Since her mom died, Andie’s family has crumbled. Instead of working, her dad gambles away insurance money, while her sister, Paige, has put her future on hold in order to pick up extra waitressing shifts. Andie’s afraid of what will happen if people find out just how bad things are. She’s not sure how long she can hide the fact that there’s no food or money in the house...or adults, for that matter.
When her science partner suggests they study paranormal activity, Andie gets an idea. She wants a sign from her mom—anything to tell her it’s going to be okay. Maybe the rest of her family does too. So she starts a project of her own. Pretending to be her mother’s ghost, Andie sprays perfume, changes TV channels, and moves pictures. Haunting her house is Andie’s last hope to bring her family back into the land of the living.
For anyone who loved Counting by 7s, The Haunted House Project is a journey through loss and grief, but ultimately a story of hope and self-reliance. As much as Andie has been changed by her mother’s death, the changes she makes herself are the ones that are most important.
I really liked this!
I found there was so much I could relate to in terms of the friendships at school. I can remember having friends that became Popular during middle school, while I transitioned to Nerd. I remember being unsure how to handle it, and being so hurt when friends started turning on me. I was never cool at school! I felt so much for Isaiah, as I could relate a little. I mean, I had some friends, but I also had people who were only nice to me when I could help them with homework.
I struggled with Andie’s dad. I really didn’t like him at first, and how he didn’t listen to Andie or want her to get help. It wasn’t right that she didn’t have food at times! It was definitely an internal struggle for me to warm to him. On the other hand, I loved Andie’s sister. She was handling everything, but she was still very much a teenager. Freaking STAR. I’d like to think I’m like her, as I love my little brother to bits.
The story was heartbreaking. I didn’t actually cry, but I definitely felt a lot of acheyness. It made me wonder how I would handle it if someone I cared about died. Yes, the family stuff hurt, but I actually connected the most during the friendship stuff. Is that weird?
I’m not an MG expert, and it’s not my favourite age category, but this was very enjoyable. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to try MG and likes more hard-hitting stuff, similar to A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness.
There were some really cute moments in this one, but there were also other things I wanted to be developed just a bit more, but this was still a pretty solid book for me. Dani and I are trying to get more into middle grade and I would recommend this one to someone who is trying to transition down from YA to MG as the main character is a little older and a little easier to relate to.
I liked the idea of a broken family being held together basically by duct tape. I think Clasen really hits the nail on the head of how grief can break a person and make them do things they never would if they weren’t blinded by grief. I liked that Andie was so aware of how much her sister was doing for the family and for her. (I think I would have also enjoyed this as a YA novel from Andie’s sister’s point of view)
I liked how Andie’s friendships changed and evolved. I liked that she realized that some of her friends were changing and she was going in a different trajectory than them, but wanted to keep her new friends. I liked the characters she met in her group therapy and I liked that she saw they were more than just their “stereotypes”.
The one thing I was meh about was the actual hauntings themselves. I thought that Andie being obsessed with ghosts and the paranormal was cool, but I wasn’t a fan of what she chose to do for her “hauntings” because I felt like they were meh. I think I wanted something a little more spooky, I guess? Or something that would make them feel her actual presence there. I just wanted something a little bit more than what we got.
Otherwise I was really happy with my read of this one. I thought it was a quick and easy read and I definitely cried. I think this was a really good foray into Middle Grade and definitely makes me want to pick up more of the genre.