The Girl with the Ghost Machine
What if a machine could bring back the ones we love? From New York Times bestseller Lauren DeStefano comes a captivating middle grade of loss, love and hope.In this beautiful and poignant novel, acclaimed author Lauren DeStefano tells a story love and loss, and what it means to say goodbye. 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 Details

TitleThe Girl with the Ghost Machine
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 6th, 2017
PublisherBloomsbury USA Childrens
ISBN1681194449
ISBN-139781681194448
Number of pages224 pages
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Ghosts, Death

The Girl with the Ghost Machine Review

  • Milana M (acouplereads)
    May 7, 2017
    Read in one sitting. Blubbering mess.
  • Kathy Martin
    May 4, 2017
    Emmaline loses her mother to a sudden illness when she is ten and almost loses her father too. Her father becomes obsessed with creating a ghost machine to bring her mother back. His obsession results in a lack of care for Emmaline. Emmaline comes to resent the machine for the time it takes her father from her but is moving on from her grief while her father is still locked in his.One night, Emmaline pours some tea that she makes, which is just like the tea her mother used to make for her during Emmaline loses her mother to a sudden illness when she is ten and almost loses her father too. Her father becomes obsessed with creating a ghost machine to bring her mother back. His obsession results in a lack of care for Emmaline. Emmaline comes to resent the machine for the time it takes her father from her but is moving on from her grief while her father is still locked in his.One night, Emmaline pours some tea that she makes, which is just like the tea her mother used to make for her during thunderstorms, into the machine. The machine has a reaction finally and Emmaline's mother comes back for a brief period of time. But there is a cost, Emmaline can no longer remember the tea or what her mother was like during thunderstorms. She shares what she learns with her two best friends - twins Gully and Oliver - who have different reactions to Emmaline's mother's return. When Emmaline's father finds out that the machine is working and loses a memory to see his wife again, he begins to lose his obsession and pay more attention to Emmaline though he refuses to unplug the machine. Then tragedy strikes again...This was an amazing story with wonderful language and lots to think about. What would a person give to bring back someone who has died even if it is only for a little while? Is it worth the cost? The story also has a lot to say about grief and moving on with your life and how people take different amounts of time to begin living their life again. I recommend this one to thoughtful middle graders.
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  • Peg
    April 20, 2017
    Thank you to Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for my honest review.It was definitely one of the best I've read. It reminded me of Neil Gaimans' Coraline yet stands so beautifully on its own. The subject matter is tough and because of that I really felt as though I would put it down. I kept going and the further I got into the story the less likely I was to put it down. If I was prone to crying this would have bought me to tears. I mean full out, sobbing my eyes ou Thank you to Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for my honest review.It was definitely one of the best I've read. It reminded me of Neil Gaimans' Coraline yet stands so beautifully on its own. The subject matter is tough and because of that I really felt as though I would put it down. I kept going and the further I got into the story the less likely I was to put it down. If I was prone to crying this would have bought me to tears. I mean full out, sobbing my eyes out crying. I came close.No spoilers from me! Just pick up this book when it's available. I hope you will be blown away by it as I was!
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  • Lori
    May 10, 2017
    I'm not really sure what to say about this one right now or how to rate it. It ended up being a very different book than I thought it was going to be. It has good messages about losing those we love and the memories they leave us with and saying goodbye and moving on but the entire book is horribly sad and full of death. Not a light read at all.
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  • Anni
    April 15, 2017
    Why you gotta make me cry, Lauren!?
  • kerrycat
    May 2, 2017
    Thanks for making me cry again, Lauren.The master of middle grade grief stories strikes again with this tale of a girl on the verge of adolescence who has lost her mother, left with a father who is obsessed with bringing his wife back to life through a machine powered by electricity and memories. Really, that's what this is about - memories, and how those we love who have died are never truly gone as long as we hold onto those memories. The author captures those elusive and strange feelings that Thanks for making me cry again, Lauren.The master of middle grade grief stories strikes again with this tale of a girl on the verge of adolescence who has lost her mother, left with a father who is obsessed with bringing his wife back to life through a machine powered by electricity and memories. Really, that's what this is about - memories, and how those we love who have died are never truly gone as long as we hold onto those memories. The author captures those elusive and strange feelings that are part of the grieving process but are so difficult to articulate, feelings "of watching something slip away when it was so loved and needed" and those specific to the tween/early teen psyche. As always, I recommend her middle grade stories to those who work with children who are traumatized and/or grieving, both for the adult who is helping and the child who is suffering. This age group is often lost/underrepresented in fiction for these situations, and Lauren is my go-to writer for recs as a librarian and as a reader - and as someone who has lost someone she loves and couldn't ever imagine living without (but somehow I do). And as each DeStefano book is better than the last . . . moving on to The Glass Spare.
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  • Leah Rose Kessler
    March 22, 2017
    The Girl with the Ghost Machine is a really lovely book. It sometimes takes me a while to get through a middle grade book, but I couldn't put this one down and read the whole thing in less than 24 hours. It's a book about a sensitive subject and it's done very well. It's raw and honest, yet also very gentle and thoughtful. The author has done a wonderful job of making the reader care about the characters and understand how they're feeling as they deal with great loss in their lives. She's also s The Girl with the Ghost Machine is a really lovely book. It sometimes takes me a while to get through a middle grade book, but I couldn't put this one down and read the whole thing in less than 24 hours. It's a book about a sensitive subject and it's done very well. It's raw and honest, yet also very gentle and thoughtful. The author has done a wonderful job of making the reader care about the characters and understand how they're feeling as they deal with great loss in their lives. She's also snuck advice for how to take care of yourself in the wake of a loss (such as eat food even if you don't want to, allow yourself to smile about small things, etc.) into the story seamlessly.I've been known to cry at a book from time to time, but it's rare that I read a book that makes me weep wholeheartedly. This book did it for me. I really loved it, but it was really really sad. I know some of us may be hesitant to recommend a tearjerker to middle grade age children, but books are such a wonderful, safe way to delve into emotions, and this book does it so kindly and thoughtfully and with such hope. For a child (or adult) dealing with a devastating loss, I think this book could be a good tool to help them work through some of it. For a child who hasn't dealt with death, encountering some of the related concepts and emotions in fiction before real life can be valuable. For all these reasons I don't hesitate to recommend this book.I'd say it's a modern day Bridge to Terabithia, but it doesn't feel especially modern; it has a very timeless quality about it, which is part of its charm.I know the story and the characters will stay with me for a long time.
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  • Camille
    May 28, 2017
    review to come
  • Micah Downey
    May 17, 2017
    Oh Lauren DeStefano, ma'am, you have done it again!! Another beautiful story written so vividly!
  • Dwi Grandison
    March 17, 2017
    The Girl with the Ghost Machine was quite a touching story. For children who are working through a loss this book is like a good friend who has been through what you are going through and understands just how you feel. The characters are well developed and the relationships ring true. I truly enjoyed this book. I lost my father when I was young and this book helped me to play the "what if" game with Emmaline, her father and friends and to become engrossed in their ideas of a ghost machine.
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  • Sunshine
    April 11, 2017
    I received an ARE of this book on NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions/thoughts expressed are my own.The story itself however, drew me in and was a page turner/quick read.The subject matter right from the beginning is heavy and very well handled by the author. Emmaline is the main character whose Mom has passed away when she is ten. Her father becomes consumed for over two years with building a machine to bring the Mom back. As a ghost at least.Her I received an ARE of this book on NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions/thoughts expressed are my own.The story itself however, drew me in and was a page turner/quick read.The subject matter right from the beginning is heavy and very well handled by the author. Emmaline is the main character whose Mom has passed away when she is ten. Her father becomes consumed for over two years with building a machine to bring the Mom back. As a ghost at least.Her father becomes so consumed by chasing after the idea of bringing back the essence that he becomes like a living ghost himself. Emmaline rarely gets to see or spend tie with her father and feels abandoned and like she has lost both parents.Emmaline stumbles on a way to make the machine work out of frustration and does indeed call her Mother's ghost. The memory gets fuzzy and then she can't recall that memory at all anymore.Emmaline's two friends-a set of twins-listen to her story and Oliver (one of the twins) brings along an item to throw into the machine to trigger the manifestation of their beloved and deceased dog. Gully feels deceived that his brother went behind his back this way and even sadder at freshening the memory, at reigniting the ghost.The memory fades from existence once the ghost has been called. So to call a ghost means you are giving up a memory of time spent with that person or animal.After her father discovers that she has made the machine work, he has his own time with Emmaline's Mom and we discover later that her ghost chastised him for not taking better care of their daughter and for neglecting her.A neighbor sees the machine work and convinces Emmaline to let her and her sister use the machine to call forth their long deceased brother. Oliver and Gully tag along to make sure everything goes okay unbeknownst to the father.The implications of the machine use and misuse are explored, the grieving process is handled here delicately, and the ethics/morality of recalling someone who has gone on are also explored.These heavy issues are fictionalized in a compelling way.I will not get into the extra emotional twist part, know you know there is one, but you don't know what it is though....I will only say that I know many reviewers found themselves in tears. It was sad yes, but I didn't cry reading it. That isn't to say I am judging those that do, just that you may not cry reading it. So don't let that deter you from reading this because it is an excellent story. The epilogue I found to be a happy one not a sad one. It was almost bittersweet in my opinion.I referenced this work on my channel on 4/12:YouTubeRead about other books I have reviewed here:Blog
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  • David Edmonds
    April 7, 2017
    Emmaline Beaumont's mother has passed away. Unfortunately, Emmaline's father has become fixated with building a machine that will bring Emmaline's mother's ghost back, and in doing so, he himself has forgotten about the living in his obsession with the dead, so in many ways Emmaline has lost both of her parents. The only people she can confide in are twins Gully and Oliver, her best friends in school. Yet for of their understanding and patience, Gully and Oliver are unable to fully understand Em Emmaline Beaumont's mother has passed away. Unfortunately, Emmaline's father has become fixated with building a machine that will bring Emmaline's mother's ghost back, and in doing so, he himself has forgotten about the living in his obsession with the dead, so in many ways Emmaline has lost both of her parents. The only people she can confide in are twins Gully and Oliver, her best friends in school. Yet for of their understanding and patience, Gully and Oliver are unable to fully understand Emmaline's loss as they have never lost someone so close to them as Emmaline's mother was to her. Her father's machine, however, may actually work, and it is then that Emmaline must decide whether the cost of operating the machine is worth the price paid, and will the twins help her in her decision, regardless of what that decision is?Lauren DeStefano has created a beautiful and poignant story that I feel would be an important book for anyone to read who has recently (or not so recently) lost someone very close to them. DeStefano has a keen ability to cut to the quick of the emotions of loss and what that can feel like, especially for someone too young to have have lost a loved one. Her characters are not cliché and their feelings are quite real, and the story she has created feels honest and important. That's the best way I can describe it. A fan of her YA series The Chemical Garden Trilogy and The Interment Chronicles, I have not yet read her other two middle grade books, The Curious Tale of the In-Between and The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart, and I think I'll be needing to rectify that soon.I received a print ARC of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    April 22, 2017
    E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineAfter Emmaline's mother dies, her father locks himself away in the basement, trying to create a machine that will draw her spirit back to the house so that they can visit. He doesn't work, he doesn't take care of Emmaline, and it's as if she has lost her father as well. In anger, she throws a cup of tea into the machine hoping to break it, and her mother appears and has a cup of tea with her. Talking about this later with her friends, next door neighbors an E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineAfter Emmaline's mother dies, her father locks himself away in the basement, trying to create a machine that will draw her spirit back to the house so that they can visit. He doesn't work, he doesn't take care of Emmaline, and it's as if she has lost her father as well. In anger, she throws a cup of tea into the machine hoping to break it, and her mother appears and has a cup of tea with her. Talking about this later with her friends, next door neighbors and twins Gully and Oliver, the three decide that in order for the machine to work, an object related to a memory has to be thrown in, the ghost appears, but then goes away and the memory is lost. The twins ask to see their dog Tidbit, and three neighbor ladies ask to see their long gone brother, but the only one who uses the machine a lot is Emmaline's father. He seems a little happier, and goes back to work, but Emmaline still doesn't feel that he has returned to her. After a tragedy, her father sees the error of his ways. Emmaline grows old with the machine in the basement, but manages not to use it, with one notable exception. Strengths: I like the name Emmaline, and the blue and brown on the cover are attractive. Weaknesses: The entire book is about sadness and loss in a very sad, soggy way. While Emmaline is to be applauded for not wanting to use the machine, I can't think of any of my students who ask for "poignant" books that are this slow and sad. What I really think: If a ghost machine really existed, I would throw in every memory I had of people who were gone. Then I wouldn't remember them at all, and I wouldn't be sad about them anymore. Is this the lesson the book wants to teach us? Because that's what I got out of it.
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  • Leah (Jane Speare)
    March 24, 2017
    I was warned this would make me cry. I was not warned it would turn me into a blubbering mess by the epilogue.
  • TJ Burns
    May 30, 2017
    I received a copy of this book from Bloomsbury USA Children's Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
  • Rayna
    April 19, 2017
    A touching and powerful book. I was immediately captured by the premise. A machine that brings back a dead loved one for a brief period of time but for that you lose a memory forever. What are those few more moments worth? I was shocked, I was in tears, I loved this book!
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  • ☘Tara Sheehan☘
    April 16, 2017
    This is a great book for middle school age kids as it handled a difficult topic with a loving grace. There was something heartfelt, beautiful and visceral in the way Lauren DeStefano created characters the reader could develop an emotional attachment to along with showing the poignant turmoil that accompanies great loss in a person’s life. Beyond the obvious storyline I also thought it was sweet the way she wove practical and helpful advice on the mourning process that can be applied beyond the This is a great book for middle school age kids as it handled a difficult topic with a loving grace. There was something heartfelt, beautiful and visceral in the way Lauren DeStefano created characters the reader could develop an emotional attachment to along with showing the poignant turmoil that accompanies great loss in a person’s life. Beyond the obvious storyline I also thought it was sweet the way she wove practical and helpful advice on the mourning process that can be applied beyond the literary pages.It provided an interesting commentary on the different ways parents versus kids handle grief and the responsibility we as parents have to not forget the living while mourning the dead.This tearjerker may make your kid, as it did me, become an emotional mess but I think it’s an important topic and one that can open great dialogue between you and your kid. If you know someone who is dealing with grief it might be a good idea to give this to them so they have a different world to lose themselves in that will allow them to explore what they’re feeling in a safe environment.It’s one of those stories that stays with you.
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