Not Quite a Ghost by Anne Ursu

The house seemed to sit apart from the others on Katydid Street, silent and alone, like it didn’t fit among them. For Violet Hart—whose family is about to move into the house on Katydid Street—very little felt like it fit anymore. Like their old home, suddenly too small since her mother remarried and the new baby arrived. Or Violet’s group of friends, which, since they started middle school, isn’t enough for Violet’s best friend, Paige. Everything seemed to be changing at once. But sometimes, Violet tells herself, change is okay.

That is, until Violet sees her new room. The attic bedroom in their new house is shadowy, creaky, and wrapped in old yellow wallpaper covered with a faded tangle of twisting vines and sickly flowers. And then, after moving in, Violet falls ill—and does not get better. As days turn into weeks without any improvement, her family growing more confused and her friends wondering if she’s really sick at all, she finds herself spending more time alone in the room with the yellow wallpaper, the shadows moving in the corners, wrapping themselves around her at night. 

And soon, Violet starts to suspect that she might not be alone in the room at all.
There is one house on Katydid Street that looks like it's been shut out by the others. It happens to be Violet's new home and although when entering it seems like there is a sense of safety, the attic reveals its true self. Ursu introduces Violet's new home as a secondary character which with a book that promises ghosts makes it all the more enticing to read. There is a quiet, unease coming from the attic which is Violet's new room. When she becomes sick you don't know what to make of it all especially when one of her best friends and even doctors don't believe her. You begin to question what's real and what's not as a reader making this a fascinating read.

Violet was dealing with moving to a new home, starting middle school, insecurities with her friends and family, and a possible ghost in her house. A lot was going on with her and they all connected with each other. I thought Not Quite a Ghost had a brilliant concept and it easily captured my attention. Violet's family was always supportive of her which is rare to find in middle grade so I particularly appreciated that. Although mentioning COVID did age the book and the slower pace might not appeal to everyone, I think readers who like more psychologically spooky reads would enjoy this one. 

Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for providing me with a copy of Not Quite a Ghost in exchange for an honest review. It will be released on January 16th, 2024.


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