From moving to a new house to making new friends and preparing for high school, life for the new girl in town can be unsettling. But thirteen year-old Courtney is unprepared for how creepy life in Murmur, Massachusetts turns out to be. Her ivy-covered house overlooking the antiquated cemetery next door is one thing, but Courtney finds herself thrust into a full-fledged haunted adventure after meeting Christian and Margaret Geyer, a strange father and daughter with unfinished family business. The body of their ancestor, Prudence, has gone missing from beneath her ivy-carved tombstone and must be returned to its final resting place in order to break the spell that looms over Courtney's house. To add to the suspense and help solve the mystery, authentic documents and photographs are set at the beginning of each chapter pertaining to Murmur, Courtney's house, and the infamous cemetery. Will Courtney uncover the secret lurking within the dark, dank underbelly of her ivy-covered basement?
Pages tinted with green at the margins, monotone photos printed in green and simulated newspaper clippings and ephemera give a music video like pop to Dahme's first YA novel, a ghost story that is more atmospheric than scary. The first thing Courtney notices about the 18th-century house her parents have bought in historic Murmur, Mass., is the English ivy that climbs over everything. She's also spooked that the house abuts the town cemetery until she meets a father and daughter who awaken her interest in the 1712 tombstone of their ancestor, a 13-year-old girl who lived in Courtney's house; the two of them tell Courtney, who is also 13, that the girl's remains are missing and that her stone, inscribed with ivy, was carved by her father, the town stonecutter. That night Courtney finds carvings on her basement wall, "delicate vines of ivy... whose tendrils curled like baby's hair"; the next time she looks, the carved ivy has grown and spread. Readers are likely to connect the clues before Courtney does, but on the other hand, they can enjoy Dahme's New England style hauntings without risking their sleep. Ages 12 14.