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The Girl with the Ghost Machine

Review

The Girl with the Ghost Machine

When Emmaline Beaumont’s mother dies quite suddenly, her family’s life changes forever. Now left alone with just her father, Emmaline soon begins to feel like she has, in fact, lost both parents, as her father becomes obsessed with the idea of inventing a machine that will bring his wife back to him.

Emmaline’s resentment grows and grows towards the machine --- what’s the point, when it doesn’t even work, anyway? She soon decides to take matters into her own hands and destroy the contraption in the hopes of getting her father back. Little does she know that her actions will lead to a fantastic and heart-wrenching discovery.

"This is a surprisingly philosophical book that explores questions around grief, loss and memory....THE GIRL WITH THE GHOST MACHINE has a timeless feel to it...."

DeStefano’s third middle grade book is an emotional and thought-provoking read. Emmaline is a relatable character, particularly to any young people who have suffered loss themselves, and her resentment about being forgotten by her father will strike a chord with even those who haven’t lost a parent. Her friendship with twin boys Oliver and Gully is both uplifting and devastating in equal measure and the plot has several unexpected twists which will have more than a few readers reaching for the tissues.

This is a surprisingly philosophical book that explores questions around grief, loss and memory --- it’s genuinely surprising how much DeStefano has fit into a relatively short book without it feeling preachy or like an “issues book” with a flimsy plot trying to disguise this. Whilst having a contemporary setting, THE GIRL WITH THE GHOST MACHINE has a timeless feel to it, presumably because the themes within are themselves timeless. DeStefano has written a sensitive yet challenging read that would make for some very interesting discussions.

Reviewed by Becca Watts on June 27, 2017

The Girl with the Ghost Machine
by Lauren DeStefano