by Lauren DeStefano
Published by Bloomsbury • June 6, 2017
224 Pages • ISBN 978-1681194448 • Hardcover
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When Emmaline Beaumont's father started building the ghost machine, she didn't expect it to bring her mother back from the dead. But by locking himself in the basement to toil away at his hopes, Monsieur Beaumont has become obsessed with the contraption and neglected the living, and Emmaline is tired of feeling forgotten.
Nothing good has come from building the ghost machine, and Emmaline decides that the only way to bring her father back will be to make the ghost machine work... or destroy it forever.
Emmaline Beaumont's mother has passed away. Unfortunately, Emmaline's father has become fixated with building a machine that will bring Emmaline's mother's ghost back, and in doing so, he himself has forgotten about the living in his obsession with the dead, so in many ways Emmaline has lost both of her parents. The only people she can confide in are twins Gully and Oliver, her best friends in school. Yet for of their understanding and patience, Gully and Oliver are unable to fully understand Emmaline's loss as they have never lost someone so close to them as Emmaline's mother was to her. Her father's machine, however, may actually work, and it is then that Emmaline must decide whether the cost of operating the machine is worth the price paid, and will the twins help her in her decision, regardless of what that decision is?
Lauren DeStefano has created a beautiful and poignant story that I feel would be an important book for anyone to read who has recently (or not so recently) lost someone very close to them. DeStefano has a keen ability to cut to the quick of the emotions of loss and what that can feel like, especially for someone too young to have have lost a loved one. Her characters are not cliché and their feelings are quite real, and the story she has created feels honest and important. That's the best way I can describe it. A fan of her YA series The Chemical Garden Trilogy and The Interment Chronicles, I have not yet read her other two middle grade books, The Curious Tale of the In-Between and The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart, and I think I'll be needing to rectify that soon.
I received a print ARC of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.