Ruby, Lois. New York: Scholastic, 2013. 9780545552820
Quantitative Reading Level: I was unable to find a specific reading level for this book because it has just been published. It is listed as a YA book.
Qualitative Reading Analysis:
I would rate this book at Middle Low on the “Text Complexity: Qualitative Measures Rubric for Literary Text”. The book itself has a single layer of complex meaning and has a fairly straightforward narrative structure. There are a few instances where characters remember things from the past but they aren’t really flashbacks. Because the story is about a mystery from the Civil War there are references both to the war and to Gettysburg. It would help the reader to have some knowledge of that era and some of the vocabulary from and about that time. The story is clearly a fantasy involving ghosts.
Against her wishes Lori Chase has moved to Gettysburg with her parents to run a Bed and Breakfast there. Her first night there she sees the ghost of a Union soldier. She soon finds out that the Nathaniel Pierce, the ghost, was killed during the early days of July 1863 but not in the Battle of Gettysburg itself. He was murdered. He can only materialize around the days of the Battle and he asks for Lori’s help in solving his murder. In addition, there are other mysterious events happening at the Bed and Breakfast and another boy vying for Lori’s attention. Can she solve the murder before Nathaniel disappears? What can she do about falling love with someone who has been dead for 150 years?
Content Area: Reading/Ela, Social Studies-Civil War
Content area standard:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.6 Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
This would be a fun read after studying the Civil War and specifically Gettysburg. Readers could research Lincoln’s ring which is mentioned in the book. In addition they could look at ghost stories associated with Gettysburg and other information about the Battle and reenactments.
Lois Ruby’s website: http://www.loisruby.com/
This was a fun book. It helped that I was reading it at the right time – July 3rd, 150 years after the Battle of Gettysburg. I have been to Gettysburg and although I can say I did not experience any paranormal activity there, it was kind of eerie to be at a place where so many died. There was a good mystery to the book and a little romance. The romance was a bit unbelievable – very quick, not a lot of substance but it was fun.
Subjects/Themes: Civil War, Quest for Discovery, War
Lori Chase – Has just moved to Gettysburg with her parents who are going to run a Bed and Breakfast. She soon meets the ghost of Nathaniel Pierce who wants her to solve his murder.
Nathaniel Pierce – Was killed during July 1863, but not in the Battle of Gettysburg but was murdered. He wants Lori Chase to solve his murder for him.
High Interest Annotation: Can Lori solve a 150 year old mystery about the murder of Nathaniel Pierce at Gettysburg without falling in love with his ghost?