The Ghost Ring

Young Adult - Paranormal
321 Pages
Reviewed on 06/16/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Ghost Ring is a fictional work combining paranormal adventure, action, and mystery. The book is intended for young adults and contains some mild death-centric themes as the ghosts take center stage in the story. Penned by Tom Hoffman, this highly engaging drama introduces us to our teenage protagonist, Simon Moody, just as he is swept away from all he knows in Brooklyn. The death of a relative brings Simon to the Victorian mansion of Wilder House and a little village with some really big secrets. Inheriting his Great-Uncle Edmund’s mysterious ring is only the beginning of Simon’s supernatural journey.

Tom Hoffman knows how to pitch a powerful mystical tale to his YA audience, and he keeps them on the edge of their seats from cover to cover as the various ghostly mysteries and hidden secrets of Wilder House unfold throughout this well-written and atmospheric novel. One of the things I especially enjoyed about the story was how introspective it is in revealing Simon’s character to us and crafting a poignant story arc of a displaced young man discovering who he is and the kind of adult he’ll grow into based on the challenges he faces. Simon’s central relationship with his new friend Clara is rich in realistic teen dialogue, amusing asides, and deeper emotional moments that keep you just as invested in their journey together as in the overall mystery plot. I would not hesitate to recommend The Ghost Ring for fans of intricately penned paranormal adventures, heartfelt YA characters, and plenty of Victorian atmosphere.

Ammaarah Seboa

Saying goodbye to their tiny apartment, Simon and his mom drive seven hours to Caligo Falls to settle Great-Uncle Edmond’s estate. Instead of a quick little visit with their late uncle’s lawyer, they are expected to live at the estate for two years if they wish to receive their inheritance, and certain conditions are attached. However, all is not as it seems, and Simon discovers that Wilder House has as many secrets as it has rooms. Throw in the weird cold spots and freaky painting, which resembles Clara, the store clerk, and you’re in for a treat. Grab your copy of The Ghost Ring by Tom Hoffman to discover what happens next.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Ghost Ring by Tom Hoffman. This book took me back to my childhood and endless love for mystical things. The novel is set at a moderate pace and doesn’t allow for plot holes. I love how Tom incorporated Greek mythology into the storyline. The characters Tom created were relatable, and the situations and decisions they found themselves in were realistic. Simon’s feelings were refreshing; these types of protagonists usually fear the unknown, but that’s not the case with young Simon. He approached his new situation with a mind of logic and curiosity. I was so wrapped up in the story that it felt like I was watching a movie. I am dying for more!

Delene Vrey

The Ghost Ring by Tom Hoffman is a delightful young adult read that deals with ghosts and mystery. Simon and his mother inherited a mansion in the small town of Caligo Falls. At first, Simon is unhappy with moving and leaving his friends behind. However, the house and the conditions for them to gain legal possession of the estate depend on them living in the house for two years. Simon receives a gift from the deceased Edmund and soon realizes that more is happening in and around the house than he could have guessed. Simon starts seeing ghosts and is drawn into Edmund’s past, becoming friends with a girl who resembles a woman Edmund had immortalized in many portraits. They soon become friends, and Clara helps Simon reach out and put to rest some of the ghosts in Caligo Falls. But all is not as it seems with the Ghost Ring that Simon received from Edmund. Simon learns of the ancient guardians of the six rings of Persephone and the heartbreaking tale of how the ring came to be in Edmund's possession. How will the ring affect the future of Simon and his mother, and what mysteries does the old mansion hold?

The Ghost Ring by Tom Hoffman is a good, clean, somewhat suspenseful mystery. It has elements to enthrall young adult readers. The book is written in great taste and, with some parental guidance, will provide a good reading experience to readers in high school. The prospective reader should be aware of references to murder, suicide, and drowning. This is not a horror story with gory images or gratuitous violence. What I liked was how the author captured the emotions of Simon and Clara and how they grew. Simon realizes that happiness can be found somewhere you do not want to go, and Clara learns that parents were children once and we can learn from each other’s lives. The most important theme for me was that money does not make a person happy. It makes many things easier, but you can be rich without ostentatiously flaunting it. Simon and his mother kept their humble dispositions, and their inheritance did not change them. The mythical origins of the Shadow Ring are a great way of getting younger readers interested in the classics and paving the way for more stories in the same spirit.

Cecelia Hopkins

The Ghost Ring by Tom Hoffman sees Simon Moody and his mother, Kate, move to Caligo Falls to fulfill the conditions of Uncle Edmund’s will. Surprises abound as lawyer Marion Jaggers explains their life of poverty will be transformed into one of unimaginable wealth, but Simon and Kate must sleep in assigned bedrooms, and cannot dismiss the remaining employees of the estate, Harrington and Mrs. Morley. Simon is disturbed by the compelling portrait of a young woman until he meets local girl Clara Barley, who looks just like the picture. Clara becomes Simon’s best friend and confidant as he explores the ring's secret.

The Ghost Ring by Tom Hoffman is an eminently readable coming-of-age fantasy. I enjoyed the wish-fulfillment aspects of the plot as the single-parent Moody family was granted wealth beyond their wildest expectations. I felt frissons of fear as Simon sensed the presence of ghosts but was vastly assured when he began to defuse the situation with Clara’s support. There was a sense of satisfaction as wrongs were righted, and I felt Simon was a deserving candidate. I enjoyed the humor embedded in the point of view of different characters represented throughout the narrative. Simon was endearing with his adolescent fear of being “weird” when asserting his wishes or expressing himself. Clara was refreshingly open to friendship, and I liked how she negotiated Simon’s interest. The Ghost Ring by Tom Hoffman combined mythic and morality tale elements with a teenage voice to create an enchanting young adult novel.

Essien Asian

Simon and his mother are shocked when they are notified that a wealthy relative has died and willed his entire estate to them. It could not have come at a better time, as they are struggling financially through a rough patch. But before they can access their newfound wealth, they must satisfy the strange conditions that come with it. They must live in the enormous mansion on the property with its secrets. Simon is about to discover that one of those secrets will unlock an adventure of a paranormal kind for the young man in Tom Hoffman's Ghost Ring.

A young hero develops an entirely new appreciation for the afterlife in the storyline of Tom Hoffman's mystery novel. Hoffman's characters are a delight to read in how he injects either a smidge of humor or a dash of mystery into each of them. His development of Simon's character is in keeping with what I would expect of a youth, with curiosity overriding caution in several cases and the growing romantic arc he develops with Clara. The best part of this story is how the subplots consist of mysteries that require being solved in a particular order. This builds suspense and guarantees a gripping conclusion. Hoffman deserves plaudits for his innate storytelling approach, which transformed Ghost Ring from a paranormal mystery into a delightfully engaging reading experience that captivated me to the end.