by M.K. Theodoratus
Genre: Supernatural Fantasy
Seeing ghosts has plagued Dumdie Swartz since early childhood.
Afraid that ghost guts might stick to her if she stepped through them, thirteen-year-old Dumdie Swartz still cringes when she encounters them.
Her strange attempts to avoid spirits create a lonely life.
Her sisters constantly mock her strange behavior, her parents are clueless, and her social life is zero. Dumdie finds solace working in a shared garden with her elderly neighbor, Mr. Carson. When teens from her high school steal pumpkins from his garden, Mr. Carson is hurt during the theft, and later, dies.
Dumdie’s life takes a dark turn.
She learns there are stranger things than ghosts, when she senses something evil living in Kyle, one of the boys who had raided the pumpkin patch. Kyle bullies Dumdie to scare her into silence. The more Kyle threatens her, the clearer she perceives the evil thing possessing him. Dumdie finds support in an unlikely group of girls who befriend her when she helps them with their costumes for the Pumpkin festival. During the festival, Dumdie’s fears explode when the thing possessing Kyle decides it wants to possess her.
A prequel to The Ghost in the Closet. Read about Dumdie, young and old.
Dumdie Swartz (a.k.a. Dolores Swartz, but because she liked to sing when she was younger, her older sisters gave her the nickname Dumdie) has had the ability to see ghosts since she was a baby. She sees them and fears them. Now at fourteen and beginning high school, the psychic abilities haven’t stopped. Neither have her fears and how she manages them. Her family wants her to quit being strange. None of them are sympathetic, even the parents. She is alone in this, and when she enters high school, she finds herself up against a football jock, Kyle, who is also acting strange and vicious. When he steals some pumpkins from a joint garden her family and their neighbor, Mr. Carson own, Mr. Carson is hurt during the theft and later dies at the hospital. Kyle threatens Dumdie about talking to the police and suddenly, one day, she sees something behind his eyes—someone else. A demon. Suddenly, ghosts are the least of her problems.
The novella was good and the story hooked me until the end. Though, in my opinion, this could have been a novel and I hope Ms. Theodoratus takes my suggestion. I'd like to see more adventures of teenage Dumdie, in YA novels. Though since she is in high school, maybe write the story that is less of a middle school read as this one felt to me, and upgrade the next ones to young adult.
I admit I'd like to take her family—especially her parents—and knock their heads together. All are such unsympathetic people, all about themselves and not wanting her to embarrass them, and not even trying to understand her. But this makes it easy for Dumdie to act on her own against her protagonist and even to learn how to manage her ghosts and learn not all spirits are out to get her.
I give Ghostcrow: A Tale of Andor 4 stars.
Pamela K. Kinney
About the Author:
Hooked by comic books at an early age, M. K. Theodoratus’ fascination with fantasy solidified when she discovered the Oz books by L. Frank Baum with his strong female characters. She has traveled through many fantasy worlds since then. When she’s not reading about other writer’s worlds, she’s creating her own.
Most of her stories are set in the Far Isles where she explores the political effects of genetic drift on a mixed elf human population. Lately, Theodoratus has been setting her stories in an alternate world of Andor where demons stalk humankind.
A sixth grade English assignment started her writing. The teacher assigned a short story. Theodoratus gave her an incomplete, 25-page Nancy Drew pastiche which turned into a full novel by the next summer. She’s been writing happily ever after ever since…for four or five writing careers. Most recently she’s been concentrating of her Andor stories, set in an alternate world where demons and magic plague humans.