Where the Lost Ones Go

Farrar. Oct. 2022. 320p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374313777.
Gr 4-7–Eliot is a Japanese American girl who is grieving the recent loss of Babung, her grandmother, when she and her parents move from California to Maine. She is determined to find Babung’s ghost so she can say goodbye. When she dares to ring the doorbell at the supposed witch’s house, Honeyfield Hall, she thinks that this might be the perfect opportunity to find some ghosts (hopefully Babung’s). Eliot begins helping out around Honeyfield Hall and discovers a skeleton key that allows her to travel to the Hollow, where ghosts are stuck and unable to travel beyond the veil to be at peace. Eliot, with the help of her crush Hazel, vows to help these ghosts to find their missing memories so they can move on before all of their memories fade and the Hollow collapses. This is a beautiful story that explores grief and friendship with a touch of fantasy. It acknowledges that there is no one way to process grief; Eliot’s parents’ attempt to protect her from the pain of losing Babung by not talking about her, which contrasts Eliot’s strong desire to remember her grandmother. Bowman perfectly captures the struggle of being the new kid in town and trying to fit in when you feel completely out of place. While not a scary ghost story, there are some suspenseful moments, including some unexpected twists and a very satisfying ending.
VERDICT A captivating story that will appeal to readers who love a mystery, have experienced loss, or anyone who has searched for friendship in a new place.

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