Review: The Ghost Collector

From the publisher:

Ghosts aren’t meant to stick around forever…

Shelly and her grandmother catch ghosts. In their hair.

Just like all the women in their family, they can see souls who haven’t transitioned yet; it’s their job to help the ghosts along their journey. When Shelly’s mom dies suddenly, Shelly’s relationship to ghosts—and death—changes. Instead of helping spirits move on, Shelly starts hoarding them. But no matter how many ghost cats, dogs, or people she hides in her room, Shelly can’t ignore the one ghost that’s missing. Why hasn’t her mom’s ghost come home yet?

Rooted in a Cree worldview and inspired by stories about the author’s great-grandmother’s life, The Ghost Collector delves into questions of grief and loss, and introduces an exciting new voice in tween fiction that will appeal to fans of Kate DiCamillo’s Louisiana’s Way Home and Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls.


This was a really great, short, read. I can imagine myself reading this book with my daughter when she is around 5th/6th grade. As a parent, it helps to know the plot of the story going into it. I’m glad they disclosed that Shelly’s mother passes away in the story prior to diving in.

The plot itself was really simple and refreshing in it’s approach. I had never heard of the Cree worldview with the belief that ghosts can be trapped in the hair of those who can collect them. I loved how the story shared the richness of what ghosts can be. Sounds that scare those of us who do not ‘see’ the ghosts end up being a variety of thing… like mice that have been hunted and killed by a neighbor’s very zealous cat. Birds that get trapped inside after being killed against high rise buildings.

Even the human ghosts are diverse. I think I cried more over the loss of a certain ghost than I did of Shelly’s mother. I thought it was a clever way for all of us, the reader and Shelly, to let go of the grief that you hold on to a bit in this story.

I’d rate this a 4/5 stars. I would love to read more from this author and look forward to seeing more of her books hit the shelves.

book review

Jessica Means View All →

My professional background in biotechnology as a research chemist and as a veterinary technician has allowed me to have experienced two vastly different fields and for that I am thankful. In both careers, I have mentored, encouraged, and developed talent.

As a mother of two (a daughter and a son), I'm a self-proclaimed backyard chicken guru and someone who has “foster failed” nearly all the animals currently running the household. Oh, and I maintain a husband in my spare time.

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