Reviews for Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator


Booklist Reviews 2005 May #1
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 5-7. Gilda Joyce, 13, lives in Michigan with her widowed mother. With her best friend at camp, Gilda decides she wants an adventure, so she writes to a distant relative, Mr. Splinter, and asks to spend the summer in San Francisco. Unknown to Gilda, Mr. Splinter has a daughter, Juliet, about Gilda's age. After arriving in town, Gilda learns that Juliet has been seeing the ghost of her aunt, who committed suicide. Gilda finds this especially exciting as she considers herself a psychic investigator. Allison pulls off something special here. She not only offers a credible mystery (What really happened to Aunt Meredith?) but also, by allowing readers inside the heads of both girls, provides particularly strong characterizations--much more substantial than the ubiquitous first-person narrative would have offered. Moreover, the recent death of Gilda's father and Juliet's psychological problems give the story a heft that elevates it above the typical middle-grade mystery or ghost story. Stylistically, the writing is occasionally over the top, but give this book high marks for substance. ((Reviewed May 1, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
Grieving the death of her father and convinced that Detroit doesn't offer enough fodder for her Harriet the Spy-inspired investigations, Gilda wheedles a visit to distant San Francisco relatives. There she befriends troubled, unlikable cousin Juliet and solves a real mystery. Gilda's overactive imagination and crazy disguises provide plenty of laughs, but a serious undertone gives the story emotional weight. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2005 June #2
Ever since her father passed away, 13-year-old Gilda Joyce has been determined to contact spirits on the other side. She finagles an invitation to visit a distant relative in San Francisco for the summer, who just happens to be in need of her services as a psychic investigator. Equipped with her father's typewriter, an odd collection of disguises, a psychic manual and an inquisitive personality, Gilda begins looking into the mysterious death of her host's sister and the reasons for the bumps in the night. Her persistence pays off in many ways as she befriends her cousin, helps mend a broken family and solves the mystery of the spooky tower. Whether dressed in a formal gown for a sťance or attempting to channel her father's spirit through the keys of his typewriter, Gilda's earnest and wacky personality accompanied by her dry wit make this an amusing as well as suspenseful mystery. Surprisingly spooky. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews
Allison's debut novel introduces a spunky, appealingly eccentric 13-year-old who identifies with Harriet the Spy and may well rival her for readers' affections. Gilda's current "career" encompasses three activities: writing novels, spying on neighbors and developing her psychic abilities. She focuses primarily on the last-mentioned pursuit when she finagles an invitation to San Francisco to visit her mother's second cousin, Lester Splinter, whom she has never met, and then discovers he has a daughter Gilda's age named Juliet. A brooding loner, Juliet lives with her aloof, divorced father in a Victorian mansion, a house that, Gilda is convinced, "has a secret to reveal." After learning that Juliet's aunt jumped to her death from the top of the estate's tower--and that Juliet has encountered what appears to be her aunt's ghost inside the house--Gilda is determined to communicate with the dead woman and to uncover the details surrounding the tragedy. Those who pick up the book for the mystery angle must be patient; it does not begin in earnest until roughly a third into the novel. But even more compelling is the story of the friendship that develops between Juliet and Gilda, whose alternating perspectives give readers insights ahead of the girls. And perhaps most affecting of all are Gilda's earnest attempts to commune with her much-missed father, who died of cancer two years earlier. Ages 10-up. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2005 July
Gr 5-9-Zany, likable Gilda Joyce deserves a place right next to her inspiration, Harriet the Spy. Ever since her father died two years ago, Gilda has been working on sharpening her psychic skills, both in an attempt to communicate with him and to solve spooky mysteries. The summer before ninth grade, she invites herself to San Francisco to visit relatives she's never met who live in a brooding Victorian mansion, complete with a ghost in the tower. Lester Splinter, her distant cousin, seems to be hiding something about his sister's suicide years ago, and Gilda is determined to find out what it is, with the help of his lonely, hostile daughter who is her age. Gilda's bravery, bluntness, and willingness to try anything help bring Juliet out of herself. Her asides to her father, written on his old typewriter, are not only humorous; they also show her grief, longing, and love for him. The wacky wigs and costumes she dons will make readers giggle out loud, as will the inserted progress reports she writes of how well her investigations are going. Readers will feel the hair on the back of their necks rise over the predicaments she manages to get into and out of. Returning home at summer's end, Gilda is surprised that her mother has begun to date and her older brother, Stephen, is friendlier. They have all begun to heal from their loss. Let's hope Gilda also returns in another psychic mystery that needs her gutsy, brash attention.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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