Seventh grader Ben Conover sees people no one else can see. When he confides in his best friend, it's not long before smart phones start lighting up with text messages as the air cackles with gossip and he becomes known in school as the 'Ghost Boy'.
Home has become a battle ground between his Mum's acceptance and his Dad's disapproval. Ben desperately seeks his father's approval, and wants to be like a regular twelve-year-old. But he doesn't want to break free from his spirit friend, Abby, who shows up when he is in danger or about to do something wrong. She somehow guides him and he has grown very fond of her.
Will Ben's father accept his son's psychic gifts? Can he persuade his father that spirits are real and not just hallucinations? And who exactly is Abby?
A Middle Grade story about a boy who sees spirits.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
This is a sweet young adult story about a little boy that sees and talks to ghosts. He is followed by a spirit guide who helps him navigate his gift and the difficulties it brings to his life. He is encouraged by his Mother and hated by his Father who calls him crazy and sends him to therapy. He suffers bullying and a family trauma. Through it all he utilizes his special gifts. I loved it and found it endearing and sweet. I recommend this book for all YA readers. It is especially appealing to all who enjoy ghost stories ~ Lori Reed, NetGalley
I must confess that I am not a fan of poltergeist stories and the subject didn’t speak to me at first (probably this is why I was never in the mood for this particular book). But then, I searched for the author and found out that he has a Ph.D. in theology from Fordham University, and is a world expert on the afterlife and paranormal studies and made me reconsider my desire of reading his novel.
The book presents the story of Ben Conver, a twelve-year-old boy, who has a unique gift: he can see and talk to spirits. His best friend is Abby, who is a ghost, who protects him and who turns out be a very important person in his life.
Despite seeing things that normal people can’t, Ben is a very normal child. He goes to school, gets bullied by other kids and seeks continuously to please his father who doesn’t believe in the ghost stories he hears and decides that Ben should be medicated. However, he starts to have second thoughts after some events in which the ghosts who talk to his son reveal some secrets that Ben couldn’t have know.
~ Elia Mihuta, https://readingbadger.club/2018/08/13/ghost-boy/
It was a great pre-teen coming of age book. It dealt with many issues and ways to solve them. I will buy this for my preteen to read!! ~ Nichole Sellers, NetGalley
Ben Conover, the protagonist of "Ghost Boy," is an average preteen boy in most ways. The seventh-grader plays sports, loves nature, is nervous around girls, and is very insecure about his looks. But he differs from his peers in a very fundamental way: He sees and communicates with ghosts. And while Ben usually manages his power with maturity and a naïve wisdom, his father and his peers struggle to accept his gift, which they believe contradicts common sense and violates societal norms. As a result, Ben faces ostracism from his peers and is taunted with the moniker “Ghost Boy.” In addition to being shunned for his openness about his gift, he suffers trials that the average preteen is heartachingly familiar with, such as violent bullying (including an encounter with the dreaded “mean girl,” but with a twist), peer pressure and the overall teen stress of trying to “fit in.”
The new book by Cal State Bakersfield religion professor Stafford Betty also takes on some weighty issues that differ from typical young adult fiction. Ben comes face to face with death (which might indicate why he is both blessed and cursed with his gift) and rejection by his emotionally unavailable father, Sam. Sam’s attempts to conform his son to conventional norms is disturbing and foolishly misguided. As a result, Ben steps into the parental role throughout the novel as he gently leads his father to accept and understand his gift, or at least to keep an open mind. Ben’s mother, Maria, embraces her son’s second sight, and this leads to conflict between his parents. Betty does not shy away from difficult subjects, which could resonate with young readers who might be struggling with similar situations.
Young readers will be charmed by Ben’s special friend Abby. Abby appears to be the same age as Ben, but she is a spirit with otherworldly maturity. Abby has a knack of appearing when Ben needs her guidance most and is not shy about leading Ben toward a morally righteous path. Ben’s pure and innocent love for Abby is heartwarming, and the love between them serves as one of the book's greatest strengths. The true identity of ghostly Abby is a secret well-kept until the very end and is sure to both shock and enchant readers.
Unfortunately, the spirit world that Ben encounters is also filled with spirits that are not always friendly and willing to help. Hence, Ben faces the difficult task of battling what Ben’s Jewish family friend Gretl refers to as “dybbuks” (or what Buddhists refer to as a “hungry ghosts”). Dybbuks are malcontented spirits who attach themselves to the vulnerable among us in order to control their will, and Ben finds himself tasked with the burden of trying to free the living from the grip of these restless souls. As the novel unfolds, the reader is exposed to the idea that the spirit world is as rich and complex as our world.
Stafford Betty, father of five children, knows how to provide young teens a story filled with adventure, love and emotional depth. His decision to set most of the novel’s 16 chapters in Bakersfield is sure to delight local readers to a treat of familiar sights and sounds.
Fans of S.E Hinton’s "The Outsiders" will find themselves intrigued by both "Ghost Boy" and Ben Conover. Both novels deal with weighty issues head on, and the thoughtful and introspective Ben is in many ways the fictional twin to Hinton’s Ponyboy Curtis. ~ Jenny Andreotti, Newspaper The Bakersfield Californian
After Evelyn is free, she finds herself not fitting into the real world. An offer comes that offers her the chance to free the others from Boundry. This was a great book in the same tone as the first. ~ Melanie Laing , NetGalley
This was a very interesting read. It's one of those books that grabs you quickly and holds your attention. I really enjoyed how it read more like a collection of short stories rather than the traditional chapter book, and I will for sure recommend this to my tween patrons. ~ Bailey Randolph, Librarian at Grande Prairie Public Library
Wow! 5 stars. What a sweet book with so many lessons. Ghost Boy is a book that people with resound with for so many individual reasons. I am so glad I had the chance to read this book. ~ Lea Wyllie, NetGalley
Seventh grader Ben Conover sees people no one else can see. When he confides in his best friend, it's not long before smartphones start lighting up with text messages as the air cackles with gossip and he becomes known in school as the 'Ghost Boy'. Home has become a battleground between his Mum's acceptance and his Dad's disapproval. Ben desperately seeks his father's approval and wants to be like a regular twelve-year-old. But he doesn't want to break free from his spirit friend, Abby, who shows up when he is in danger or about to do something wrong. She somehow guides him and he has grown very fond of her. Will Ben's father accept his son's psychic gifts? Can he persuade his father that spirits are real and not just hallucinations? And who exactly is Abby?
This is an interesting read: it kind of goes all over the place(s) that you expect yet still surprises you at times. I enjoyed it as the story was thought-provoking and the ending enjoyable. ~ Janet Cousineau , GoodReads
This book was fast paced and fun. It gave the reader a different look on ghosts, so to speak.
Well written and engaging. ~ Julie Oakley, NetGalley
A well-written book full of positive messages. The main characters are well developed and the book touches your emotions.
~ Anna Maria Giacomasso, NetGalley
Super. Interesting from the start, this book is about a normal 7th grade aged boy who sees and communicates with ghosts. He struggles with his peer group and his father’s disbelief, finally overcoming opposition that threatens to alienate him from both worlds—and from himself. Positive messages for growing up as a sensitive human. Highly Recommend. ~ Producervan, GoodReads
Well written with great characters. ~ Becky Narlinger, NetGalley
Good story line, the characters were well built up and I felt intrigued to know what happens next. There was a twist that kept me interested and I enjoyed the book and the plot but found it finished quite quickly.
I really enjoyed the chapters and found that they kept the story moving and interesting, it was a great short read for young adults.
~ Kelly Mason, NetGalley
A lovely coming of age tale about a boy who is subtly "different": Growing up in Bakersfield, the son of a strict Alabama-raised father and a generous, open-minded Hispanic mother, Ben sees ghosts. A young girl who appears to alert him to potential danger he names Abby. She doesn't speak, but his late grandmother does. His father thinks he needs psychiatric help; his mother believes, and nourishes Ben's truth. Ben faces the decision every day to turn aside from his gift, or to fully embrace it.
This novel I recommend to all. It's heartwarming, encouraging, and inspiring. Ben is twelve and thirteen during the story, but readers of all ages can discover excitement and encouragement within these well-written pages. ~ Mallory Haws, NetGalley
Stafford Betty’s new book is an adventure-filled paranormal love story about a clairvoyant boy who sees and talks to spirits, both good and bad. This unusual and beautifully written novel will steal the hearts of both boys and girls in middle grade and beyond.
~ Dr. Glenda Hudson, Professor of Victorian and Children’s Literature, California State University
This is a wonderful book about a kid named Ben and a dead girl his own age. She appears in spirit many times throughout the book, giving him advice and hinting why they feel such love for each other. I compare this book to the Magnus Chase series in the sphere of inter-worldly connection. This is one of the best books I have ever read, and I can predict that people who pick it out over all the other books that are available will not be disappointed. ~ Isaac Haney, 12-year-old reader