I’m Becky Chalmers. I’m 15-years-old. Uncle Beasley, the family history buff took me on an archive adventure to hunt for an American Revolutionary War hero; instead, I found a ghost—a ghost with a story. In addition, there are two boys who’ve captured my heart. Teenage life is complicated. Somehow everything got stirred together. Here’s my advice; if you don’t believe in ghosts—believe. And if you have to choose between two great boys—pray. Synopsis: Becky Chalmers, a teen goes on an adventure in the State Archives with her historian uncle. What she finds in a haunted annex hallway is a ghost. The ghost tells her a heartbreaking story. Living life as a normal teenager—school and friends—changes when the story turns into a thriller. In the end Becky has to make a choice, a choice she will have to live with forever.
An archive adventure. An aproned ghost. A family feud and a kidnapping. The return of a lost love. They’re all part of Diane Green’s immensely entertaining romantic suspense, Becky’s Choice: A Ghost’s Story.
They’re baaaack. The characters you know and love from Diane Green’s prior work, Becky Likes Boys, are in rare and wondrous form in this follow-on story set in Yardley, Pennsylvania. In this clever mystery, readers are reunited with Sharon, Becky’s “sister-friend” and trusted confidante; Scotty Cadwallader, who’s convinced he’s her boyfriend and is home from military school; Becky’s old heart throb, Juan Carlos, and Juan’s five year-old niece, Tessa.
Fifteen year-old Becky is excited about joining her bookish Uncle Beasley on a research adventure to the State House archives. They’re hot on the trail of an American Revolutionary War Deputy Quartermaster, Moore Furman, of New Jersey. When Becky wanders off, she runs into an elderly woman with a mop. Becky soon finds herself in a dimly lit room with the cleaning lady and a painting that may or may not be Moore Furman.
Meanwhile, the cleaning woman, Minnie Homeier, tells Becky a story about a little girl named Lily. Think Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl. (The story-within-a story angle is brilliant!) Minnie later reveals that Lily was her little sister who died tragically as a young girl. Is Minnie real, or is she something else?
Becky barely has time to ponder this when she later spies a “hauntingly familiar” shadow. Could it be Juan Carlos? It is. But with the pain of his prior departure still “achingly fresh,” Becky’s not sure what to make of Juan’s sudden reappearance. It all comes to a head when Juan explains that Tessa has been kidnapped. She’s later spotted at the State House archives. Will Minnie think Tessa is her deceased sister, Lily, and try to hide Tessa from everyone?
There’s also family. Friendship. A Christmas cookie party. The pink fish catastrophe. And the richness of loving. It all adds up to a warm and wonderful read. As before, the author expertly captures the swirling and ever-changing emotions of preteens and young teens as well as their anxieties, uncertainties, hopes and dreams. The skill and sensitivity evident here will certainly resonate with its target audience.
Note that this book opens with a brief “historical preamble” regarding the Pennsylvania setting and the cast of characters. This may be a little confusing for some readers and have them scratching their heads. But the story gets back on track quickly when Becky gets asked out on a date by Scotty Cadwallader. Then it’s off to the races in this delightful blend of history, mystery, and teen romance that’ll keep you guessing and turning pages until the very end.
Scene stealer: Trenton Detective Mike Myer. He has a surprising familial connection. But you’ll have to read the book yourself to find out more.
As is the case with other books in the Becky Chalmers series, Becky’s Choice clocks in at just under one hundred pages. It’s a lithe and agile read that’s briskly paced and expertly written. Becky’s Choice can be read as part of this faith-flavored series or as a stand-alone.
Finally, in my review of Becky Likes Boys, I urged readers to keep an eye out for Green’s next book. And Becky’s Choice doesn’t disappoint. Its target audience of teen and young adult readers will thoroughly enjoy this warm, rich read. Two thumbs up and more, please!