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Since one thing I have been able to do for the last 10 weeks has been read, I’ve got quite a few book recommendations for all of you. I’ve been more or less been going on an MG kick lately, reading out loud to Ember, so the first book I have to recommend is The Screaming Staircase, by Jonathan Stroud.

The Screaming Staircase takes place in a London that has become haunted by ghosts. Some of these ghosts are harmless, a lot of them are not. The interesting thing about this book is that kids are pretty much the only ones who can actually see or sense the ghosts, and as they get older, they lose that ability. Because of this, Lucy works for Anthony Lockwood in a kid run business that takes care of people’s ghost problems. Because of a job gone wrong, they have an enormous fine that they have to pay, and therefore are forced to take on more dangerous jobs.

I liked this book, and thought it was cute. Lucy is a good main character, and I like how Lockwood is kind of a young Sherlock Holmes character, with his grouchy yet likeable sidekick: George. The story itself had some fairly spooky scenes, but for the most part stayed more fun and lighthearted. But what I found the most fascinating about this book is that the author never comes out and directly says the kids ages. And this is kind of a trend I’ve been noticing in upper MG as of late…but more on that later.

The only problem I did run into while reading this book is that I had a little trouble visualizing the setting. Because all the kids use rapiers to battle the ghosts, I was mistakenly under the impression that the story took place a long long time ago. However, as I read on, I learned that wasn’t the case. I do wonder if that was left ambiguous intentionally, but whether it was or it wasn’t, I found The Screaming Staircase to be an enjoyable read.

So if you are looking for a ghost story that doesn’t leave you sleeping with the light on at night, I recommend The Screaming Staircase.

How about all of you? What books have you read lately? Have you read The Screaming Staircase?