Alright! Here is your first review of the week. I have two more coming. Please keep in mind that I may be MIA for the next week, because I am going to France. I’m going to try to take some things to read with me, but there is no chance you will get them as reviews until I get back in March. Depending on how much I can read in the next three days, will determine what sort of book reviews you will get in the next few weeks.
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
The Forgotten Girl by India Hill Brown
Synopsis From The Book
“Do you know what it feels like to be forgotten?”
On a cold winter night, Iris and her best friend, Daniel, sneak into a clearing in the woods to play in the freshly fallen snow. There, Iris carefully makes a perfect snow angel — only to find the crumbling gravestone of a young girl, Avery Moore, right beneath her.
Immediately, strange things start to happen to Iris: She begins having vivid nightmares. She wakes up to find her bedroom window wide open, letting in the snow. She thinks she sees the shadow of a girl lurking in the woods. And she feels the pull of the abandoned grave, calling her back to the clearing…
Obsessed with figuring out what’s going on, Iris and Daniel start to research the area for a school project. They discover that Avery’s grave is actually part of a neglected and forgotten Black cemetery, dating back to a time when White and Black people were kept separate in life — and in death. As Iris and Daniel learn more about their town’s past, they become determined to restore Avery’s grave and finally have proper respect paid to Avery and the others buried there.
But they have awakened a jealous and demanding ghost, one that’s not satisfied with their plans for getting recognition. One that is searching for a best friend forever — no matter what the cost.
The Forgotten Girl is both a spooky original ghost story and a timely and important storyline about reclaiming an abandoned segregated cemetery.
Horror | MG – PW |Near Death from Ghost, Microaggressions | To be Forgotten, Lost Histories, Loss
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Alright, I’ve heard a lot about this book online. I know that it is Middle Grade, and a ghost story. (Ghost stories in February? I’ll be.) It’s probably going to be a quick read for me and I do hope that in some ways it lives up to the hype about it. IDK if it will.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
It had a lot more race microaggressions than I was expecting. Not in a bad way. It was done in a realistic way, that had me spinning. The horror did not get me, but for a younger audience I think that this book could be pretty terrifying. It is also extremely informative, which is always a bonus for books. I did like it.
It’s the first snow of the year and Iris has to go out and play. Signaling Daniel, her best friend from the house next door, they sneak out. The two of them go into the woods where they are told not to go and end up making snow angels. Iris makes hers over the grave of a girl. In the snow they realize that they happened upon a forgotten grave site. Iris snow Angel rests over Avery Moore.
That night Iris swears that she sees a girl who she thinks is Avery, and the next day she and Daniel are assigned a project in school to talk about some history of their town. The two decide on forgotten grave sites. In their research they discover that graves were segregated in their town and that the one they happened upon was an all black cemetery. Daniel wants to only research in the library, the cemetery hitting too close to home for him. His father died only recently, and he is still reeling in the loss. He doesn’t play basketball anymore and doesn’t talk to most people anymore.
Iris, on the other hand, is being haunted by Avery. She is trying to keep herself collected but it feels like she can’t please anyone. Her step choreography goes well but she is so tired from all the hauntings. The two learn that Avery was one of the nine kids that desegregated their middle school, and try to convince the club of their school to help cleaning up the grave. Their club won’t listen. Iris and Daniel get into a fight when Dnaiel refuses to try to learn more about Avery because Avery is haunting her. He doesn’t believe her and Iris calls him a baby.
A blizzard begins. Daniel finds out from his grandmother that Avery Moore was her best friend that died in the snow, frozen to death and no one remembered her. Daniel realizes that Iris might be right about the ghost, and that he was jealous because his father would not visit him. He gets to Iris’ house to find Iris’ little sister alone. She tells Daniel that Avery took Iris to go swimming. Daniel rushes to the pond to find Iris being drowned by Avery. He saves Iris, and they are guided home by a warm spirit (Daniel’s dad). They find that Avery has kidnapped Iris’ little sister.
With Daniel’s grandmother’s help, they convince Avery to let Iris’ sister go, and that they will let the whole town remember her. Daniel and Iris do their presentation. Their project is picked by the school cleanup club, and they get news recognition. Many people are able to find lost loved ones with the gravesite being found.
What I Liked:
Iris; She was a rule breaker, but within reason. She never tried to do anything that drew attention to herself in a negative light, and yet everyone always thought she broke the rules. She was often forgotten and so for the ghost to latch on to her because of being forgotten, my heart aches for Iris. She knows how it feels. The poor girl. I’m happy she had the family and friends that she did.
Daniel; This poor boy was still living in the loss of his father. He is a strong boy, and fought for his friend. I hope that he gets only the best in his life for the future, even when he knows how the world will view him.
Family members; What a strong family connection they have. Daniel’s and Iris’ families are close, and that means something to me. They will support each other always.
Ghosts; Avery was a vengeful spirit, having been so cold for so long, but Cecil (Danil’s father) was an angel of sorts. Avery was scary, but also sympathetic, the poor girl.
Microaggressions; This, I was not prepared for. The microaggressions of being “forgotten” for school things like pictures or award shows. The ones of Heather, Iris’ classmate, and their teacher only ever hearing when Iris raised her voice. The policeman stopping Daniel in a storm and accusing Daniel of being a potential trespasser, when Daniel was about to ask for the policeman’s help. All of it. I was not prepared and I should have been, because it is real. I think these things made the book all that more real, and in that way all that more scary. Regardless of the ghosts.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
I would have liked a bit more horror, but for a middle grade novel it is scary.
My notes that I was collecting them got drenched with tea, so… I can’t decipher. Sorry. I really should not read at work but no one can stop me.