The Ghosts of Ashbury High
By Jaclyn Moriarty
Levine Books, 2010
The Ghosts of Ashbury High is a Young Adult general fiction / mystery novel. It is also the fourth and final book in the loosely connected Ashbury/Brookfield series, which starts with Feeling Sorry for Celia.
This is the twisty tale of Em, Cassie, and Lydia's last year of high-school -- except, also, there are two new kids, Riley and Amelia. The new kids are mysterious, talented, and perhaps dangerous, which makes them instantly fascinating to Em, but she is also distracted by the fact that Ashbury school is clearly haunted. None of the others understand why she is so obsessed with the new kids and her "ghost", but they are accustomed to humoring her.
But then... actually, maybe there is a ghost? There definitely was a murder in the building 50 years ago, and there are definitely weird noises, drafts, and historical documents haunting the halls of Ashbury High. And also that old guy who just died. And the chatty ghost in Lydia's computer. And there is definitely something weird going on with the new kids. I mean, no one is that good at everything.
The last year at Ashbury is a year of broken romances, wild parties, and hysterical maybe-ghost sightings. But, this is Ashbury, so it is also a year of twisty plots, misunderstandings, unreliable narrators, crimes, and the universe generally messing with us. It is unclear if the ghost is real, imaginary, metaphorical, of parts of all three; naturally, the same questions arise about Riley and Amelia.
While most of this series can be read in any order, I think I would recommend against starting with this one. It is, somewhat, an ending, but more importantly it takes a little longer to get into the twisty weirdness that makes this series so good, and those not yet familiar with the characters may find it a bit boring. However, if you have read and enjoyed the other books in the series, you will enjoy this one as well.