The first one is called "Olive and the Backstage Ghost" by Michelle Schusterman. It's about Olive who lives with her mom. Her mom used to be a famous singer and now she wants Olive to be a famous singer. Olive's dad has disappeared? Gone away? Died? It's a bit mysterious about what actually happened to dad, but he's not in the picture. Olive is feeling over pressured by her mother and when she does poorly at an important audition, Olive runs out looking for an escape. She finds solace at the Maudeville theatre, a beautiful old theater she never noticed before. She finds people who appreciate her talents and want to make her a star, but there's something not quite right. This is a super creepy story with a kind of an alternate reality. It's kind of like "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman. The parents story lines are a little thin but it's an exciting story to read.
The second one is called "Journey's End" by Rachel Hawkins. It's about a girl named Nolie who is following her dad, a scientist, to a small town in Scotland from her hometown in GA. Her parents are divorcing, which feels terrible to Nolie but she's excited to go to Scotland and happy to see her dad. The town called Journey's End is on the coast and her dad is studying a fog bank. People have been known to disappear into the fog back and then are never seen again. Nolie meets a girl who lives in town-Bel's family runs a small gift shop in town and have deep roots there. They do NOT have a good relationship with the scientists. They believe that the scientists will damage their town's claim to fame and ruin their tourist business. The story also flashes around in time to some of the victims of the fog. One day, a boy no one knows turns up and things start changing pretty fast. I liked this exciting ghost story. I really liked the characters, who were funny and adventurous. I also liked the Scottish language lessons that got thrown in a long the way. I'm going to go and order a few of these for my school library RIGHT NOW.
The last one is a BRAND NEW book, it was just released in October. It's called "The Bone Thief" by Alyson Noel. It's about a boy who feels like he just doesn't fit in. Grimsly Summerfield is completely and resolutely normal and that's the problem. Grimsly lives in a magical town called Quiver Hollows. He was discovered there by his guardian, Professor Snelling. He's been surrounded by magic and taught by the best, but he is resolutely NOT magical. His best friends, Ming (who can levitate), Ollie (who's been bending spoons since he was a baby) and Penelope (who doesn't really speak much but can send telepathic messages) are very supportive, but one day the magic starts disappearing from the town and the townspeople (who are somewhat less supportive) believe it has something to do with Grimsly. So Grimsly sets out on a quest to set things right. This is a very fast paced, very funny magical story where the ghosts that do the haunting are the scariest kind-the ones with no love. This one will be great in an elementary or middle school library.