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Richard Peck – The Ghost Belonged to Me

April 22, 2011

53. The Ghost Belonged to Me by Richard Peck (1975)
Blossom Culp, Book 1

Length: 164 pages
Genre: Mid-grade, Historical Fiction ghost story

Started / Finished: 09 April 2011

Where did it come from? Bookmooch.
Why do I have it? I read the sequel, Ghosts I Have Been, over and over again when I was young, but I never read this one. I figured it was time to remedy that.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 12 June 2010.

Alexander’s barn
is haunted by a very
soggy young ghost girl.

Summary: Alexander Armsworth’s family owns the third largest house in Bluff City, Illinois and is just as well-to-do and respectable as you’d expect. When Blossom Culp, Alexander’s spindly classmate from the wrong side of the streetcar tracks, tells him that her Mama has the Sight, and that she says the Armsworth’s barn is haunted, Alexander dismisses it as telling tales. But then one night he sees a strange light coming from the barn, and when he goes up there hoping to catch Blossom pranking him, he encounters the ghost of a drowned girl. She’s got a cryptic warning about a looming disaster, and a plea for Alexander to help her rest easy. But even if he believes her words, what on earth can he do about it?

Review: When I was younger, I read Ghosts I Have Been, this book’s sequel, over and over again without every realizing it was part of a series. Now that I am probably triple the age of the intended audience, I’m finally going back through and reading the rest of the books. And while I don’t love them quite as much as I do my childhood favorite, I’m really enjoying the project. For one thing, The Ghost Belonged to Me is written from Alex’s point-of-view, while the other books focus on Blossom. It’s interesting to see familiar characters and places and situations, but to see them from a new perspective.

The Ghost Belonged to Me felt as though it was aimed just a little bit younger than Ghosts I Have Been. It didn’t seem like quite as much happened, and things didn’t feel as dramatic (hard to compare with the sinking of the Titanic for drama, I suppose), but it was still very engaging. There’s a nice creepy element early on: the strange lights, the noises, the one damp footprint, but the ghost, when we finally meet her, is so bland that it’s almost a non-event. I also like that these books are historical fiction, which means that they don’t show their age as much as contemporary fiction written in the 1970s would, and Peck’s good at giving a feel for his period and his setting without hammering you over the head with extensive lists of historical details. All in all, this was a fun mid-grade read that managed to make the transition into adult reading quite well. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Worth checking out if you like ghost stories and/or YA historical fiction.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: At one time there was a ghost out in the brick barn on the back of our place.

Vocab: (see the whole list)

  • p. 39: ““Oh, it was twenty years ago and being restless I took off for the southern part of the state. Had a job down there at Teutopolis as drayman for the Star Store.”” – a person who drives a low, strong cart without fixed sides, for carrying heavy loads.
    .

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2011 1:33 pm

    I love Richard Peck’s work!

    • April 23, 2011 4:51 pm

      Kathy – Me too! Have you tried any of the rest of it other than the Blossom Culp books?

  2. April 23, 2011 3:35 pm

    I loved this book as a kid! I had no idea there were sequels…

    • April 23, 2011 4:52 pm

      Melissa – OMG! Go get Ghosts I Have Been immediately! It’s from Blossom’s point of view, and involves the Titanic, and is made of awesomeness.

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