________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 2. . . .September 13, 2013



Gail Gallant.
Toronto, ON: Doubleday Canada, 2013.
273 pp., trade pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-0-385-67962-6.

Grades 8-12 / Ages 13-17.

Review by Courtney Novotny.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



When I step inside Morris Dyson’s house, I’m so nervous I can barely look up at him. We shake hands, then he invites me to take a seat in the kitchen and offers me a cup of tea. It feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I take a deep breath and force myself to get to the point.

“Mr. Dyson, there’s something I need to ask you. What did you mean when you said there was something paranormal going on in the barn? When you phoned me after Matthew’s funeral, I had this feeling that, that maybe you meant…I don’t know, like a ghost or something. I just need to know if you believe in ghosts.”


Amelia, 16, is a young clairvoyant who navigates the line between the alive and dead in Apparition. In an old, haunted barn in eerie Grey County, strange things are going on and have been for years. Young men are drawn into the barn and don’t come out alive. When Amelia’s best friend and secret love interest, Matthew, becomes the latest victim of the barn and its ghosts, Amelia is drawn into the story and the barn to try to solve its secrets.

     After Matthew’s incident, Morris Dyson, a ghost researcher, contacts Amelia to get her help with connecting with the ghosts in the barn. Morris conveniently knew Amelia’s mother years before and suspects that she is also a clairvoyant like her mother. The two begin to investigate the barn and its ghosts to try and solve the mystery that has plagued the community for years.

     To complicate her life further, Amelia meets Kip, Morris’s teenaged son, and although she is struggling with losing Matthew, she begins to have feelings for Kip. Her struggle deepens as she tries to like someone new and living while still harboring feelings for Matthew and his ghost, who now haunts the barn. Haunting events continue to occur in the barn, and when Amelia’s brother is nearly the next victim, that event causes Amelia and Morris to want to try and solve the mystery even more and release the community of the barn’s curse.

     Compellingly eerie and well-told, Apparition will draw readers in as they try to sort out the mystery of the haunted barn, its ghosts, and how they are all connected. There are a few gory, graphic scenes which strengthen the haunting quality of the story and bring it up a notch in the spooky and scary category. The mystery of the old barn and its ghosts carries the story along and will keep readers guessing. The nice balance between the mystery of the ghost story and Amelia’s coming of age fits the book nicely into young adult fiction. Readers of mystery, romance, and ghost stories will all appreciate the story.

     An open ending leaves room for the sequel, Absolution, to be published in 2014.


Courtney Novotny is a Children, Teens, and Families Librarian at Calgary Public Library in Calgary, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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