Rules for Ghosting


Scene from the middle grade novel Rules for Ghosting (Chapter 10):


Finally it hovered near the very top of the narrow screen. “These numbers are astronomical. I would say there’s a 95 percent chance”—Wiley lowered his voice to a dramatic whisper—“that there is a ghost in this very room! Boy, pass me those goggles!”

Oliver didn’t have time to even react before Wiley was up, whipping the Aspirator pack onto his back and darting toward the door, like a dog pulling on his leash. Not wanting to be left behind, Oliver grabbed the goggles and slipped them over his own head. They were bulky and uncomfortable, and the effect was like trying to see underwater.

He didn’t have time to take them off though, because Wiley was on the move and it was all Oliver could do to keep up. “Hmmm, odd, very odd indeed,” the ghosterminator was saying. “Those readings skyrocketed and then, poof ! Just disappeared. Almost as though . . .” He stood upright and snapped his fingers together. “Of course! The ghoul is on the move.” Wiley spun in a full circle before apparently picking something up on his Spectrometer. He pushed through into the mudroom, the Aspirator knocking against the door in his haste.

Oliver followed close behind, ignoring Wiley’s ongoing stream of babble, but studying how the goggles warped the air around him. There was nothing ghostly in sight—not that he’d expected there to be—but through these twisted lenses he could almost imagine there was.

“AHA!” Wiley bellowed, snapping Oliver out of his thoughts. They were standing in the sunroom, and the Spectrometer was lit up like a Christmas tree. “What do you have to say now, eh? We’ve hit the jackpot!”

Oliver shifted his gaze from the Spectrometer to the place Wiley was indicating. “It’s just . . . a wall,” he muttered. “But is it really?” Wiley reached over his shoulder and pressed a button on the side of his backpack. A low motor started up on the Aspirator.

Oliver squinted at the wall. What was Wiley going on about? There wasn’t anything there. He glanced back toward the door. Would Mom and Dad hear the noise and come investigate? Or could they really imagine this was all part of Wiley’s house-fixing plan?

And then Oliver froze. What was that?

In front of the door—for the briefest of seconds—through the smudged and warped glass of the goggles, he’d seen the shape of a girl. A foot-stomping, furious, old-fashioned-dress-wearing, completely see-through girl.

Oliver had just seen a ghost.



By A.J. Paquette Published by Walker & Company Age Range: 8 – 12 Years

Twelve-year-old Dahlia has always lived at Silverton Manor-having spent fifty years as its resident ghost. When Oliver Day and his family show up as house-sitters the day Mrs. Tibbs, a Liberator sent by the Spectral Investigative Council, arrives to teach Dahlia the proper rules for ghosting, Dahlia can’t wait to make new friends. But the unscrupulous ghost hunter, Rank Wiley, and the crooked town councilman, Jock Rutabartle, plan to rid Silverton Manor of its ghosts and sell it to the highest bidder. With her home and friendships at stake Dahlia may have to break the rules of ghosting as quickly as she learns them to solve the mystery of her death and save the manor. Equal parts charming and eerie, this ghostly caper hits all the right notes for the middle-grade audience.

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A.J.Paquette haunts the bookshelves of schools, libraries and bookstores with her frightful and fanciful tales from Ghost in the House (ages 3-7) to The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies(ages 3-8) to the Princess Juniper series (ages 8-12)!