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Author: Richard Peck

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010

Material: hard cover

Summary: Kerry Williamson is invisible. At least she thinks she is. Until one day, when three popular senior girls - Tanya, Mackenzie, and Natalie - start including her in their clique. After the trio is killed in a car crash, Kerry is once again alone. Or is she. Tanya texts here to come into New York City the night before prom. Is it possible? Could they still be alive? This is a ghost-story type novel set in high school. It is a high interest / low readability book.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 10 to 12; read yourself: 12 and Up

Interest Level: 12 to 15

Reading Level: 4

Age of Child: Read by 12-year-old girl. Also read by the Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: 12YO: Our pre-teen picked this up because she liked the picture of the three girls on the cover, and she likes eerie, ghost-story-like books. She got about halfway through, then jumped to the end. She said the middle was "too long."

BTSYA: Three Quarters Dead is labeled "Children’s Fiction" but I recommend this novel to teens and older. The Halloween prank alone is frightening enough to cause nightmares, and should only be exposed to those ready to handle more adult topics such as death and abortion. I caution readers younger than high school age to read this book, as it may give a too extreme account of the high school experience.

Adult Reader Reaction: There ghost story elements of the book are intriguing and what keep it alive (no pun intended). Unfortunately, Tanya is such a heavy-handed bully that the story lost its way. Kerry had great potential for becoming a positive character, but every time she started to show some depth, the growth was short-circuited by other events. I cheered for her for a long time, but in the end felt I'd wasted my time.

Pros: This is a ghost story with that explores high school life: friendship, peer pressure, and dealing with grief.

Cons: Tanya is a strong personality,and badgers Kerry into activities that would be considered cruel.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow.


Educational Themes: Even though this is a fictional fantasy story, there are plot elements - like the girls' friendship, choices and consequences; and family life that lend themselves to "real" discussions.

Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of this book at Book Expo America. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.

Literary Categories: Fiction - ghost story, coming of age, Young Adult

Date(s) Reviewed: December 2014, September 2015

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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