The Castle Blues Quake by Linda Covella
Publisher: Beau Coup Publishing
Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (211 pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
12-year-old Pepper Connelly leaves her best friend, Chrissie, behind when her family moves from New York City to Santa Cruz, CA. Pepper discovers a boy, Corey, hiding in her backyard shed. Unknown to Pepper, Corey is a ghost trying to contact his grandfather, Boppie, before he crosses over. He tells Pepper he must locate Boppie before Social Services finds him. Pepper agrees to help.
While Pepper’s communication with Chrissie dwindles, her friendship with Corey grows. She tells Corey about her passion for writing songs, and throughout the story, she composes a song about Corey. Corey teaches Pepper to play the harmonica. Soon, she’s torn between finding Boppie and knowing when she does, Corey will certainly go back on the road with his traveling-musician grandfather.
Other characters help her on her quest: new classmate Ally Cressman, who dresses in an odd-ball, non-mall style; Sawtooth Sam, the mysterious saw-playing street musician; and Madame Mchumba, who performs her psychic readings at the Boardwalk amusement park. Time travel, earthquakes, haunted house rides, poltergeists, and crystal ball readings propel Pepper toward the end of her search as she learns about the give and take, the heartache and joy, of true friendship.
They say that music is a universal language. Is this true even when you’re speaking to a ghost?
The scenes that dealt with paranormal activity were well done. They were scary but never gory or disturbing. They also showed me a lot about what kind of person Pepper is. Her brave personality came through much stronger in these scenes than they did anywhere else in the storyline, so I was glad to have them. From what I’ve read, this sounds like it is the first in a series of books about this character’s adventures. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what kinds of ghosts or other supernatural beings Pepper meets next!
I would have liked to see more character development, especially when it came to Corey. There were a few thing about his personality and backstory that never quite made sense to me. While I really liked this character as an individual, the missing pieces of his life were distracting because there were so many of them. The ones that were present also didn’t always fit together. Had this not been the case, this tale would have easily earned a much higher rating. It was a great read otherwise.
The parts of this story that had to do with music were so much fun. I liked the descriptions of the different musicians as well as the various styles of music they played. They were all so colorful and unique! It was also interesting to see how Pepper reacted to all of these things because she didn’t seem to have a lot of experience with any of them.
I’d recommend The Castle Blues Quake to anyone who is in the mood for something spooky.