The Girl with the Ghost Machine

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Author: Lauren DeStefano
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Pages: 224

Author Website|Book Depository|Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis: When Emmaline Beaumont’s father started building the ghost machine, she didn’t expect it to bring her mother back from the dead. But by locking himself in the basement to toil away at his hopes, Monsieur Beaumont has become obsessed with the contraption and neglected the living, and Emmaline is tired of feeling forgotten.Nothing good has come from building the ghost machine, and Emmaline decides that the only way to bring her father back will be to make the ghost machine work…or destroy it forever.

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My Review

This is one of those middle grade books that I couldn’t stop reading. I don’t always get through those reads quickly and I’m not always sure what to expect when I start one, but I instantly found that I moved along this novel at a rapid pace and it wasn’t because it was a short read but because the story really caught my attention.

It’s a novel about losing a loved one and what it means for them to be gone, how life moves on, and how to keep going forward even when faced with the ability to see them for moments at a time. The idea that a memory is lost for every moment you get to spend with the deceased, is a bit daunting and painful. Faced with that chance, how far would we go to keep seeing their faces, to hold them, to love them just a little longer?

I felt I could connect in some parts with Emmaline, but not always with the same mentality. She was stronger than most of us would be in that situation, having to choose at her young teenage existence to never see her mother again in this world. I understood her concerns and the heartache she felt from having a father that was gone to everyone around him while he worked on the ghost machine for all those years, but I don’t know if I would be able to walk away from something that life changing.

While I contemplated such a decision, the characters gave their many reasons as to why it would be best to make that tough choice and walk away from something so promising. It’s a read that makes you wonder about possibilities and how strong we all really are. Some parts of this novel were harder to read through as there is more than one lost loved one, making them question everything they have already decided on.

I could see how people might want to walk away from such a machine that could perhaps be the most ground breaking thing to happen to the world, but I was not completely convinced with Emmaline’s father and his choices, after so many years it just didn’t feel plausible, but I do understand that this is a middle grade novel and the latter would have made for a much more heartbreaking read. But, that aside I did get taken in by its content and how it made us question what we would do in that situation. It’s not something my boys might read anytime soon, but it’s one I will more than likely get for them as they get older.

***I received this copy from Bloomsbury USA Childrens via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***


  1. Jana Leah

    November 11, 2017 at 6:11 am

    This has such a cool title & it sounds really good, too.

  2. Fee Roberts

    December 2, 2017 at 12:52 am

    This sounds so good. I love middle grade reads.


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