The Ghosts of Rose Hill

Listening Library. May 2022. 402p. $38. ISBN 9780593558843.
Gr 9 Up–Her father escaped oppressive politics in the former Czechoslovakia. Her maternal ancestors survived Spain’s religious persecution, landed in Cuba, then fled Castro’s communists for Miami Beach. “So the last thing I expected/ was to be exiled/ by my own parents,” 16-year-old Ilana laments when she’s separated from friends, parties, but most importantly, her beloved violin. She’s banished to Prague to stay with artist Aunt Žofie who promises, “Prague is a place/ where a girl your age/ can find herself.” Ignoring the SAT-improving studies demanded by her parents, Ilana finds an abandoned Jewish cemetery, falls in love with a ghost, vanquishes a monster, and sets trapped souls free. Cuban American actor Carla Corvo commands Romero’s lyrical novel-in-verse, becoming that rebellious teen discovering her autonomy, seeking justice where evil lingers.
VERDICT Corvo proves herself an effective, complementary enabler of Romero’s empowering coming-of-age tale.

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