Gema is an 18-year old from Miami, FL. She loves reading and writing young adult fiction and claims to pass out in the presence of sterile wit.
296 pages, iUniverse, $18.95
The frogs leaned against his sock and pointed with their little webbed feet back down the road in the direction of the dock.
“Possessed frogs?” Rebel thought. “You two want me to take you someplace? You want to show me something?”
Aliens, ghosts, possessed animals, a cooking obsessed menace and a power hungry yogurt addict. When I think Rebel Stone and the Ghost Whisperers, unique comes to mind.
A mysterious beam of light explodes from the eye of a storm. This beam leaves a burnt circle in the center of Bellarouse Haggerty’s cornfield. Two months later there’s the odd disappearance of Albert Drusky, a boy who’s chased his pet pig into Bellarouse’s cornfield. The pet pig dashes out of the cornfield and into his owner’s house. While the Albert’s mother is annoyed by the pestering pet, the reader is the first to know that stuck inside the pig is the missing boy, Albert Drusky.
After this prologue, the reader gets to meet Rebel Stone: self-declared detective of all things paranormal and new to Shadowridge. He and his parents have temporarily moved into the McGuire mansion which is rumored to be haunted and even has a forbidden room that’s been locked for a hundred years. Despite this impending mystery, he takes on another as he is contacted by Becky Robinson, a charming town local who’s concerned about the recent strange occurrences. Her cooking obsessed aunt, Bellarouse Haggerty, is running a pet sitting business. The catch is that once the animals leave, they’ve acquired their owner’s personalities while their owners have a dramatic attitude readjustment. Not to mention that there’s still the question of disappearance of her neighbor’s son, Albert Drusky and other town locals.
In Rebel Stone, Walter Rouzer introduces two paranormal ideas: ghosts and aliens. Aliens prepare to take over the world and ghosts deal through their unresolved issues. For a brief page or two, Rebel Stone comes to the conclusion that there are aliens that are ghosts. This aspect of the novel felt like reading a much defined Venn diagram between the two.
Despite the paranormal occurrences, however, young readers will be able to relate to Rebel Stone’s relationship with his parents. Rebel believes in- and is obsessed with- all things supernatural. His parents don’t. His mother wishes that he’d concentrate on something else- but as an artist, doesn’t completely discourage him. “’Paint your life with the bright living colors of life, not of the dead, spooks and ghosts…please.’” His father, on the other hand, thinks it’s silly. “’You know, son, you’re just wasting your time going on those wild ghost chases,’”
Over all, the novel starts off with a bang. The reader is sucked into the mystery and at the same time, is charmed by Rebel Stone’s determination and quick thinking. However, I felt that perhaps too many ideas were packed into one, like a sports car with seven people, and started stalling somewhere in the middle. Or perhaps the ideas simply weren’t arranged to ride fluidly enough throughout this adventure. In the novel, there are ghosts, aliens, possessions, a power-hungry-doll-decapitating yogurt addict, a giant, and a cooking obsessed woman with a short temper. There are also humorous bits. Witty comments are always welcomed in middle grade books, but they have to flow with the story. In this case, it felt like they were merely inserted as an afterthought. Or worse: sometimes it felt like the scene was created for the sole purpose of the joke.
Rebel Stone and the Ghost Whisperers by Walter Rouzer has a lot of potential as an adventure book but I don’t strongly recommend it. A lot of questions were left unanswered. Why were some spirits able to move on and others later? Why could they hold material things at one moment and go through others? Possessed animals could talk to each other but how could they communicate with regular animals? Rebel Stone and the Ghost Whisperers is the first in the Rebel Stone series. Hopefully these questions will not be left unanswered in the universe but will be answered in the following installments.