From PEN Award–winning author Carol Lynch Williams comes a “haunting read” (Booklist) in this coming-of-age tale about a girl who can talk to the dead—even if she would rather not.
Evie Messenger knows that her family is different from other families. But it isn’t until her fifteenth birthday that the Messenger gift is revealed to her. Evie has the family’s gift—a special power. Soon she realizes she is able to see and talk to the dead—ghosts—often with no idea who the person was. Or as Evie says: “I see Dead People. It’s a Messenger gift.” That doesn’t necessarily mean she wants the Messenger gift. So Evie tries to ignore it but soon she finds she cannot. Can Evie find a way to live her life without letting her power take over?And what if the dead person is someone close to Evie’s family?
Williams's engaging, supernatural-tinged novel opens in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., on Evie Messenger's 15th birthday the day that Messenger women are traditionally bestowed with a special skill that determines their life path. When no new ability presents itself, Evie assumes that the "Messenger Gift" has skipped a generation. After a few days, though, she realizes that Tommie the intrusive girl who has dogged her ever since her birthday party is a ghost, and that Evie isn't just able to communicate with spirits but is expected to help them cross over. Being a teenager is difficult enough without having to tackle the dead's unresolved issues, too. Can Evie strike a balance, or will her gift render normal life impossible? Relatable characters and a down-to-earth narrative carry Williams's story to a pat yet emotionally gratifying conclusion. The plot is slight, but clever twists and efficient worldbuilding keep the pace swift, and Williams (Never Said) makes smart use of her premise to encapsulate what it's like to straddle the line between childhood and adolescence. Ages 12 up.