Book Review: The Girl with the Ghost Machine by Lauren DeStefano

The Girl with the Ghost Machine by Lauren DeStefano is a middle grade novel. When Emmaline Beaumont's father started building the ghost machine, she didn't expect it to bring her mother back from the dead. But by locking himself in the basement to toil away at his hopes, Monsieur Beaumont has become obsessed with the contraption and neglected the living, and Emmaline is tired of feeling forgotten. Nothing good has come from building the ghost machine, and Emmaline decides that the only way to bring her father back will be to make the ghost machine work, or destroy it forever.

The Girl with the Ghost Machine is a heart breaking novel about loss, friendship, family, and grief. Emmaline has learned to survive after the loss of her mother, and her father's obsession with the ghost machine he has built. She is taking care of herself quite well, with the support of her two best friends, at least until in an attempt to destroy the machine she figures out how to make it work. The conflicts and emotions were very poignant, and felt real. The characters were dynamic and had a good mixture of the expected and surprises in their personality and actions. I rode the roller coaster of Emmaline's emotions, and was engaged through the whole read. The book comes mainly from Emmaline's point of view, but we occasionally get the viewpoints of others, which gives readers a better overall picture of the action and state of the entire cast of characters. I will admit that there is a twist, and that I saw it coming. It was like watching a horrible accident unfold in a movie when you know something is coming, and want to shout at the characters, but can do nothing to stop it. The story crushed me many times, in many ways, but it also gave me hope and warmed my heart. 

The Girl with the Ghost Machine is an engaging read that torn at my heart, and then put it back together. The characters and their pain was so real that I think the story will touch, and stick with, many readers. 

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