I’ve been a fan of R.L. Stedman’s since I read her debut YA novel, A Necklace of Souls, when it was first released. I absolutely loved her dark, gripping fantasy story and it reignited my love of fantasy. You can read my review of A Necklace of Souls from 2013 here on the blog. Since writing A Necklace of Souls, R.L. Stedman has gone on to write a sequel, called A Skillful Warrior, and a standalone YA novel, called Inner Fire. She has just released her new book, aimed at younger readers, called The Prankster and the Ghost and it’s a terrific read.
Stuck in a hospital bed, unable to move, Tayla decides to leave his body. But floating around intensive care is kind of boring, although being invisible means he can do some cool practical jokes…Until the inspector arrives, that is. Jamie, newly arrived from Scotland, is lonely. No-one can understand his accent and all his practical jokes are going wrong. Plus, his new school is seriously weird. Perhaps it’s haunted.
The Prankster and the Ghost is a fun, spooky story, packed with ghosts, practical jokes, and a whole lot of heart. It’s also a story about friendship and how good friends can help you through tough times, whether it’s moving countries to live on the other side of the world or grieving for a loved one. Young readers, especially boys are going to lap up this story, with all the pranks that Tayla and Jamie like to play.
The story starts off with a bang (literally) when the car that Tayla’s dad is driving crashes and Tayla wakes up in hospital to find himself floating over his body. As Tayla is coming to terms with the events of the crash a strange woman called Mrs Myrtle Mannering (or the Inspector) turns up at the hospital looking for him. She is an inspector from the Bureau of Unexplained and Malicious Phenomena, or BUMP, and she tells Tayla that he is stuck between his body and death. Mrs Mannering explains that the best thing for Tayla to do until his mum gets better and his body heals is to go to a special school, a school of ghosts. This is where he meets Jamie, a boy from Scotland, who has just moved to New Zealand with his parents and two annoying sisters. Jamie loves pranks just as much as Tayla and luckily he can see ghosts (or boys who are in between life and death). With the help of Jamie and some ghostly children Tayla tries to get his old life back.
I especially loved the ghostly elements of the story. I really like the idea of BUMP and I could imagine Jamie growing up to have a job in BUMP, helping other ghosts just like Tayla. The idea of a school for ghosts is really cool too. There are ghost children from different periods of time and an old fashioned ghost teacher who becomes obsessed with modern technology.
One of the cool added extras in this book is the list of jokes from the story that R.L. Stedman has put in the back of the book. There are jokes involving cling film and a toilet, itching powder and stink bombs. She challenges readers to find all the jokes that happen in the book, but suggests that if you do try them you might want to tell an adult first.
Grab a copy of The Prankster and the Ghost in paperback or eBook now. Check out Rachel Stedman’s website for details about where to buy the book.