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Childish Spirits

Narrated by: Sally Millest
Length: 3 hrs and 26 mins
Categories: Fiction, Horror
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When Ellie and her family move into Inchwood Manor, Ellie quickly discovers strange things are happening. Who is the mysterious boy at the window? What secrets lie within the abandoned nursery? Who is the woman who haunts Ellie’s dreams - and why has she returned to the Manor, after more than a century? Ellie finds herself entangled in a Victorian mystery of ghosts and tunnels and secret documents - and discovers that life all those years ago isn’t so different from the world she knows today...Rob Keeley’s first novel for children brings out all the ingredients of the classic ghost story within a recognizable modern world setting.

Listeners of his short story collections for children will find in Childish Spirits the elements which made his past books such a success - strong and contemporary characters, inventive twists on traditional themes, and a winning combination of action, suspense, and humor.

©2014 Rob Keeley (P)2019 Rob Keeley

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Creepy, exciting, and adorable

This is an adorable book. As in, I adored it from start to finish. It's also adorable in the sense that its characters and story are charming and sweet.

But it's not just a "cute" story. There's a strong creep factor (it's a book about ghosts, so I'd hope so), and talk of some deep issues like divorce, class prejudice, and suicide. Also, it's incredibly well-written.

As read by Sally Millest, it's doubly enjoyable. Of course, a big part of my personal enjoyment probably stemmed from the fact that she has a great English accent and as an American, I'm a succor for that. But she also reads with beautiful flow and expression. Animated by Millest's lively yet sensitive voice, the characters are vibrant and vivid, each with a unique, strong personality.

Let's talk about the characters, shall we? Edward, the ghost of a rich (read: spoiled) 10-year-old, is absolutely adorable. He's also a pain in the rear, but somehow, that makes him not less endearing but more. He's certainly infuriating at times and Ellie deserves a ton of credit for putting up with him. But despite that, I for one grew very attached to him.

I also love Ellie, the main character. An ambitious if young painter and poet who's about the same age as Edward (and also alive, by the way), she makes for a wonderful heroine. I also found her brother Charlie hilarious. He calls his younger sister "small person," and "miniature one."

I've read plenty of MG novels that bored me. Likewise, I usually have a hard time listening to audiobooks because I'll zone out and miss something important. To prevent this from happening, the book has to be both very well-written and paced, and the reader has to be very dynamic. Otherwise, I probably won't make it to the end.

I'm happy to report that I didn't zone out once during Childish Spirits. Not only is it well read--it's perfectly paced. The story is a flawless blend of suspense, mystery, creepiness, charm, and character development.

The first few chapters were deliciously creepy in exactly the kind of way I like (I don't really do scary movies but I dig ghostly stuff and am obsessed with E.A. Poe). Then I was curious to know who Edward was and what he died of. Soon a strange new ghost appeared in the house and it was totally creepy and suspenseful again.

Mystery followed upon mystery: just as Ellie solved one, it would lead to another. Then there was very real danger and needless to say, by this time I was hooked.

While a few of the twists were things I saw coming, this is a MG book, so I feel like that's how it should be. And there were definitely other twists that threw me for a loop.

In short, Childish Spirits is the kind of MG ghost book I wish every MG ghost book was like. It reminded me of The Graveyard Book and The Children of Green Knowe, except it's probably more exciting than those books (especially Green Knowe, which, though I say it affectionately, has an excitement factor of about 1).

It's also a wonderful October read. Not too scary, but mildly creepy and totally--to use my favorite word because I always will if at all possible--phantasmagoric.

Parts of it made me shiver, parts made me catch my breath, and the end left me smiling. I'll say it again: adorable.

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  • Simon
  • 07-01-19

Great story

This is the first book of Rob's I have listened to and I must say it was a great listen.
The story follows a young girl and her family as they move into an old mansion to renovate it for a charity, but the house is haunted by a young victorian boy and they must work together to stop him being sent away to the after life fully.

I really liked how the story was written and it kept me hooked throughout as I wasn't sure who they could trust and what would happen at the end