Review | Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko

Perfect for fans of Small Spaces and Nightbooks, Ally Malinenko’s middle-grade debut is an empowering and triumphant ghost story—with spooky twists sure to give readers a few good goosebumps!

Zee Puckett loves ghost stories. She just never expected to be living one.

It all starts with a dark and stormy night. When the skies clear, everything is different. People are missing. There’s a creepy new principal who seems to know everyone’s darkest dreams. And Zee is seeing frightening things: large, scary dogs that talk and maybe even . . . a ghost.

When she tells her classmates, only her best friend, Elijah, believes her. Worse, mean girl Nellie gives Zee a cruel nickname: Ghost Girl.

But whatever the storm washed up isn’t going away. Everyone’s most selfish wishes start coming true in creepy ways.

To fight for what’s right, Zee will have to embrace what makes her different and what makes her Ghost Girl. And all three of them—Zee, Elijah, and Nellie—will have to work together if they want to give their ghost story a happy ending.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was not expecting to fly through this one as fast as I did, but it was definitely a one sitting read. I really have a soft spot for Zee as she tries to navigate school, friendships, bullies, the death of her mother and absence of her father and more. Elijah was also a wonderfully crafted character as he dealt with the pressure he experienced at home and with expectations that are laid upon him. A lot of the characters in this story had clear voices and were able to be seen easily in the mind’s eye as they went about their daily lives while also trying to figure out what was happening in their little town. There are a lot of real issues that kids deal with featured in this book and honestly I think a lot of people in the target audience would be able to see themselves in at least one of the characters.

Malinenko’s writing is easy to read and flows really well, while there are clear breaks between chapters and scenes, everything flows together really well. I also felt that the three main characters she put together played off each other really well, even if they struggle to be friendly at times. This is definitely a great spooky middle grade that is fun for young readers while still having depth and real world issues woven in.


Ally Malinenko is a poet, novelist, and librarian living in Brooklyn, New 

York, where she pens her tales in a secret writing closet before dawn each day. Connect with Ally on her website at

Thanks so much to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book for review. Make sure to check back on release day, August 10th, for a Q&A with Ally!

Happy reading!

5 thoughts on “Review | Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko

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