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Jade Green, a ghost story

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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Although this period ghost story does not measure up to the originality and complexity of Naylor's bewitchingly eerie Sang Spell, it will engage readers (girls especially) looking for pleasantly shivery entertainment. The narrator conforms to the conventions of the genre: pretty, young and newly orphaned, Judith Sparrow has traveled from a distant home (in this case, Ohio) to the refuge offered by her only relatives, a widower uncle and his adult son, in Whispers, S.C. Judith aims to assist the housekeeper; in fact, Uncle Geoffrey places no such demands on her time, asking only that she not bring anything green into the house. But Judith has been unable to part with her only token from her mother, a green picture frame, which she stashes in her trunk. Before long Judith is hearing odd noises and catching sight of mysterious scurrying objects that elude all mousetraps. Could they be connected to the silence surrounding another orphan girl previously taken in by Uncle Geoffrey, Jade Green, who died by her own hand? With an indeterminate 19th-century setting, and with the entrance of a handsome, industrious local fellow to supply a bit of romance, Naylor's latest has all the ingredients of classic supernatural suspense. While she combines these elements in familiar ways, her execution is assured. A satisfying spine-tingler. Ages 10-14. (Feb.)

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 5-8-When Judith Sparrow is orphaned at age 15, she is lucky enough to be taken in by her elderly Uncle Geoffrey in South Carolina, where she helps the cook with housework but is otherwise treated as family. She finds work in a hatmaker's shop and makes friends, but two things mar her happiness. The first is Charles, her 40-year-old unemployed, dissipated cousin, who lavishes unwanted attention on her. The second is the mystery concerning a girl named Jade Green, who used to live in the house but who died gruesomely three years earlier, supposedly by her own hand. Strange scratching noises coming from her closet, a bloodstain on the stairs, and finally a hideous disembodied hand begin to terrorize Judith, until a final showdown with Charles shows Judith the truth about Jade Green's demise. The slightly old-fashioned, first-person narrative matches the period setting of this story, which is unspecified but is set sometime in the horse-drawn past. Judith's adjustment to her new life, her budding friendship with a young man named Zeke, and her growing horror of the supernatural happenings in her new home will absorb readers. Judith isn't a particularly plucky heroine; she must be rescued twice, once by Zeke and once by Jade Green. Nevertheless, this is a satisfying ghost story that demands to be read in one sitting.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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