Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind, by Darlene Foster (2017)

Mystery
8-11
Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind, by Darlene FosterTwelve-year-old Amanda and her new friend Cleo are headed to New Mexico with several Grade 6 classmates from Calgary. An artistic bunch, they will be exploring the history and culture of the area, taking time to document the trip through drawings, photographs, and words. Amanda doesn’t believe in ghosts, and neither does her photographer buddy Caleb. But when strange occurrences start happening to Cleo, and then to others in the group, Amanda finds herself wondering if ghosts really do exist. I commend Foster for the meticulous research; readers will learn a great deal about the history and culture of the Ancient Puebloans, early settlers, and modern American natives in the area. The kids get into mischief, largely by accident, and young readers will enjoy the story, though it does feel rather formulaic for an adult reader. The story never took off for me – it felt like a series of coincidences rather than a carefully plotted novel. Clues aren’t readily apparent until near the end, and the resolution was, for me, rather flat and awkward. This is the sixth book in the Amanda Travels series, but the first one I’ve read. I don’t think I’ll be trying any others in the series, but it’s possible the book will have more appeal for readers already familiar with Amanda’s adventures. Ultimately there’s nothing really wrong with this book; it just never seems to gain any heights. My thanks to Central Avenue Publishing for the advance reading copy provided through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34432362
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