Thursday, October 12, 2023

Today's read... Double O Stephen and the Ghostly Realm by Angela Ahn

Today's read hit the shelves last year and caught my interest not only do to the 'ghostly realm' but the hints of pirates. It's been awhile since I dove into a salty seas adventure and combining it with haunts sounds perfect for October. It should have tons of adventure and fun, so I'm excited to see how exciting this one gets.

by Angela Ahn
Tundra Books
Middle Grade Fantasy
320 pages

Ghosts, pirates and family secrets -- Stephen gets more than he bargained for when he seeks out adventure in the ghostly realm, for fans of When You Trap a Tiger.

Stephen loves pirates. What he doesn't love is his name: Stephen Oh-O'Driscoll. He believes when his Korean mother and Irish father gave him this name, that it was just one cruel setup for being teased. Giving things the proper name is important, which is why Stephen thinks that it's time to update the definition of pirate. They've got a bad rep, and maybe they deserve some of it, but Stephen still likes a few pirate traditions, like bandannas and eyepatches -- he's just not that into stealing things from people. He has the perfect new word: piventurate. A sailor who passionately seeks adventure. That's what he wants to be.

When he gets suspended from school for doing proper piventurate-in-training things (using sticks to practice sword fighting), his mother doesn't let him sit around doing nothing, instead she takes him to a museum. At the museum everything changes. Stephen finds himself in a strange new place, face-to-face with a real pirate. A pirate ghost.

Captain Sapperton needs Stephen's help to cross to the other side, and his former ghost crew are intent on making sure Stephen follows through, whatever it takes. Stephen is about to discover the true meaning of piventurate, and much to his surprise, his adventure will not only take him farther into the ghostly realm, but also closer to home, where long-held family secrets reveal surprising ties to the spirit world.

GOODREADS    /    B&N    /    AMAZON


With pirate antics and ghostly fun, this is an adventure with heart and more.

Stephen loves pirates, a passion which irritates his mother since he tends to go overboard...not to mention the ties it creates to his father, which his mother isn't keen on, either. When Stephen's pirate training lands him in school suspension, his mother takes him to the museum There, everything changes. Now, the adventure is real.

This is an imagination packed adventure with a main character, who is fun and has heart. Stephen's love for pirates borders on an obsession. It is an obsession, but he also has a best friend, who's ready to share the passion with him. The first scenes demonstrate a healthy friendship and the mischief kids can get into, while displaying how different adults can see things as opposed to kid eyes. This sets the tone of adventure as Stephen's fantasy clashes against adult expectations. But he doesn't have time to care. After all, there are dangerous paranormal battles to be fought (which adults would never believe, anyway). The stakes aren't really super high, making this a gentler read than might be expected. So, it's a fun tale with the general age group in mind.

There are emotions built in with the family problems and heart as Stephen does his best to balance everything and fight ghosts along the way. Unfortunately, the mother comes across as unpleasant and the father a side-note. A few moments and scenes drag, where action would have been more productive, but all of it still comes across nicely enough to make it a well-rounded tale.

This seems to be the first book in a new series, and it lays the groundwork well. There is the promise of more to come, and it will be interesting to see what Stephen will find himself up against next.

And here she is...

ANGELA AHN is a former teacher and librarian. She is the author of several children’s books, including Krista Kim-Bap and Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field, which was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award and the OLA Silver Birch Award, and was named a USBBY Outstanding International Book. She lives in Vancouver, B.C., with her family.

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