Author Anne Ursu
Author Anne Ursu
Author Anne Ursu

Not Quite a Ghost

Now available

From award-winning author Anne Ursu comes a dark, deeply-felt story of illness, of growing up, and of the ghosts that that lurk just beyond our sight—as well as the ones we carry with us.

The house seemed to sit apart from the others on Katydid Street, silent and alone, like it didn’t fit among them. For Violet Hart—whose family is about to move into the house on Katydid Street—very little felt like it fit anymore. Like their old home, suddenly too small since her mother remarried and the new baby arrived. Or Violet’s group of friends, which, since they started middle school, isn’t enough for Violet’s best friend, Paige. Everything seemed to be changing at once. But sometimes, Violet tells herself, change is okay.

That is, until Violet sees her new room. The attic bedroom in their new house is shadowy, creaky, and wrapped in old yellow wallpaper covered with a faded tangle of twisting vines and sickly flowers. And, soon after moving in, Violet falls ill—and does not get better. As days turn into weeks without any improvement, her family growing more confused and her friends wondering if she’s really sick at all, she finds herself spending more and more time alone in the room with the yellow wallpaper, the shadows moving in the corners, wrapping themselves around her at night.

And soon Violet starts to suspect that she might not be alone in the room at all.

Loosely based on Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1892 short story ‘The Yellow Wallpaper,’ this is a story about a haunted house—but it’s also a fresh, modern look at unexplained health issues, COVID-19 anxiety, changing friendships, and blended families… Compulsively readable and relatable, Ursu’s twisty middle grade novel is highly recommended.
School Library Journal

Ursu …maintains a light but decidedly eerie touch as she weaves her ‘not quite a ghost’ story, in which the house itself becomes a character and slowly reveals its secrets, as she simultaneously writes in a compelling way about difficult-to-diagnose, recurring illnesses. And just as with such conditions, there is no neat and facile wrap-up to the haunting narrative.
—[STAR] Horn Book

Ursu draws on familiar elements of ghost stories and the renewed attention Long COVID has brought to chronic illness to create a deeply poignant exploration of what it means to be sick in a way the rest of the world dismisses—if it even acknowledges the illness in the first place.
—[STAR] Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books

Ursu perceptively incorporates middle school drama into a page-turning tale about the difficulties of managing an invisible illness and any accompanying skepticism from friends and healthcare providers.
Publishers Weekly

Not Quite a Ghost is not quite like anything I’ve read. Insightful and creepy, surprising and tense, this ghost story is wonderfully and exuberantly human.
—Eliot Schrefer, New York Times-bestselling author of The Darkness Outside Us