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School Spirit: Suddenly Supernatural    by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel Amazon.com order for
School Spirit
by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

When I was younger, I always liked reading books with ghosts and other supernatural beings, but I would always get scared. However, Elizabeth Cody Kimmel's new series, Suddenly Supernatural, is not meant to frighten. The first book, School Spirit, has more horror from catty middle-school girls than from ghostly hauntings.

Kat is just trying to survive middle school and not let her mother's odd eccentricities as the town medium ruin her chance at popularity. Unfortunately for Kat, she recently developed spirit-sensing abilities of her own. She tries to keep a low profile about this at school until she finds a friend to confide in. Jac is willing to accept Kat's unique gift and even shares a secret of her own although she has the promise to be a world-class cello player, she has not touched her instrument for months. Together, they encounter a musically-inclined ghost, the spirit of a flautist from their school who died in 1960. If Kat wants to help the ghost girl and her new best friend, she is going to have to get over the fear of following in her mother's footsteps.

School Spirit is a story about accepting who you are, about friendship, and about surviving middle school more than it is about ghosts. Sure, there are plenty of spirits and a great ghostly mystery, but Kat's acceptance of her gift and her new friendship with Jac are at the heart of the tale. Kimmel does an excellent job of conveying the cattiness found in some middle school girls and other horrors of seventh grade in a way to which younger readers can relate. Plus, Jac is totally cool in her own way and the type of friend every middle school girl should want to have.

While School Spirit does contain a great ghost story, Elizabeth Cody Kimmel also shows (not tells) how a good friendship is better than popularity. She also leaves enough unanswered questions at the end to get readers excited about the next Suddenly Supernatural book and Kat and Jac's further adventures.

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