Cover image for The Presence
The Presence
Bunting, Eve, 1928-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Clarion Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
195 pages ; 19 cm
While visiting her grandmother in California, seventeen-year-old Catherine comes in contact with a mysterious stranger who says he can help her contact a friend who died in a car crash for which Catherine feels responsible.
Reading Level:
550 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.0 5.0 72767.

Reading Counts RC High School 5.4 10 Quiz: 34204 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


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

On Order



A brutal car accident that claimed the life of her best friend has left seventeen-year-old Catherine in a state of shock and severe depression. She longs to move forward with her life, but feels she can't until she is somehow assured of her friend's forgiveness. On a Christmas visit to her grandmother in Pasadena, a mysterious and handsome stranger approaches Catherine at church claiming that he can put her in touch with her dead friend. Catherine is wary of the stranger's claims and his ghostly appearance but feels he may be the only key to escaping her past. She tells no one of the meeting but is approached by an elderly woman who warns her of the stranger's powers. The woman's teenage diary and eerie rumors surrounding other troubled girls who have disappeared from the church community leave Catherine fearful of the stranger's true intentions. She realizes she must find some way to confront this supernatural presence as well as the ghosts ofher past.
A classic ghost story from one of Clarion's most distinguished authors. Eve Bunting brings a new edge to the genre of suspense by interweaving contemporary issues with sharp and frightful storytelling.

Author Notes

Eve Bunting was born in 1928 in Maghera, Ireland, as Anne Evelyn Bunting. She graduated from Northern Ireland's Methodist College in Belfast in 1945 and then studied at Belfast's Queen's College. She emigrated with her family in 1958 to California, and became a naturalized citizen in 1969.

That same year, she began her writing career, and in 1972, her first book, "The Two Giants" was published. In 1976, "One More Flight" won the Golden Kite Medal, and in 1978, "Ghost of Summer" won the Southern California's Council on Literature for Children and Young People's Award for fiction. "Smokey Night" won the American Library Association's Randolph Caldecott Medal in 1995 and "Winter's Coming" was voted one of the 10 Best Books of 1977 by the New York Times.

Bunting is involved in many writer's organizations such as P.E.N., The Authors Guild, the California Writer's Guild and the Society of Children's Book Writers. She has published stories in both Cricket, and Jack and Jill Magazines, and has written over 150 books in various genres such as children's books, contemporary, historic and realistic fiction, poetry, nonfiction and humor.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-10. Seventeen-year-old Catherine is visiting her grandmother in Pasadena, where everyone hopes she will recover from the shock and guilt over a friend's death in an auto accident. Enter Noah, aka the Presence. As readers learn from alternating chapters, in the voices of Noah and Catherine, this handsome young man tempts Catherine by telling her he has made contact with her deceased friend. She thinks he is a psychic, but readers quickly learn he is a ghost, one with a history of luring girls who look remarkably like Catherine to his room in a church and killing them. This is fine for what it is, a chilling little ghost story, handily turned by a veteran writer. Despite Bunting's skill, however, don't look too closely; there are coincidences galore. Catherine, who at one point laughs at characters in thrillers who open a door when they know they shouldn't, does exactly that. The climax, in which Noah returns to life only to die again, is too brief to be satisfying, but there's a hint of a sequel. Not everyone thinks he's dead. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

As Bunting's (Spying on Miss Muller) supernatural novel opens, the ghost of a 17-year-old who died 120 years earlier stands on the stairs of a California church, waiting for 17-year-old Catherine, who is spending Christmas with her grandmother while her parents travel in Europe. Noah, who now identifies himself as "The Presence," appears to be searching for a soul mate and believes Catherine is "the one." Grappling with grief and guilt over the death of her friend Kirsty (killed in a late-night car accident as the two were driving home from a party), Catherine is shocked and intrigued when Noah tells her that he has communicated with Kirsty and can arrange to have her talk to Kirsty as well. Through Catherine's and Noah's alternating narratives, the author reveals-in carefully measured doses-details of his nefarious past as well as of the accident that claimed Kirsty's life. Occasionally chilling passages describe the ghost's former exploits with other young women, most of whom have disappeared. But one intended victim, who escaped his clutches and is now quite elderly, shares her old diary with Catherine, enabling her to thwart The Presence's plans for her. Though the heroine's survival is never in question, crisp writing and questions that remain unanswered till tale's end will likely keep fans of ghost stories engaged. Ages 11-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-10-Eve Bunting's thriller (Clarion, 2003) fairly crackles with suspense and danger as 17-year-old Catherine encounters a Presence at her grandmother's church whom she at first identifies simply as a handsome and very sensitive young man. Yet he seems to sense her terrible guilt and psychological distress over a fatal car accident in which her best friend was killed in ways she comes to recognize as supernatural. Alyssa Bresnahan narrates this ghost story using several subtle but discernibly different reassuring voices for the grandmother, the minister, and the minister's eligible and interested teenage son. But the real tour de force comes in Catherine's voice, full of despair, tension, suspicion and, eventually, terror. Bresnahan's voice for The Presence himself, a 200-year- old soulless being trapped forever in the church because of his murder of his first love, is suffused with menace, madness, control, and intense force of will. The brooding sense of evil and foreboding evident in the general narration builds to a frightening climax as Catherine feels she must try to help other girls he has entrapped over the decades. A near-disaster leads to a sense of redemption for the teen as well as an unexpected release for The Presence himself, and Bresnahan's voice keeps pace emotionally with all of that. Public and school library collections serving teens who enjoy ghost stories will be able to showcase this sophisticated and up-to-date example of the genre.-Jane P. Fenn, Corning-Painted Post West High School, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.