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Reviewed by Amy Powers for Readers' Favorite
Defying the Ghosts by Joan Marie Verba tells the suspenseful story of a young woman's creepy night in a haunted house. After her mother kicks her out of her house on her eighteenth birthday, Charlene spends the next few weeks scouting homeless shelters and camping out in the back room of the bookstore where she works. Charlene thinks she might be in luck when she hears of a challenge: anyone who can spend the entire night in the local haunted house gets to keep the house. It seems simple enough, but Charlene will soon risk her life on the most horrifying night of her life as she faces the multiple ghosts who do not want anyone else in their home.
For any reader who is looking for a new kind of horror story, Defying the Ghosts is a great choice for both teens and adults. I never knew it was possible to write a book that was simultaneously terrifying and heartwarming, but Joan Marie Verba has flawlessly managed to do just that. Charlene's story is eye-opening and brings to light the everyday problems and prejudices that homeless people face when they are trying to survive. The spooky moments of the haunted house are fast-paced, suspenseful, and overall fun to read. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time Charlene was in the house, and I could not put the book down. I can't wait to see what other horror tales Verba has in store.