Ever gone on a haunted house tour? Whispered "Bloody Mary" into a bathroom mirror? Stayed up all night at a sleepover telling ghost stories? Josie isn't the type of girl to do any of those things. Since her mother died of cancer, she has been busy helping her Aunt Barb take care of the family and helping her father with the family's auction business. But when they are chosen to handle the estate auction of John Goodrich, everything changes. She and her brother Fox find an old Polaroid camera that mysteriously prints out photos, even though it is out of film, and the photos show Mr. Goodrich! When they begin to investigate, they find out that Goodrich is tied to the spooky Mothman, who appears in an area before a major disaster. Does that mean their town is next?
Hayes has created an intriguing story that mixes the supernatural, the world of estate sales, and family bonds. As the siblings investigate the history of Mothman sightings and try to unravel the connection Goodrich and their own family have to the apparition, we get to see the way they support each other and their younger brother, father, aunt and uncle. There are typical sibling rivalries (I love their "last doughnut standing" competition), but also loyalty and love. What makes the story seem more real is the backdrop of the family trying to go on after their tragic loss. And that loss also makes it easier for the kids to understand Mr. Goodrich's sorrow at the loss of his wife, even though it happened back before they were born.
Recommended for middle grade readers who enjoy spooky stories, especially the kind where kids have to take charge and try to save the day. For help creating Mothman selfies, visit Curious City DPW.
*Update 08/01/2016 We have added this book to the Fairview library.