Best-selling author Ignatius B. Grumply is in a pickle—in more ways than one. He hasn't started the children's book he's been contracted to write, and he needs a quiet place to do so.
Grumply's writer's block is resolved—or so he thinks—when he rents a creaky 32%-room Victorian mansion on Old Cemetery Road in Ghastly, Illinois. But an uninvited and unwelcome houseguest (young pretentious boy) makes Grumply alternately grumpy and uppity.
Throw in a playful ghost (single invisible female); a demanding, yet rather accommodating, publisher (Paige Turner); and an overbearing real estate agent (Anita Sale) and the Klise sisters have crafted a delightfully fun, frolicsome and fast-paced read.
Told in a series of letters back and forth among the key players, Dying to Meet You sets up playful tension against a spooky backdrop—it's the perfect ambience for the ghost stories Grumply allegedly pens (it's been 20 years since his last installment, but who's counting?)
The book reads like a diary, laden with hilarious exchanges, faux newspaper pages, the young boy's handwritten notes and crafty sketches and omniscient observations by the ghost (Olive C. Spence). Punny names abound (including librarian M. Balm and attorney E. Gadds), an addition sure to be enjoyed by the target audience.
Even reluctant readers can embrace the easy-to-read format and lighthearted ghost story—which shows some shades of Lemony Snicket-esque whimsy.
But will Grumply continue to be grumpy? Can the cohabitants of 43 Old Cemetery Road live in peace? Will Olive's chicken paprikash be a dinner success? And, perhaps most importantly, does the 13th entry in the Ghost Tamer series ever get written?
The award-winning Klise sisters have dubbed Dying to Meet You as Book One in an intended series—so future adventures and mayhem in the manse can be eagerly anticipated . . . if readers dare!
Former children's librarian Sharon Verbeten lives in a house inhabited only by the squeals of an active two-year-old in De Pere, Wisconsin.
Copyright 2009 BookPage Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #3
This Snickety metafictional lollipop of a melodrama features Olive C. Spence, the ghost of a never-published children's writer who, way ahead of her time, wrote "graphic epistolary mysteries." She encounters Ignatius B. Grumply, a (live) children's writer who is experiencing writer's block. Together they write a ghost story, 43 Old Cemetery Road, which is the series title of this very book, which could aptly be described as...a graphic epistolary mystery. The catalyst for this productive collaboration, and the illustrator of the successful work, is eleven-year-old Seymour Hope, a waif abandoned by his parents. The setting is a crumbling Victorian pile, complete with cupola. The fun here is in the narrative equipment-letters, e-mails, newspaper extracts, floor plan, cast list, etc., and in the embedded jokes, such as Cliff Hanger (the editor of The Ghastly Times) and Frank N. Beans (the private investigator). The lessons learned, about the redemptive power of love and our potential to write our own narratives, weigh down the book's final pages, but young mock-gothic fans will nonetheless be eager to revisit 43 Old Cemetery Road in the anticipated sequels. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2009 March #1
Plenty of fun lurks in this ghost-story comedy when a dried-up, unsociable writer, I.B. Grumply, rents an old house already occupied by Seymour Hope, an abandoned boy, and his best friend, Olive, an active and bossy lady ghost. All told through letters, newspaper articles and other documents, the story also stars M. Sarah Klise's whimsical line drawings, which add substance to the plot. Readers learn that Mr. Grumply's writer's block has continued until he's penniless; he'll have to open up and make friends with his new roommates if he wants to produce that next bestseller. Kate Klise fleshes out the plot with back stories on the house, Seymour's catastrophic, absent parents and Olive's haunting of the house. Suspense intrudes when Seymour's parents reappear and decide to demolish it. Everywhere they look, readers will find comedy, even in the headers on the letters and character names. Of course it's all going to come out magnificently in the end, thereby setting up the next book in the planned series. A quirky, comedic romp. (Fiction. 8-14) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 April #2
This fresh, funny launch of the 43 Old Cemetery Road series introduces an eccentric cast with pun-tastic names. I.B. Grumply, a cranky children's book author with writer's block, rents a dilapidated Victorian mansion (from realtor Anita Sale) in the town of Ghastly in hopes of writing an addition to his Ghost Tamers series (publisher: Paige Turner). He discovers that the owners have left their son Seymour behind while--in one of several ironic twists--they tour Europe debunking the existence of ghosts. Seymour does indeed "see more" than others: he has befriended Olive C. Spence, a feisty ghost who has vowed to haunt the house until she accomplishes what she couldn't in life--publish a book. As in the "Regarding the..." series, written by these sibling collaborators, the story unfolds through characters' correspondence ("The man is impossible! I should've dropped THREE chandeliers on his head," Olive writes Seymour about Grumply) as well as other documents, including illustrated pages from the local tabloid. Despite a slightly sappy denouement, the story is light enough for more tentative readers, with many humorous details to reward those who look closer. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)[Page 49]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Gr 4-6--When former best-selling children's author I.B. Grumply moves into a Victorian mansion in Ghastly, IL, to write the latest installment in his "Ghost Tamer" series, he is hindered by more than just his overwhelming case of writer's block. He is dismayed to find the mansion already occupied by an 11-year-old boy named Seymour Hope, his cat, and Olive C. Spence, a ghost living in the cupola who is unhappy because she never managed to publish her books in her lifetime. Similar to the Klises' other offerings, the story is successfully told through letters, newspaper clippings, drawings, and related devices. Although Grumply has written ghost tales, he himself is a nonbeliever, and Olive and Seymour attempt to convince him. They then collaborate on a book about their own experiences, including the possibility of the demolition of the mansion, a ghost who falls in love with the occupant of her house, and Seymour's parents and their lack of responsibility for his care. This first title in a new series will appeal to readers, especially reluctant ones, as it moves quickly and leaves its audience eager for book two, which is announced in this ghastly and fun tale.--Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA[Page 112]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.