Gr 4-6-An imaginative and adventurous sixth grader makes a connection with the ghost of the victim of an unsolved murder and puts her own life in jeopardy to find the killer. Strange events begin when a calm, unknown voice prevents Allie from panicking and falling from a dangerous cliff while fossil hunting. Then, an old journal mysteriously appears in her mailbox. Allie often feels a presence nearby and dreams of a girl falling from the cliff. She then discovers the grave marker of an 11-year-old girl who was missing and presumed dead in 1994. Because of her reputation for telling stories, Allie cannot convince anyone to believe her except her longtime friend and fellow fossil hunter, Dub. Driven to pursue the mystery, Allie finds an old diary that provides her with facts about the girl's death. Foolishly, she reveals what she knows and endangers her own life. Tension builds throughout the story. A contemporary murder and ghost make the threat immediate and the danger real. Allie is a compelling and well-drawn character. She is determined and unsure of herself, foolish, impetuous, and brave. The dynamics of adolescent relationships add depth to the story. Fans of ghost stories by Betty Ren Wright and Mary Downing Hahn will find this excellent book difficult to put down.-Marlene Gawron, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 4^-6. A tense opening scene draws children right into this beautifully crafted thriller: Allie Nichols hangs by a thread on the side of a steep cliff in Fossil Glen. Readers have nothing to worry about, though, because Allie is guided safely down by a reassuring voice belonging to the ghost of a young girl who died in the glen four years earlier. It seems Allie has been chosen to avenge the girl's murder, which was made to look like an accident by a greedy real-estate developer, the boyfriend of the girl's mother. As she did in her historical novel The Apprenticeship of Lucas Whitaker (1996), DeFelice does a splendid job of unfolding the complicated plot, dispensing information in just the right amounts, and making connections. Very little time is given to characters and events that don't advance the story, resulting in an expertly paced, dynamic page-turner that never gives readers the chance to become distracted or lose interest. It's another fine title from a fine author. --Lauren Peterson