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Apparition by Gail Gallant

What is it with old barns and ghosts?

Interests/Topics: paranormal activity, romance, family relationships, Canadian landscape, death

Curriculum Connections: English, Geography (Canadian)

Gender: F/M

Age: 14+

Blurb: I don’t believe in ghosts. I really don’t. So when my bedroom light turned on in the middle of the night last week all by itself, I wasn’t too freaked out. I just got out of bed, turned it off, and thought “huh, that was interesting.” The possibility of paranormal activity didn’t even cross my mind at that time. I did decide to have some fun with my sister the next morning, however; I told her that mom had paid me a visit. (Mom’s been gone for nearly four years.) All joking aside, if the toilets in my house start flushing, or my furniture rearranges itself, I’m outta here.

I wouldn’t mind if mom started stopping by. I miss her terribly and would love to have a chat. Amelia, in Gail Gallant’s novel Apparition, is visited by the ghostly figure of her mom. And when her best friend Matthew dies, she starts seeing him as well. It’s just too bad that she can only find him in the haunted barn down the road–haunted by ghosts other than Matthew that is.

Matthew is surprised that Amelia can see him; she had never told him that she can see ghosts. People don’t tend to react well to confessions like that, so Amelia has kept her secret close. But when she discovers that Matthew was just one of many young men who died tragically in that barn, Amelia knows that she has to tell someone in order to stop future deaths. But who will believe that kind of secret?

Flavour: “Dr. Krantz had worried that I was suicidal, just because I was obsessed with dead people and thought I could see ghosts. Like it was my fault I saw my mother checking up on her garden once in a while.” (32-33)

“’Matthew, what happens if I touch you?’…. I take a step closer to him, but it’s as if the shadow he stands in is growing darker, or maybe my eyesight is growing dimmer, and now I can’t see him as well. I lean forward, stretching my shaking hand toward his. But as I do, he fades even more, and where our fingers should have touched, I feel nothing but cool air. I can’t see him anymore. He’s gone.” (90-91)

“’The barn was supposed to come down first,’ Telford says, moving around in his seat, all agitated. ‘It has to come down.’ Morris looks at him, nodding sympathetically. ‘I tried to keep it locked up.’ He gets a twisted expression on his face. ‘But it was no good’…. ‘That barn is cursed.’” (117, 119)

“I’ve been trying not to think about this, but I knew it might come up eventually. My heart sinks. What happens to Matthew if the barn is destroyed?” (214)

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