Cover image for There's a dead person following my sister around
There's a dead person following my sister around
Vande Velde, Vivian.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt Brace, [1999]

Physical Description:
143 pages ; 22 cm
Eleven-year-old Ted becomes concerned and intrigued when his five-year-old sister Vicki begins receiving visits from two female ghosts.
Reading Level:
870 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.4 5.0 32361.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.3 9 Quiz: 20340 Guided reading level: W.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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When Ted's five-year-old sister, Vicki, invents an imaginary friend, no one is too concerned . . . except that Vicki's friend has the never-popular name of Marella, and unlike most imaginary friends, Marella can move things. Ted might think Marella is a ghost, but why would a ghost haunt Vicki, of all people? And why would she suddenly move into a house Ted's family has lived in for ages? And why is Marella terrified of another ghost, a dark figure who seems to be hunting Ted? Hilarious, haunting, and unexpectedly moving, There's a Dead Person Following My Sister Around is Vivian Vande Velde at her frightening best.

Author Notes

Vivian Vande Velde (born 1951, Rochester, New York) is an American author who writes books primarily aimed at children and young adults. She currently resides in Rochester, New York. Her novels and short story collections usually contain elements of horror, fantasy, and humor. Her book Never Trust a Dead Man (1999) received the 2000 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-9. Even though 12-year-old Ted and his family live in an ordinary house in Rochester, New York, with "no swamps, cemeteries or windswept moors," his 5-year-old sister is being shadowed by the ghosts of an African American mother and child. Ted, who is more concerned about finishing his class project on Luxembourg than he is about his sister's new imaginary friends, is, nevertheless, drawn into the hauntings by eerie dreams and his sister's obvious fright. When he learns that his 13-year-old cousin saw the ghosts when she was 5, he investigates. The discovery of his great-great-grandmother's diary and the story of her involvement with the Underground Railroad is the key to unearthing the ghosts' sad tale. The journal entries offer a firsthand glimpse into the risks runaway slaves and those who sheltered them faced, and without resorting to gimmicks, Vande Velde manages to tie up loose ends and give her readers a satisfying, genuinely spooky story. --Candace Smith

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ted's big problem is not his annoying brother Zach, his social studies report on Luxembourg or his stuck-up cousin Jackie. He has ghosts in his house. His five-year-old sister, Vicki, is the first to see them; she starts keeping a hammer under her pillow for protection. Then, 11-year-old Ted dreams of mud, drowning and cobwebby fingers touching his face. Naturally, their parents don't believe these ghostly accounts of undead residents, so the children are on their own to do the supernatural sleuthing. The ghosts soon progress to the usual haunting activities of slamming doors, stealing keys and tipping over school projects. They appear on cable TV and even show up in a museum elevator. But why? Only when Ted unravels a mystery involving the Underground Railroad and reveals the ghosts' identities can peace be restored. Vande Velde's (Tales From the Brothers Grimm and Sisters Weird) dialogue has a natural cadence and the plot unfolds at a brisk pace. And the African-American ghosts provide an intriguing counterpoint to a thoroughly modern houseful of children, who learn a history lesson strong enough to chill their bones. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-Vande Velde continues her string of historical ghost stories, this time focusing on the Underground Railroad. The first-person narrator, 11-year-old Ted, is certain that his house in Rochester, NY, can't be haunted because it has been in his family for generations and there have been no secrets to speak of in its past. Then his five-year-old sister Vicki's imaginary friend Marella and the "bad lady" who seems to be chasing her prove themselves to be all too real. Ted decides to get to the bottom of the mystery and finds a journal belonging to one of his ancestors. It recounts the tragic story of two runaway slaves, a mother and her five-year-old daughter, who drowned in the Erie Canal, which used to run through the family's backyard. The story culminates in Ted and Vicki being possessed by the spirits in order to help them move on. The secondary characters include busy parents barely present; a typical teenage brother; and a trendy, smart-talking cousin. However, the plot has original twists and the journal passages are nicely integrated into a story with some genuine chills. The penultimate chapter unnecessarily switches to present tense when Adah, the mother's spirit, possesses Ted. Nonetheless, there is sufficient humor, action, and scariness to keep readers engaged. A good choice for fans of Bruce Coville's "Nina Tanleven" series (Bantam).-Timothy Capehart, Leominster Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.