social justice meant little. My thanks to Harper and Edelweiss for an eARC.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessica McKenna

    Through work I was able to read a VERY early ARC of this. It's beautifully done, a true ghost story that is equally chilling and sweet. I certainly recommend giving this one a read as soon as it becomes available to you! Through work I was able to read a VERY early ARC of this. It's beautifully done, a true ghost story that is equally chilling and sweet. I certainly recommend giving this one a read as soon as it becomes available to you!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kel

    One sitting read. Ophie is special. She can see, talk to and hear ghosts. He mother does not want her to share this information. This is an amazing coming of age, self-acceptance, and mystery novel. Kudos to the author. Job well done. This could become a series, in the meantime, read this one.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    EARC providedby Edelweiss Plus I could not stop reading this story. It had me hooked from the start and it had just the right level of "scariness" for middle grade readers. It will make a perfect book club choice because of the great discussions that can be held by readers. EARC providedby Edelweiss Plus I could not stop reading this story. It had me hooked from the start and it had just the right level of "scariness" for middle grade readers. It will make a perfect book club choice because of the great discussions that can be held by readers.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Traci

    On the night Ophelia Harrison’s father is murdered, she sees her first ghost. That night Ophie’s father awakens her and tells her to get her mother out of the house and to a safe hiding place. Ophie and her mother get away & watch as white men burn their home to the ground. Ophie later realizes that it was her father’s ghost who warned her that she and her mother were in danger. The same men who burned their home had murdered her father minutes before coming to their house. The fact that Ophie’s On the night Ophelia Harrison’s father is murdered, she sees her first ghost. That night Ophie’s father awakens her and tells her to get her mother out of the house and to a safe hiding place. Ophie and her mother get away & watch as white men burn their home to the ground. Ophie later realizes that it was her father’s ghost who warned her that she and her mother were in danger. The same men who burned their home had murdered her father minutes before coming to their house. The fact that Ophie’s father voted provoked the men to violence and left Ophie fatherless and homeless. Ophie and her Mother are afraid to stay in GA so they move in with and aunt who lives in Pittsburg PA. It turns out that Ophie’s aunt and other women in her family have the ability to see and communicate with ghosts. Her aunt warns her to ignore the ghosts that haunt the city but that is impossible when she and her mother find domestic work in a house that is filled with spirits. This book is centered around Ophie’s ability to see ghosts but it’s so much more than a ghost story. It gives reader’s a glimpse into the violence and injustice prevalent not only in the Jim Crow South but across America. Ophie’s kindness, perseverance, and determination to do the right thing even when things seem the bleakest makes her a positive role model for young readers. I don’t know what the author has planned but I would like to see more books about Ophie and her ghosts!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Morgan (prettylittlebookshelf)

    If you’re in the mood for an engrossing UNPUTDOWNABLE magical realism historical fiction mystery then Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland is perfect for you! Ophie’s Ghosts begins with Ophie being awaken frantically by her father to quickly get her mother, all of their savings, and getting as far away from the house. In a sleepy daze, Ophie does as she’s told but cannot understand her father’s urgency. When their home is burned down by White supremacists and Ophie cannot find her father anywhere sh If you’re in the mood for an engrossing UNPUTDOWNABLE magical realism historical fiction mystery then Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland is perfect for you! Ophie’s Ghosts begins with Ophie being awaken frantically by her father to quickly get her mother, all of their savings, and getting as far away from the house. In a sleepy daze, Ophie does as she’s told but cannot understand her father’s urgency. When their home is burned down by White supremacists and Ophie cannot find her father anywhere she realizes that something is wrong. Soon Ophie learns that her father was killed for voting and their house was burned down to remind them that the 15th amendment didn’t make them equal to their White counterparts. Even more alarming is the realization that if Ophie’s father is dead, then it was his ghost she spoke to the night before. Although the paranormal activity may be daunting for some young readers, Ophie’s Ghosts is filled with abundant gems: - Black Female main character - The role of “the help” - Financial Insecurity - Racial Discrimination - Friendship - Coping with the loss of a parent - Ghosts are people too Ireland’s writing style demonstrates her creative prowess as she delivers a whimsical age-appropriate novel with a powerful message making Ophie’s Ghosts unforgettable!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tracie

    It is the early 1920's and Ophelia, or Ophie Harrison is just age 12 when her father is murdered and she discovers she can see and converse with ghosts. She and her mother flee Darling, Georgia to her grand aunt Rose's house in Pittsburgh. Aunt Rose is welcoming but other family members are not and Ophie's mom insists Ophie come work at Daffodil Manor to earn some money so they can find a new place to live. To add to Ophie's worries, there are many ghosts in the Carruther's house, but she make's It is the early 1920's and Ophelia, or Ophie Harrison is just age 12 when her father is murdered and she discovers she can see and converse with ghosts. She and her mother flee Darling, Georgia to her grand aunt Rose's house in Pittsburgh. Aunt Rose is welcoming but other family members are not and Ophie's mom insists Ophie come work at Daffodil Manor to earn some money so they can find a new place to live. To add to Ophie's worries, there are many ghosts in the Carruther's house, but she make's friends of a sort with one named Clara. Eventually she discusses being able to converse with ghosts with her Aunt Rose. Her aunt then confides in her that their ancestors were responsible for talking to the dead and were the ones that could help the dead move on. Mrs. Carruthers is a miserable old woman but Ophie endures and tries to help Clara remember who killed her. I enjoyed this story, the characters and the history of the people of various nationalities living in Pittsburgh and the relations they had. It is a good introduction for middle graders to learn about the legacy of slavery in America.

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