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Ghost Cats

By Susan Shreve


Are they truly ghosts? Are they angels? Or are they hallucinations? 

There comes a moment in every person’s life, when the past seems better than the present. For Peter that moment came when he was eleven.

He’d gone looking for one of their cats, missing because of his mother’s carelessness. And then Peter spotted him, licking his paws on the stoop of a neighbor’s house as if he’d never disappeared. As if allthe family’s cats were alive and well, and paired off with one of the Hardy kids. As if his siblings were his still his best friends, inseparable. As if nothing had changed.

But everything had changed. Boston was supposed to mean permanence for the Hardy’s, the final stop for a family that had moved every year to countries all over the globe. And permanence was supposed to mean comfort, stability. So why did it feel as if suddenly everything Peter had loved was spinning away from him? His sisters found other friends, his brother developed a learning disability. His mom went back to school.

For the first time in Peter’s life, change was the enemy. And it had him surrounded. Then the ghost cats began to appear….

Susan Shreve plumbs the depths of an experience that we have all had, but rarely read about, in her most original and moving novel to date.


Reviews and Awards

⋆ “Shreve (Jonah, the Whale) skillfully upends a familiar subject–a move to a new home–and crafts a memorable, emotionally honest story. Peter narrates, in a voice that is distinct and credible but that lets the other characters–the family members and even their cats–emerge with clear, well-formed personalities. Readers who have struggled with various forms of loss will especially warm to this illuminating and sympathetic story.” - Publishers Weekly, starred review

“An insightful, realistic treatment about trying to adapt to change. Peter is a well-drawn character, and his first-person narration will grip readers. His gradual acceptance of his new life rings true. A well-written story with lyrical prose.” - Library Journal

“This is a sweet tale about the changes that come with growing up, by an author who clearly loves both kids and cats.” - USA Today

“Peter’s grief both for his cat and his way of life are crystal clear, and the ghost cats become an appropriate symbol of Peter’s readiness to let the past become a memory. His clear-voiced resistance to his parents’ subtle and unselfconscious Americanization program and his outsider perspective on his American schoolmates, whose ways are foreign to him, offer readers a fresh look at culture and family which adds a realistic level of complexity to the psychological portrait of a child resisting change.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


Purchase Options
Amazon • Barnes & Noble


Fall 1999
Middle Grade Novel
ISBN: 0-590-37131-2
Price: $14.95/$21.99
Trim Size: 5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Page Count: 128
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Scholastic
Rights Available? yes


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