By: Rosemary Clement-Moore
Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: July 2011
Amy Goodnight and her sister, Phin, are taking care of their Aunt Hyacinth’s ranch and herb farm while she is away on vacation for the summer. It’s a very nice place to be in order to relax. The only difficult things are the “circus-like” goats who try to climb the branches of the trees to escape their pen; the experiments that Phin does in the house that keep blowing the circuit breakers and knocking out the much needed air conditioning; and, dead Uncle Bart - whose ghost sits in the rocking chair on the porch and helps the girls with their day.
Amy Goodnight has been a part of this ‘odd’ family since birth. Aunt Hy is a kitchen witch and her herbal products offer far more that your regular shampoos and lotions. In fact, she makes a shampoo that clears your head…literally. Every product of Aunt Hy’s offers just a touch of “magic.” Trouble is, everyone in this small Texas town knows it - they talk a great deal about the Goodnight family and the “strange happenings” that surround them. Phin is older and throws herself into studying what she calls botanical research. However, her experiments - such as when she attempts horticultural electrocution - are a little hard for Amy to deal with. It’s as if Phin, long ago, got hooked on ‘Ghosthunters’ and all their EVP’s, EMF’s…and can’t let it go. Amy seems to be the only one in the family with no magic skills whatsoever…and she’s fine with that. She tries desperately to fit in with the rest of the normal world.
One morning, after dealing with the goats, dogs, and Phin, Amy is ready to take a shower. When she looks out the window of her home she sees a cow rubbing up against her car and races out into the driveway in underwear and gumboots to make the insipid animal move on. Little did she know that she’d be facing a handsome cowboy named Ben, who actually despises Amy’s Aunt because she won’t sell her property and has stirred up some serious gossip for Ben’s family.
What gossip? Bones have been found and a “ghost” seems to be walking around Ben’s land driving everyone crazy. Accidents are happening, fencing is falling down, sinkholes appear in the ground…people are getting hurt and no one knows why. Against her will, Amy becomes the ‘go to’ girl of her sister, the student anthropologist who come to investigate Ben’s bones, and the rest of the town. She is the ONLY one who can get rid of the ghost of the “Mad Monk,” and Amy has absolutely NO idea how she’s going to do it.
Every page of this book is extremely fun and the ghost story, itself, is both entertaining and intricate. For anyone who loves ghost stories and “things that go bump in the night,” this author has written a complex plot with savvy and sarcastic characters who will keep readers entranced.
Quill Says: A great deal of fun! And, after reading, you’ll find that you should always be careful of what you promise three times. You never know when a ghost might be listening.