Saturday, September 6, 2014

Book Review: Ghostscape

Title: Ghostscape
Author: Joe Layburn
Genre: historical fiction, children's fiction
My Rating: **
Official Rating: children's fiction
Age Group: 8+

Summary: Aisha is having a hard time adjusting to life in England after fleeing Somalia. The girls at her new school are mean to her, her mother doesn't understand her, and she can't seem to get beyond watching her father die. It's no surprise that she starts seeing things.
Only, is she actually seeing things? Aisha meets a boy, Richard, and realizes the two of them have somehow managed to time travel. As she gets to know him better, Aisha learns how to deal with the bullies at her school. She hopes to save Richard's life but has a hard time finding out what happened to him during the Blitz. The she discovers a story in an old newspaper that details a horrible tragedy. Can she save Richard before it's too late?

Word of Warning
  • Aisha and a girl named Chevon fight more than once, with Chevon saying mean things to Aisha and gets her in trouble for saying things she never did. They get into a cat fight.
  • Aisha faints. She is also clipped by a side mirror and knocked unconscious.
  • There is mention of Aisha's father being shot by a young man wearing a baseball cap backward. She remembers how her father was just one of many casualties.
  • In Richard's time, Germany is bombing England. Aisha discovers that hundreds of people die when a bomb is dropped on a school but other than calling it a tragedy and mentioning that the search for survivors was abandoned and no one knew how many people died, there were no details.
  • People grumble about others (like a snoring old man or someone singing quietly to calm his nerves).
  • Richard uses the word h*** as an exclamation. Many people in England (mostly Richard's time) use the word "bloody" which can be considered swearing.
  • Aisha's mother is very harsh with her. Frustrated, Aisha finally loses it and yells at her mother that she has met a boy and she likes him a lot and he's not Muslim. Just to bother her mom (it's not true).
  • Richard is invisible to people in Aisha's time. They play tricks on Chevon, throwing things at her (never hitting her) and causing her to think Aisha is a witch.
  • The solution to Aisha's problem with Chevon is the scene where Richard throws things at her and leaves Chevon to believe Aisha is a witch. This isn't exactly the ideal solution to a problem.
My Thoughts
It was a good simple book. I grabbed off a pile of books my sister is going to sell and read it in about an hour. There weren't too many problems with it and it gave a brief glance into the lives of those living in the past, and also those displaced by war today.
In all honesty, my biggest problem with the book was the time line. There is a bit of a mix-up with Aisha changing something in the past, but the change already existing before she does the change. I can't give more details because that would spoil the book, but suffice it to say that for some strange reason it irritated me very much.
Overall: a decent book. I wouldn't buy it and wouldn't read it again, but I don't feel like I wasted an hour of my life either.

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