This is the first book by JL Redington that I’ve read and while A Cry Out of Time is the first in a series called The Esme Chronicles, the book is a standalone story — no cliff hangers. I think you’d need to read it, though, before tackling the second book (I haven’t read it yet so I’m guessing) so that you know the backstory.
Fifteen-year-old Esme is an only child who lives with her mom and dad in St. Joseph, Missouri. She has two best friends, Vienne and Delaney, and an aunt and uncle who live in Oregon just outside of a little town called Florence. When her aunt and uncle decide to take a vacation, Esme and her parents are enlisted to help get their B & B, Heceta House, ready for their return. Esme is excited about seeing the ocean, flying on an airplane, and having new experiences even though she will miss her friends. The most exciting part is that Heceta House is supposed to be one of the 10 most haunted homes in America.
On the plane, Esme has an oddly realistic nightmare of being a little girl named LaRue in a shipwreck along with a huge dog named Butler who saves her life. The dream leaves her very unsettled but when she arrives at Heceta House and meets the ghost of a young girl named LaRue, hears the murmuring of hundreds of voices, sees a ghost ship wreck itself on the shores when her parents see and hear nothing, and reunites with Butler’s ghost, things start to get really spooky.
In this story, Esme learns a lot about ghosts, friendship, and courage, but most importantly, she learns about herself — her own heart and how to understand others and be a friend. It isn’t an incredibly exciting book but it is an interesting story with good characters and an interesting plot. Butler seems to be a sort of Aslan from the Narnia Chronicles and there is magic and a struggle between good and evil where Esme needs to draw deep from within herself if she is to help her new friend, LaRue. I think junior grade children would enjoy this story very much and I will probably read more from this series. * * * 1/2