Monday, December 3, 2012

Ghost Flower

Ghost Flower
Michele Jaffe
ISBN: 978-1595143969
Razorbill, 2012

Plot Summary: Eve is a runaway with a sad and shady past. She’s living day by day barely making ends meet so when Bain and Bridgette show up at the Starbucks where she works and offer her a “job” she can’t refuse she jumps at the chance to get out of her stuck life. Being a dead ringer for their missing cousin, Aurora, the twins offer Eve $250,000 to impersonate Aurora until she comes off age and can claim her inheritance. Sounds crazy, right? Well, after a couple of weeks learning all about the family, Eve takes things into her own hands and stages her return earlier than planned. Luckily, she slides right into the role of Aurora easily until she begins to learn more and more about why Aurora may have disappeared. Her best friend, Liza, committed suicide . . . or was it actually murder? When Eve begins seeing Liza’s ghost telling her to seek the truth, Eve begin to suspect everyone around her of keeping secrets. Is she more “disposable” to Bain and Bridgette than she thought? Was Liza murdered? Why did Aurora run away? Is Eve safe with the family?

Critical Evaluation:  For those astute mystery readers, the true identity of Eve is pretty obvious from the start but Jaffe clearly realized this possibility because even thought you think you know where the story is going she throws major curve balls and red herrings at you that makes you second guess your predictions on what will happen. Eve’s secret is truly shocking; however, there were some moments that seemed contrived or appeared and were never mentioned again, such as Bridgette’s experiments in lesbianism, Liza’s supposed lesbian relationship with Coralee, and Liza’s supposed past. It seems shocking that Aurora wouldn’t have known about these things. There is also an underwhelming “romance” between Eve and the main detective on the case which seems forced (Ah—all YA books must have romance! type of thing). The ghostly aspect is also never truly explained as to whether or not it is just Eve’s subconscious or a real ghost. Despite these few problems, the story is an excellent mystery that keeps you guessing even when you think you know the solution and it has the whole “rich brat” society feel to it. I recommend it to mystery buffs.

Reader's Annotation: How would you like to be down on your luck and be offered, by complete strangers, the chance at $250,000 to impersonate a missing girl for a few months? Would you do it?  

Author Information: Michele Jaffe is the author of the Bad Kitty series of YA books as well as thrillers and romances for adults. After getting her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard, she retired from academia and decided to become an FBI special agent or glamorous showgirl, but somehow instead ended up writing. A native of Los Angeles, California, Jaffe and her sparkly shoes currently reside in New York City (Jaffe, 2012).

Genre: Mystery

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Booktalking Ideas: Read the first appearance of Liza’s ghost.  

Reading Level/Interest Age: 14+

Challenge Issues: Lesbianism

Challenge Defense: If this book were challenged, I would make sure the library has a Challenge Defense File ready for such a situation. Inside the Challenge Defense File, librarians and the public could find:

·        A copy of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at
·        A copy of the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at
·        A copy of the library’s own selection policy (my library, the La Vista Public Library, has a policy but it is not online so I can’t link to it as an example).
·        A copy of the library’s citizen’s complaint/reconsideration form (my library, the La Vista Public Library’s, form is called the City of La Vista Service Request form).
·        Copies of reviews—both good and bad—from reputable library and publishing services to justify why a book was selected for inclusion in the collection. These include not only reviews from such journals as School Library Journal, VOYA, Horn Book, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, but also any mention of books on YALSA lists and other copies of articles about any awards or nominations such books may have received.
·        Include a short rationale file for other coworkers so if the librarian in charge of selecting materials is not available when a challenge occurs the other staff members have some information to go by (the rational would include such information as a short summary, what could be challenged, reviews, awards and nominations, etc.)
·        Include for staff members a copy of “Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials,” a document written by the American Library Association. Make sure that staff reviews this document periodically so they are prepared and know how to face such situations. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at

Reason for Inclusion: A mystery that keeps you guessing.  


Jaffe, M. (2012). Bio. Retrieved from

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