Project Description

Teacher’s Guide

Giving Up the Ghost

by Sheri Sinykin

“That’s the first step, you know. Admitting you’re afraid. But when there’s love,” Aunt Mari said, “there can be no fear.”

Davia is afraid of many things: death, ghosts, unfamiliar places, and the possible return of her mom’s cancer. But she can’t avoid these fears now. Far from their Wisconsin home, Davia and her parents are temporarily living in Louisiana to assist with the in-home hospice care of her elderly great-aunt Mari.

Everything about the old woman and her spooky-looking plantation home terrifies Davia. And when she encounters Emilie, the tortured ghost of a well-to-do adolescent girl from the nineteenth century, she is even more frightened. To Davia’s surprise, Emilie seems eager to have her for a friend, but the ghost is unpredictable and difficult.

Davia gradually begins to learn from Aunt Mari secrets about Emilie and about her own family’s past—stories of premature endings and regrets. As Aunt Mari’s health deteriorates, she and Davia become closer. Together, they hope to release Emilie’s spirit from the mansion and the world of the living.

Author Sheri Sinykin has written a sensitive, provocative tale of a young girl who learns to accept uncertainty and to come to terms with her fears. Readers will be mesmerized by the intriguing supernatural mystery that lies at the heart of the story.

Hardcover: $15.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-423-5
Total Pages: 240
Size: 5 1/4 x 8
Language: English
Paperback: $7.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-572-0
Total Pages: 240
Size: 5 1/4 x 8
Language: English
Format: E-book
ISBN: 978-1-56145-680-2
Age Range: 10 – 14
Language: English

Purchase this E-book through the following vendors:

Baker & Taylor
Barnes & Noble
Recorded Books

Accelerated Reader
AR Quiz#: 122316
AR Reading Level: 3.8
AR Points: 6

F&P (Fountas & Pinnell)
F&P Level: V
F&P Grade: 5

Reading Counts
Reading Counts Level: 4.1
Reading Counts Points: 13
Reading Counts Interest Level: 6-8


“Equal parts psychological realism and supernatural thriller, this story about living in the present and conquering fear has teen appeal in spades…Sinykin’s simple, straightforward prose can be read by those as young as nine, but the subject matter-disease, death, arranged marriage and suicide-makes this title more appropriate for older readers. A good choice for reluctant teens.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Recommended for ghost-loving young teens. It’s a great book for reluctant older readers too, as Sinykin’s storytelling style is clear and spare.” ―50 Plus Lifestyles

“…the book will draw some readers through its subject matter and will thereby connect them with a character seeking to understand her family, her place in a larger scheme of things, and her glimpse beyond the natural world.” ―School Library Journal

Read More

“More than a ghost story, this book serves as a guide for teenagers experiencing illness and death in their families…Sinykin successfully blends essential information about the process of dying with a fictional narrative that could be useful for teens facing similar circumstances in their lives.” ―VOYA

“…includes a realistic look at death and dying…Through the story, death may become less frightening for YA readers, and questions will arise from the realistic tone and informational passages.” ―Kliatt

Read Less


Young Hoosier Book Award (nominee, middle grades) ―Association for Indiana Media Educators 2009-2010

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (middle school / junior high) ―Kansas National Education Association 2008

Young Adult Top Forty ―Pennsylvania School Librarians Association 2008

Meet the Author

Sheri Sinykin is the author of several middle grade and young adult novels. She holds degrees from Stanford University and Vermont College, where she received an MFA in writing for children. She lives in Massachusetts and Arizona. You can visit her website here.