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Pluto's Ghost    by Sheree Fitch order for
Pluto's Ghost
by Sheree Fitch
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday Canada, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Sheree Fitch's Pluto's Ghost opens on the rough arrest of angry bad boy Jake Upshore for murder in a graveyard in Halifax, Nova Scotia. There's 'one body bag / one stretcher / tombstones / blood-soaked earth being cordoned off by yellow tape / evidence'. Who's dead and how did it happen? These questions pull reader interest through the edgy yet lyrical story, which is told from Jake's point of view.

Eighteen-year-old motherless Jake Upshore fell hard for A-student Skye Derucci in kindergarten, though their lives (in small town Poplar Hills) have been very different ever since. Dyslexic and an 'audio-olfactory-gustatory synaesthete', Jake has always had trouble with school and knows he's seen as a 'fug. As in majorly f*&#d up-guy.' He's only responded well to Shep (Ms. Shepherd), 'one dynamite teacher' who believes that 'the student appears when the teacher is ready.'

Jake and Skye keep their new relationship a secret. To Skye's big cheese cop father, Jake is in the same league as 'Pluto, god of the underworld himself'. But he admits to being 'guilty of only one thing for sure - losing my way because of Skye. Loving her way too much.'

Disaster erupts in Jake's life one Wednesday in March when the gossip mill announces that Skye is pregnant with his child and has gone with her mother to Halifax to have an abortion. Jake, who has a good relationship with his dad, seeks his advice but is too impatient to wait for his help. He steals a car and heads for Halifax, with both dangerous and mystical encounters along the way. When he finally catches up with Skye, he's not alone, violence erupts, and Jake finally learns why she and her mother fled.

Pluto's Ghost is an intense, gripping read. You won't be able to put it down until the very last page, which you'll be happy to find ends for Jake in hope, love and 'Endless possibilities.'

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