FICTION
Trace
320p. HarperCollins. Apr. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062698841.
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarGr 5–8—Theodore "Trace" Carter has moved from Baltimore to Brooklyn to live with his flamboyant Aunt Lea following the death of his parents when their car swerved to avoid hitting a deer and plunged into a river. Haunted by guilt and dreams of the accident which he mysteriously survived, Trace struggles to fit in at his new school until he is chosen to lead a team of fellow students researching the 1860s for a class presentation. But just before his classmates arrive at the New York Public Library to begin their work, Trace finds himself in a private, deserted part of the building where the strange apparition of a little, ragged boy leads him on a search into the history of the Colored Orphan Asylum fire that took place on the library's original site, the Civil War–era draft riots, and the connection between the ghost and his own ancestry. Rich detail fleshes out a cast of multiethnic characters (Trace's friend Presley with her clairvoyance and outrageous vocabulary stands out in particular); the voice is hip, appealing, and humorous; the setting is vividly and authentically presented; and the touch of the supernatural adds texture and intrigue.
VERDICT From its dramatic opening to its satisfying conclusion, this is an absorbing, multi-layered novel; an excellent choice for all middle school collections

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