Reviews for Ghost Sonata
Booklist Reviews 2007 September #1
Killer ghosts and tarot death cards give spooky messages in the latest about the smart teen detective, Gilda Joyce which began with Psychic Investigator (2005). Gilda accompanies her best friend to an international piano competition in Oxford, England. The suspense builds nicely (Is there a serial killer after the students? Is a ghost looking for someone to take its place), and there's lots of romantic comedy and hilarious play with Briticisms, as when Gilda is snogging in the graveyard with a cute English boy. Once again, Allison uses moments familiar to us all in a haunting story. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.
Booklist Reviews 2011 May #1
The mystery is close to home in this fifth title in the Gilda Joyce Psychic Investigator series, which begins with the teen sleuth's realization that her single mom is lying about an upcoming vacation with a friend. Sure enough, when her mother returns, Gilda discovers that her mother was exploring a new romance, which has blossomed rapidly into an engagement, and the whole family is heading to Florida for the abruptly planned wedding. On arrival in small St. Augustine, Gilda finds the town crawling with ghosts, and although she usually relishes encounters with the supernatural, she becomes increasingly concerned about her mother's odd behavior and a deeply spooky past her mother's fiancé seems to be hiding. Once again, Allison uses a variety of inventive formats, including letters, spy reports, and dreams, to tell an original, otherworldly mystery that finds humor in the realistic, emotional complexity that comes with blending families: Gilda types up a new family member application for her potential stepfather, for example. As smart and spirited as ever, Gilda will attract newcomers while continuing to please her fans. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.
Booklist Reviews 2009 May #1
First you have to get past the fact that 14-year-old Gilda Joyce, psychic detective, has gotten herself an internship at Washington, D.C.'s International Spy MuseumÂ and shares an apartment with a twentysomething. (True, her application did say she was 15.) But this book, one of the strongest in the series, is full of excitement as itÂ pulls together lots ofÂ plotlinesÂ (the inner workings of the International Spy Museum! ColdÂ war spies!Â Psychic spies!) into a bustling,Â often-amusingÂ read. Gilda is as sassy as ever, and though she doesn't always come across as aÂ real teen, she certainly comes across as fun. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.
Booklist Reviews 2006 October #2
The spirited sleuth who first appeared in Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator (2005) is less than pleased when her mother enrolls her in a well-respected (but somewhat quirky) Catholic girls school. Gilda's only solace is the rumor that the place is haunted. Though virtually all the adults are played for laughs and the plot could have used some tightening, sassy, stubborn Gilda shines, and an admirable lesson about compassion is gently but firmly tucked between chuckles. ((Reviewed October 15, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Spring
When her best friend Wendy is invited to compete in a piano competition in Oxford, England, Gilda Joyce tags along as official page turner and unofficial psychic investigator, with plenty of spiritualist tools (and fabulous hats) in tow. Gilda's imaginative flair fuels plenty of humor and drama, while the combination of stiff competition and Wendy's ominous nightmares contribute to the suspense. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Spring
In this second novel featuring "psychic investigator" Gilda Joyce, the setting is exclusive girls' school Our Lady of Sorrows. After learning of a student's drowning in the nearby lake, Gilda vows to untangle the circumstances surrounding the girl's death by using journalistic techniques, creative traps, and her supposed psychic powers. Humorous misadventures lighten a genuinely intriguing mystery full of spooky supernatural elements. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
When her mother announces imminent plans to marry a man she's just met online, Gilda Joyce's psychic suspicions are immediately roused. A destination wedding in history-rich St. Augustine, Florida, would certainly seem to invite ghosts--and Gilda is determined to find some. The combination of a well-meaning, resolute heroine with a vivid setting results in a lively story that's both funny and suspenseful. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2007 July #1
Irrepressible Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator, is at it again. This time it's across the pond in Oxford, England. Gilda manages to wangle a position as a page-turner for her best friend, Wendy Choy, who has been selected to compete in an international piano competition. Wendy's chilling nightmares combined with a variety of otherworldly happenings force Gilda to take a case once again. Donning her cat-eye sunglasses and her various outfits selected especially for her English holiday, Gilda finds herself combing the streets of London, looking for what is behind the genuine haunting. Gilda is determined to stay focused, but the cute English boys make it difficult. Allison's endearingly odd heroine will once again capture readers' affections while the mystery will keep the pages turning and the midnight oil burning. Offbeat and spine-chilling. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews 2011 May #2
In this fifth Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator installment, amateur sleuth Gilda travels to historic St. Augustine to encounter a ghostly woman in white and ends up literally buried in another baffling mystery.
Horrified when her mother returns from a getaway weekend in St. Augustine engaged to an antiques dealer named Eugene Pook, whom she met on the Internet and plans to marry immediately, Gilda experiences her "psychic signal," a tickling in her left ear, warning something unusual or dangerous is about to occur. Arriving in St. Augustine for the wedding, Gilda finds Eugene to be "older, plump, walruslike" and definitely weird. She loves the ghost tour of St. Augustine, "one of the most haunted cities in the entire United States," but is surprised when Eugene's 12-year-old neighbor confesses she's seen a spectral woman in white in his house. Gilda discovers Eugene had been jilted years before by his fiancÃƒÂ©e, Charlotte, who looked just like Gilda's mother and mysteriously vanished. Now Eugene seems to be re-creating his aborted wedding. Could the woman in white be Charlotte's ghost? Local ghost tales, Gilda's spy records, letters and travelogue flesh out the account of how this sassy wannabe investigator tries to save her mother from Charlotte's fate.Gilda fans will rally to her latest caper, while newcomers should revel in her ghostly escapades in old St. Augustine. (Mystery. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 August #2
The heroine first introduced in Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator (to which PW gave a starred review) returns in Jennifer Allison's Gilda Joyce: The Ghost Sonata, the third title in the series. This time Gilda must unravel the mystery surrounding a piano virtuoso's death before her best friend falls victim to the same fate. (Dutton, $15.99 288p ages 10-up ISBN 9780-525-47808-9; Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 May #1
PW's starred review said of Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator, "Jennifer Allison's debut novel introduces a spunky, appealingly eccentric 13-year-old who identifies with Harriet the Spy and may well rival her for readers' affections." Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake finds the heroine at the heart of a mystery involving the drowning death of a student whose ghost supposedly haunts the private girls' high school that Gilda is attending on a scholarship. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2007 August
Gr 5-8-- Gilda manages to talk her way into accompanying a group of young musical prodigies traveling to England to compete in the Young International Virtuosos Piano Competition. With more spunk than musical ability, she volunteers to serve as her friend Wendy Choy's page turner with potentially disastrous results. Gilda hopes that Oxford's hallowed halls will offer her plenty of opportunities to commune with ghosts and hone her psychic abilities, but she soon discovers that it is Wendy who is being haunted. Gilda's irrepressible spirit continues in this third volume, as does her eccentric fashion flair. While occasionally distracted by her interest in an attractive competitor, she manages to protect and support her friend and uncover a long-buried mystery in the process. Wendy figures more prominently in this book: several chapters are told in her voice and she provides a window into the challenging life of a high-achieving young pianist. The novel is wonderfully paced and clues are dropped subtly as the story progresses. Gilda's fascination with Brit-speak also provides a healthy dose of humor. This is an excellent addition to an already strong series.--Kathleen Meulen, Blakely Elementary School, Bainbridge Island, WA [Page 109]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2009 June
Gr 5-8--In her latest psychic investigation, Gilda Joyce, "fourteen years and 11 months," has slightly fudged her age to land a summer internship at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. There she encounters a variety of characters, from spy museum summer campers to a former KGB agent, to her longtime psychic idol and mentor, Balthazar Frobenius. The humor, pacing, and story line are all top-notch, and Allison succeeds at breathing life into the entire cast. Gilda seems even more grown up and independent with as much, if not more, chutzpah than in her previous adventures. She retains and further develops her psychic powers that allow her to figure out and find the "dead drop," an agreed-upon place where spies leave crucial information for one another (and for government officials). Yet Gilda also shows some investigative restraint when it comes to equally important matters such as the questionable relationship between her brother and her best friend. This is a well-told story with a tenacious, yet completely endearing heroine. Allison creates a summer anyone would envy--anyone interested in intrigue, adventure, fashion, and the truth, that is.--Tracy Weiskind, Chicago Public Library [Page 114]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Review 2006 September
Gr 6-9 Gilda Joyce, psychic investigator, makes a return appearance in this comic mystery set at a swanky Catholic girlsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ school where she is a new student on scholarship. Our Lady of Sorrows seems haunted by the ghost of a student who drowned three years earlier. GildaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s encounters with the headmistress, a handsome teacher, and a small group of popular senior girls lead her to a situation in which she might solve the mystery at the expense of her own safety. Meanwhile, sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not crazy about her widowed motherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unemployed boyfriend. Gilda is a verbal, funny, engaging character whose self-confidence and fearlessness are more reminiscent of Nancy Drew than Sammy Keyes. And, like the classic old series mysteries, this one has an exaggerated sense of reality that usually works well. Occasionally the mix of humor and spookiness doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t quite mesh, and an anti-hazing plot is worthwhile but a bit heavy on the didacticism. More often, though, this is an intriguing story filled with surprise and suspense. Its length is a plus in that it allows for more complexity. (For instance, MomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s boyfriend turns out to be not quite the clown that Gilda had imagined.) Overall, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an irreverent, well-written addition to the too-small collection of engrossing mysteries for junior high readers.Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL [Page 200]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2007 August
Psychic investigator Gilda Joyce is determined to accompany her best friend, Wendy Choy, to England where she has been invited to participate in The Young International Virtuosos piano competition. Gilda jumps at the chance to be Wendy's page turner. Off they go to Oxford with teacher Mrs. Mendelovich and two other piano students. Before boarding the airplane, Gilda does a tarot card reading for Wendy to calm her down, but unfortunately all the cards are ominous. They show the number nine and death. Upon landing in England, they hurry to Wyntle House, a Victorian guesthouse that does not even have a piano. Wendy is horrified to find that her room is number nine. She cannot sleep, hears a piano playing, and even finds the number nine etched in the frost on her window. Gilda begins her high-powered investigation and discovers that a ghost is haunting not only her best friend but the entire competition. The ghost leads them to the grave of Charles Drummond, a young protégé who died when he was only fourteen. Why has Charles chosen Wendy to haunt and what does he want her to do to let him rest in peace Gilda is a spunky, quirky, very likeable young lady with a sense of humor if not a great sense of fashion. There are several interesting threads in this novel that are not as fully developed as they could be and some unsatisfactory endings, but overall it is a lighthearted, comic romp of a mystery, a genre often neglected in middle school fiction. This third title in the Gilda Joyce series stands alone, but prior knowledge of Gilda and her psychic powers would be helpful.-Kathie Fitch 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2007 Voya Reviews.
VOYA Reviews 2009 August
This book finds teen psychic investigator Gilda working a summer internship at the Spy Museum in Washington DC. Soon after arriving for her first day, Gilda accompanies a museum historian when he picks up some Cold War artifacts from a former KGB spy. Subsequently unusual things begin happening at the museum--a ghost appears, equipment malfunctions, and strange graffiti is found. Gilda cannot resist following clues and attempting to find out what's happening. She does this with the guidance of her dog-eared copy of Master Psychic's Handbook. She is thrilled when she meets the handbook's author, Balthazar Frobenius, and the two join forces to solve the mystery Gilda's quirky character is matched by her fashion sense, which adds a light humor to the story. Young teen readers will quickly find themselves immersed in a very good story and will enjoy following Gilda's journey. Older teen readers might find it difficult to focus on the story when Gilda's character comes across rather unevenly. At times, she is wise beyond her years and other times she is very immature. It is rather unbelievable that a fourteen-year-old would be allowed to go to a strange city alone for a summer and share an apartment with an unknown twenty-something. This fourth series installment builds on Gilda's already established popularity.--Debbie Clifford 3Q 4P M J Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.