Book Review: The Girl with the Ghost Machine by Lauren DeStefano
ashley | I admittedly do not read a lot of middle grade fiction, but I love Lauren DeStefano and I really enjoyed A Curious Tale of the In-Between enough to pick up her newest middle-grade work The Girl With the Ghost Machine. DeStefano seems to be finding her stride with writing grief stricken stories from a child’s point of view.
Like A Curious Tale, this spends a lot of time dealing with the feelings of loss and loneliness that surround death. However, I found The Girl With the Ghost Machine to be a lot darker and surrounded with a lot more death. Though I didn’t necessarily have the same longing feeling as I did during A Curious Tale and actually felt this was a bit underwhelming.
There were some really great things here though; I loved the dynamic that twins Gully and Oliver gave the book. They were kind of like the devil and the angel on Emmaline’s shoulder, though much less sinister. They were twins, but quite opposite, and provided the two sided debate that exists around the subject of the afterlife. It was really interesting to use these two innocent characters with big, genuine hearts, to provide the two side of the reality of the ghost machine.
This also brought up a lot to think about, specifically what you were willing to give up to see a loved one one more time. I liked the importance it gave memories over fleeting relived moments. It was a really sweet sentiment that I think a lot of people might need in a time of grieving.
I think this would be a great book for anyone, but specifically for youth trying to deal with the complications of grief and loss. It doesn’t give any answers, but there’s something comforting about the essence of memories living within you forever.
june 1, 2017