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The Ghost Behind the Wall

Press:Henry Holt & Co Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (April 1, 2003)
Author Name:Burgess, Melvin


Award-winning author Melvin Burgess’s thrilling new ghost story for younger readers.David screamed and the ghostly boy opened his mouth and screamed back. 
But his scream wasn’t the scream of a child—it was the scream of an old, old man.“Come back, come back,” screamed the ghost in his cracked old voice.
“Don’t leave me.
Don’t go!”Twelve-year-old David lives with his dad in a big old apartment building called Mahogany Villas.
When he discovers he can climb through the vent pipes in the building and get into other apartments and play tricks on people, he simply can’t resist.
His main victim is Robert Alveston, a forgetful man in his nineties who is afraid that he is losing his mind.
But David’s nasty pranks soon disturb more than his elderly neighbor.
One day he comes face-to-face with a ghost, at first friendly but more and more terrifying as it becomes clear that he has a particular grudge against Mr Alveston.
Soon both the old man and David are in great danger.

From Booklist

David is mischievous, alienated, small for his age, and curious.
His curiosity gets the better of him one day when he decides to explore the space behind a wall ventilation grille.
The path along the air duct system is scary and dark, but utterly mesmerizing.
As he squeezes through, snooping into neighbors' lives, he feels powerful; he can scare a little boy watching television or cast a voyeuristic gaze into a local teacher's private life.
The adventure turns to horror, however, when he discovers a ghostlike figure of a boy in the wall.
It terrorizes David and leads him to menace an elderly neighbor, old Mr.
Alveston, whose memory is fading.
Readers may wonder if the ghost is David's alter ego, but Burgess is more clever than that.
He's at his inventive best in tying the figure to Alveston's youth, and using David to bring the ghost and old man together, so Alveston can peacefully die.
Before that, however, David's remorse leads to a healing, transforming relationship with the old man.
An ultimately poignant adventure that will captivate British author Burgess' fans.
Anne O'MalleyCopyright © American Library Association.
All rights reserved


"When most people hear 'large-print book,' they immediately think senior citizen. 
But large-print editions of popular children's books -- from the powerhouse Harry Potter series to timeless classics like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer -- are now making their way onto the shelves of the Children's Department at the Canton Library.
Although large-print editions are targeted to the visually-impaired or dyslexic child, they can also be used by standard-vision readers.
So Kershner [Children's librarian at the Canton Public Library] has decided against creating a special section in the Children's Department (as exists in the Adult Department) opting instead to intersperse large-print books on the shelves with the regular print versions of the same titles." -- The Observer and Eccentric (October 2000) (The Observer and Eccentric 20001001)"Thorndike Press has helped me not only find books I want to read, but they also look like regular books.
That's important when you're a kid and you can only read Large Print, you want your book to look like all the other books.
I'm reading a lot more now that we have found Thorndike Press." -- Jim Bernardin, Islamorada, FL"Everyone loves to read, there's nothing like curling up with a good book.
We're a reading family, so when our son was diagnosed with Stargardt's Disease and only able to read Large Print, it was particularly difficult.
Books on tape are wonderful but they don't fill the void of actually reading a good story.
Large Print books have been around a long time for older people, but to find a good novel for a young person in Large Print began to feel nearly impossible.
The books that Thorndike Press publishes have truly made a difference in my son's reading life.
He can enjoy current novels as well as some of the classics that he missed reading when it became too difficult with regular print." -- Sara Bernardin, Islamorada, FL

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Melvin Burgess has written several highly acclaimed books for young adults, including Smack, which won the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. 
Four of his other novels, including this one, have been runners-up for the Carnegie Medal.
Burgess lives in Manchester, England, with his wife and their children.


Children's Books,Science Fiction & Fantasy,Spine-Chilling Horror,Literature & Fiction

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Comment List (Total:3)

  •     The Ghost Behind the WallBy: Melvin BurgessReviewed by: P. ShahPeriod: 1How would you react if you heard screams and whispers in the air conditioning ducts? David, a twelve year old kid that lives with his father in Mahogany Villas,(an apartment)gets the experience of his life! After school, on a tuesday, David felt like he was bored. When he looked at the ducts he felt as if a voice was calling him into the darkness. He was so curious that he pushed the grille and it opened into darkness. He climbed in with a flashlight and he spied on some people. He even snuck into his teacher's apartment and stole one of her boots. But he also had some frightening molments in the ducts. He came face to face with a ghost boy! One week later he was tempted to visit the ducts again. This time he played tricks on an elderly man named Mr. Alveston. David peed on the carpet, ate food from the refrigerator, and the ghost boy smashed all of Mr. Alveston's pictures. Near the end, everyone finds out that the ghost is really Mr. Alveston's memory of his childhood.I liked this book because it was funny to see what David did to each of the apartment rooms he snuck in. " He jumped down from the grille and slowly took a boot from his teacher." This is funny because two days later he returns the boot but he takes the other foot. " David peed on the floor next to the toilet." This is funny because you would never expect someone to pee on the floor right next to a toilet.I disliked this book because it wasn't as scary as i would have hoped it would have been.My favorite part of the book is when David sneaks into his teacher's apartment and he takes a boot. And then he switched the boots! My least favorite part of this book is when David and the ghost boy trash Mr. Alveston's apartment. I hated this part because it is sad to trash an elderly person's home.

  •     Review on Ghost Behind The Wall How would you react if you heard whispering and screams coming from your air ducts? In this story a twelve year old boy has the guts to go into the ducts to see what those sounds were made by. Would you?The book, The Ghost Behind The Wall is the best book that I have read. This book is about a boy that finds the mysteriousness of the air ducts exciting. Once he crawls in, he finds that he can use his secret for good or for bad. Since every apartment has an air duct, he can go into any apartment that he wants to. He use this to could catch criminals but he had a second thought... There is a secret behind the walls of the mahogany villas, which even David (the twelve year old boy) doesn't want to see. My favorite part of the book is when the ghost comes to the grille in David's room and says "come play with me" and I imagine the ghost saying that in the creepiest voice. Another favorite part of mine is the beginning but I won't tell you about that part, Read it yourself to find out. If you enjoy sitting on the end of your seat while you read books or watching movies well then this is the book for you. I'm not a "reader", but I read this book three times in a span of two weeks. If you are a reluetent reader, I recommend this one, you might be surprised.Adults would love this book as well because it is not a little kid book, I was terrified when the ghost attacked Mr. A. so I would not rank this book as a kids only one. I hope that they make a sequel to this book for me to read more!-Makenzie

  •     I highly recommend the book, "The ghost behind the wall." It is a story about a boy who finds a secret passage that leads him from his apartment to others as well. He then starts sneaking into other peoples apartments and takes things from thier house to make them think they're going crazy. He tends to pick on and old man inparticular. But while the boy is climing out of the mans apartment he meets a ghost boy. The boy gets so frightened, he quickly squirms out of the pipes as fast as he can and rushes home. It was a frightening experience but the boy continued to go back. After a while the ghost and the boy become friends. Before you know it they start scaring people together. If you want to find out what happens next in this thriller, I strongly advise you and your friends to read "The Ghost Behind the Wall."


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