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The Ghosts of Ashbury High by Jaclyn Moriarty

The Ghosts Of Ashbury HighAmelia and Riley are new students at Ashbury High, and their appearance there changes everything. Everyone is talking about them, but few know anything about them. They rarely show up for school but Amelia breaks all the school’s swimming records. They smile politely when others talk to them but rarely say a word back. They’re an enigma that everyone at Ashbury High wants to solve, including best friends Lydia, Cassie, and particularly Emily. Emily has become nothing short of obsessed with Amelia and Riley. The pair consumes practically her every waking thought until she becomes convinced that there is a ghost in the Art Rooms. Who are Amelia and Riley? And how are they connected to the ghost?

I picked up The Ghosts of Ashbury High because The Year of Secret Assignments and The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie are some of my all time favorite books. I was hoping that this novel would carry the same spirit and humor as Moriarty’s other novels, and while it did in some ways, in others it didn’t. Moriarty continues to write in a very indirect manner. Readers learn about the story through emails, blog entries and comments, letters, and, as a new addition in this book, the writing portion of the HSC English exam. I don’t really mind Moriarty’s style of constantly switching narrators and perspectives, but in The Ghosts of Ashbury High, I felt that perhaps she let it go on too long. Because entries for the HSC English exam were so lengthy and at times rambling, in the middle section of the book, I got confused as to what the purpose was because the story was so drawn out. This is all redeemed in the end, because Moriarty has a fantastic way of cleverly connecting nearly everything, but I do wish it didn’t take so long to get to the point.

The Ghosts of Ashbury High is sure to be enjoyed by fans of The Year of Secret Assignments and The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie, both by Jaclyn Moriarty.

Rating: 3.75

Review copy from publisher Scholastic

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