Ghostlight, by Sonia Gensler; Alfred A. Knopf, $16.99, 256 pages, ages 11 and up.
Every summer, twelve-year-old Avery May Hilliard laments, in pitch-perfect tween style, that nothing exciting happens at her grandmother’s quiet farm. Well, that all changes when Julian comes to town. He wants to shoot a haunted-house movie at an abandoned mansion called Hilliard House, and Avery is thrilled at the prospect. Here’s the rub: Avery’s grandmother has forbidden her to enter the premises. Of course, Avery jumps at the chance, and while filming, all sorts of creepy things happen. Gensler, whose previous middle-grade novels include The Dark Between and The Revenant, has conjured a perfectly spooky story about ghosts, growing up, and facing one’s fears. While Ghostlight flirts with elements from ‘The Blair Witch Project,’ there’s nothing here that will keep kids (or their parents) up at night. Equal parts detective novel, ghost story, and coming-of-age narrative, Ghostlight is a great choice for middle-grade readers who enjoy reading thrillers but don’t want to be terrified out of their wits.