Twelve-year-old Belladonna Johnson has a secret - she can see ghosts. She still lives with her parents, even though they died in an accident two years earlier. At school Belladonna is a loner, as talking to dead people makes her feel like a freak. But she soon finds herself on a dangerous quest as all the ghosts start disappearing, and it turns out that the dead are a lot more important to the living than anyone realised, so Belladonna must journey into the Land of the Dead with the help of the school troublemaker Steve and the ghostly Elsie...
It took a little while for me to get into this novel, but once I did I really enjoyed it. This is kind of an old fashioned children's story, maybe something Enid Blyton would have written if she'd lived in the age of Twilight! It's refreshing to read a story written for a younger audience that doesn't deal with drugs, teenage sex/pregnancy, drinking, bullying etc. Instead this is an action-packed supernatural adventure that is based on ancient mythology: the Greek seer the Sibyl makes an appearance, and the universe is made up of nine worlds. It is intelligently written and well plotted.
Belladonna is a gutsy and resourceful heroine, and a smart and loving daughter and friend. The cast of supporting characters range from Belladonna's apple pie parents to the sinister ghostly alchemist Dr. Ashe and the downright weird of the disembodied prophet.
This is the first in a series, and the story is rounded off nicely, with a hint of what is to come in the sequel, which I would also like to read.