Early Book Review: A Guide to the Other Side (Beyond Baylor) by Robert Imfeld

A Guide to the Other Side is the first book in the Beyond Baylor series by Robert Imfeld. It is currently scheduled for release on October 4 2016. There are a few things you should know about Baylor Bosco: He’s thirteen-years-old, he has a twin sister, and he really does NOT like ghosts…which is problematic because he’s a medium and sees ghosts everywhereOh, and his twin sister, Kristina? She’s a ghost too. They’ve been working as a pair for years, expertly relaying messages from ghosts to their still-living loved ones. Baylor’s even managed to come up with an introductory phrase—one that he has to use far too often. But when a strange ghost shows up close to Halloween, a grown man, covered in a sheet, with only his black leather shoes showing from the bottom, Baylor starts to wonder if something else has taken notice of him. And when his sister goes missing, somehow ghost-napped, he’s forced to figure out the truth about the Sheet Man and his sister’s disappearance, all without his usual ghostly ambassador.

A Guide to the Other Side is the story of a very special middle grade boy that has the ability to see and speak to ghosts. While dealing with the inopportune requests from the other side he still needs to get through school and family life without constantly freaking out other people with his abilities. The added complication of a ghostly twin acting as his companion, confidant, and protector make things more complicated. By the time readers join Baylor on his adventure he is well versed on blending in and feels fairly confident in his skills and place as messenger for the dead. However, things are about to get harder and Baylor needs to face his responsibilities and learn more all aspects of the world around him. I like that he has both scary moments, and some very emotional issues to face. While the mystery of the sheet man and the danger Baylor faces is a huge part of the story, I really love that his emotional growth and understanding- including empathy for his family and friends- is just as important to the story. This is not just a paranormal adventure full of mischief and mayhem, it is also a heartfelt coming of age story, I also enjoyed the fact that while the adults in Baylor’s life dogged upset with him for putting himself in harm’s way and breaking rules, they are also aware and intelligent characters rather than the bumbling adults that seem to frequent children’s fiction. 

A Guide to the Other Side is a wonderful middle grade novel with plenty of heart, excitement, and wonder for readers. I am very glad I read it and can think of many I would recommend it to. 
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