A Beth-Hill Novel: Jacob Lane Series, Book 1: The Tenth Ghost by Jennifer St. Clair (Fantasy/Young Adult)

 
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Bitten by Books (http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=152)
4.5 Tombstones

From the first breath of intrigue to the meeting of Jacob Lane, ghost-seeing girl, I was quickly and thoroughly enchanted by this story. Jacob’s tenth birthday starts out fairly normal (for a girl who knows dragons, fairies and ghosts, that is). Her parents give her a brand new bike and she is ecstatic while sharing it with her best friend, the girl ghost Emma. By the following day, however, her life has completely changed. Her parents are missing and presumed murdered (she herself only kept safe by the quick thinking of Emma), and a boatload of relatives she never knew existed invade her house, lead by two aunts she has never met. Having lost two parents and gained a Family, Jacob is sent off to Darkbrook Academy, the premier (and only) school of magic in the United States (it is in Ohio).

Meeting new ghosts, making magical friends, and the studying intensely are enough to keep anyone busy. Add in a mystery of historic proportions, a murderous plot, and twists and turns at every other moment, and you have a wonderful story set around an interesting girl and her adventures that cross the realm of wizard and witch. The Tenth Ghost is the first story in the Jacob Lane series, followed by The Ninth Guest, The Eighth Room and The Seventh Secret.
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Christina Lewis, freelance writer and owner/editor of http://www.kidsbookshelf.com - a children's literature website
When ten-year-old Jacob Lane is awakened in the night by her friend Emma, a ghost who lives under the apple tree in Jacob's yard, she learns that her parents have mysteriously disappeared and there is a huge hole in the top of her house. During the funeral Jacob discovers that she has relatives she never knew existed. Now an orphan, Jacob is sent to Darkbrook, a school of magic in the United States her family has been attending for years. But when Jacob learns that nine students have mysteriously died over the past one hundred years, she is determined to get to the bottom of it, and make sure that she doesn't become the tenth ghost.

Can Jacob and her assortment of interesting friends stop the witch from killing anymore students, will they be able to save the Dragon Queen in time, and what really happened to Jacob's parents on that mysterious night?

"The Tenth Ghost" is a wonderfully written, exciting adventure you won't want to stop reading!
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Rita Hestand for Rita's Kid Reviews (http://www.crosswinds.net/~willysworld/Reviews.htm)
Rating: 5 Star

Usually when I do a review, it is strictly from my own viewpoint, but an interesting thing happened with this book. I put it in the "library" (bathroom) to read and before I knew what was happening, my husband was turning the pages and reading this book. Him being a Sci-Fi fan, I was surprised when he couldn't wait to finish it and I'd left pages other places. Interesting!

The book begins at a school for witches, wizards and other "gifted" children, Darkbrook. A young wizard by the name of Ash is murdered by a young girl named Clara who wants to be a wizard. That was over a hundred years ago.

A ten year old, Jacob Lane has no idea what is about to happen to her and her family. One night she's talking to her friend Emma (a ghost) in the garden and the next thing she knows her house is half blown away, and her parents are killed. Jacob is suddenly an orphan surrounded by her super-natural powered relatives that she vaguely remembers meeting.

Due to her circumstances, Jacob is whisked off to Darkbrook to study her witchcraft, and fortunately, her friend Emma comes with her.

But Darkbrook holds many dark and scary mysteries. Jacob's well meaning Uncle Lucas is trying to find her parents murderers while she attends school.

However, when Jacob encounters Ash's ghost in the tower at Darkbrook, Jacob knows she is on to some family mystery, for she is kin to Ash, and must find his killer too. It seems that Clara, who wanted to be a wizard, and not a witch killed Ash and has killed every ten years or so a student at Darkbrook. And Ash warns Jacob that she might be Clara's next victim.

Together with a new friend, Ophellia (a vampire bat) Emma, and Ash. Jacob is determined to find out who Clara has become through this long period of time. For surely Clara has never left Darkbrook.

Many students at Darkbrook befriend Jacob, including a dragon, whom she's suspected killed her parents. However, after becoming friends with Solomon she soon realizes that he could not have killed them. Solomon only wants to help Jacob survive the new Clara.

This intriguing tale of mayhem and murder will keep anyone turning the pages for more. Ms. St. Clair certainly knows how to keep her audience wanting more.

Will Jacob survive the new Clara? Will she find her parents murderers? We are totally kept in suspense with this adventure in super natural beings and a little witch that seems almost too normal for real.

Everyone will enjoy this book from 6 to 60. It is filled with wonderful magic and mayhem that keeps us on our toes and in suspense till the end. You won't want to put this one down till the last page. A must read for all ages! Highly recommended!
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Brenda Ramsbacher, Scribblers
They protected her the only way they could. Her parents named her Jacob Catherine Lane. But it wasn't enough to protect the people Jacob knew as parents. The night of Jacob's tenth birthday went from pure happiness to outright destruction. Her savior came in the form of a ghost who was her best friend. Hidden, Jacob slept the night away. Then morning came. Her Aunts arrived. But they only vaguely explained her parents' death. Still Jacob could not understand why they arrived when they did and had never visited before. The only problem was that they forgot to make sure Jacob understood the seriousness of the situation that could be her own death.

That night, the Family arrived for the funeral. It was not a normal funeral. Sorrow was not a major portion. Rather the Family grouped into circles and stopped talking whenever Jacob wandered near. The only people who would really speak to her were her Aunts and Uncle. And they caused trepidation for they talked in riddles. But at that time, the only thing Jacob understood was that nothing would ever be the same again.

A short time later, Jacob is encased at the Darkbrook Boarding School where a mystery brews. Finding her ancestor in the tower in the form of a ghost was not scary but finding out others had been killed terrified Jacob. The reason seemed simple. Ash, her ancestor, believed Jacob would be THE TENTH GHOST. To save her own life, Jacob needed to solve the mystery. And fast.

With evil haunting Darkbrook, Jacob was in danger. The only problem was that Jacob was not in the form expected. The villain expected a boy. Jacob was a girl. The villain needed a wizard. And everyone there knew girls cannot be wizards. Unfortunately, this did not mean that Jacob was safe just because of her gender.

A truly fun story, young adults will delight in this fantastical tale Jacob unknowingly unravels. St. Clair has penned a winner - don't miss this one.
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Tina Morgan for Fiction Factor (http://www.fictionfactor.com/reviews/tenthghost.html)
Perhaps the greatest compliment any writer can receive is that the public enjoys reading their work. If Jennifer St. Clair could see the line of students in my daughter's class waiting to read her YA novel, The Tenth Ghost, I'm sure she'd feel quite honored.

Reviewing a young adult or middle grade fiction novel can be difficult. I can point out the technical flaws and tell if the story worked for me, but I can't tell you if the target audience will enjoy the book unless I ask a student to read it. Fortunately for me, I have a young daughter who likes to read.

The Tenth Ghost is the story of a girl named Jacob. An unusual name for a young girl but Jacob isn't your normal student. She's a witch whose parents have been murdered by dragons. Her best friend, Emma is a ghost who lives in the apple tree behind Jacob's house. When the dragons come looking for Jacob's family, Emma hides her under the apple tree's roots.

Jacob finds herself faced with the decision of living with two of her elderly witch aunts, an uncle she's just met or attending Darkbrook School of Magic. The grownups breathe a sigh of relief when she chooses to go to the school, believing it to be the safest place for her. But the school holds not only the secret to the dragons' attack on Jacob's parents but an even darker danger that's been lurking there for more than 100 years. If Jacob can't unravel the mystery, she'll become the school's tenth ghost.

You may have picked up on a few similarities between the premise of The Tenth Ghost and another very popular children's book. This did distract me a bit, but the kids in my daughter's class don't seem to mind.

However, I would have preferred that by the end of the book, the reason Jacob is chosen to be the tenth ghost had been resolved. The author hints at the reason why she's been given a boy's name but never clarifies the issue.

Over all, The Tenth Ghost is a pleasant and enjoyable read and judging by the list of kids waiting to read it in my daughter's 5th grade class, it's a big hit with its target market.

The Tenth Ghost earns a * * * * rating.
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Katherine Maria Scott for http://tcm-ca.com/reviews/862.html
Ms. St. Clair’s Young Adult novel, The Tenth Ghost delivered an awesome tale with a serious message delivered in a subtle manner. In this tale, the issue of gender roles is questioned by the idea that girls/women may be witches, but never wizards. Well as it so happens, the main character, Jacob, is a girl sporting a traditional boy’s name. This anomaly actually causes some interesting mistakes and misunderstandings throughout the book. Jacob’s relatively normal life, if you consider having a ghost as a best friend normal, is disrupted when her parents disappear one night. Fortunately, Jacob is saved by the quick thinking and actions of her best friend, Emma, the ghost, who manages to hide Jacob under an apple tree in the yard. When Jacob wakes up, hours later, her two aunts, Flora and Agnes, both witches, have arrived and are searching for her. Repairs are made to the house as they inform Jacob her parent are gone, presumed killed by dragons.

The next thing Jacob know, she and her ghost fried Emma are shipped off to magic boarding school, Darkbrook, by the Family and wouldn’t you know it, the first person she meets, rather the first dead person she meets, is a victim of murder and everyone who has seen him so far has died. There’s just one glitch, all the previous victims have been wizards and everyone knows a girl cannot be a wizard, so Jacob should be fine. Right? Then again, times have changed and Jacob and Emma don’t want to take any chances. Armed with research, a ghost free to roam about and interrogate the previous nine ghost victims, and a new friend Ophelia, who has a few secrets of her own, Jacob decides to be proactive and embarks on a campaign to solve the mysterious deaths no one seems to have noticed over the years. She is determined not to be The Tenth Ghost. And if that weren’t enough to keep her occupied, along with her studies, there was still the matter of the dragons that killed her parents, and of course Darkbrook had a few enrolled that year. Was it possible any of the dragon students knew which dragons killed her parents and why they would break the treaty?

The Tenth Ghost moves at a brisk pace with lots of action and Jacob constantly discovering people who have secrets, including an Uncle Lucas who conveniently appears for a visit in the middle of her investigation, bearing secrets of his own. Jacob proves to be a brave young lady determined to find the killer, so the spirit victims may finally rest in peace; and if she can determine who killed her parents as well that would just be grand. This is a fantastic read and I can see Jacob and her friends stumbling across other adventures during their educational journey at Darkbrook. I’ll be anxiously awaiting Ms. St. Clair’s next novel.
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