FICTION

Ghost Squad

Scholastic. Apr. 2020. 256p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338280128.
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Gr 4 Up–Looking for a Halloween read? Look no further. Something strange is happening to Lucely’s ghost family of fireflies, known as cocuyos—they are fading away. They tell her that something evil is coming. In an attempt to revive her Mama Teresa, Lucely and her best friend Syd perform a spell to raise the dead, but accidentally awaken old evil spirits that want to revenge against their town. Lucely, Syd, and Syd’s grandmother Babette (who is a witch) must undo the curse and save her ghost family. This is a fast-paced adventure rooted in Dominican mythology and packed with action and humor. Readers are pulled into the family’s close bond and supernatural world easily, with tender moments like abuela singing Lucely to sleep during a storm and the collective urgency as Lucely feels Mama’s spirit quieting.
VERDICT Ortega’s debut is filled with action, humor, and originality. Lucely and Syd’s adventure gives readers paranormal thrills akin to Ghostbusters and the Goonies, from a refreshingly different cultural perspective.

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