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Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega #BookReview

Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters in this action-packed supernatural fantasy.For Lucely Luna, ghosts are more than just the family business. Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely’s firefly spirits before it’s too late. With the family dynamics of Coco and action-packed adventure of Ghostbusters, Claribel A. Ortega delivers both a thrillingly spooky and delightfully sweet debut novel.

Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega - MG paranormal

Title: Ghost Squad | Author: Claribel A. Ortega | Publisher: Scholastic | Pub Date: 7/4/2020 | Pages: 288 | ISBN13: 9781338280142 | Genre: MG Paranormal | Language: English | Source: Self-purchased | Starred Review

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Ghost Squad Review

Lucely Luna and her best friend, Syd, must find the courage to thwart the evil forces threatening to take over their town. Syd’s grandmother, Babette, is using her powers as a witch to keep a close eye on the girls, which makes it hard, but they are determined.

Ghost Squad integrates Spanish with English in the narrative seamlessly, and although I do not speak Spanish, I had no trouble figuring out what the words meant from the context. This is a great way to encourage kids to learn Spanish.

One of the things I really appreciated about Ghost Squad was the genuine, fun friendship between two girls. It was really nice to read a story about two girls who sincerely like each other and care about each other. When Lucely tells Syd about her family’s problems, Syd doesn’t hesitate to offer to help. That’s what friends do. And no matter how scary things get, they stand by each other.

I also really enjoyed reading a story about a girl who is being raised by a single dad. There were a few reasons why this was effective. As the breadwinner for the household, Lucely’s dad is often busy and distracted. This makes it a little easier for Lucely to sneak around. It also explains her independence and self reliance. It isn’t that Syd is lazy or spoiled, but we do see the subtle contrast. Lucely is often making dinner for herself and eating without her dad at home, while Syd’s parents are preparing family dinners.

Lucely’s family dynamic also contributes to one of her character arcs. I think it’s important for kids to see young protagonists whose lives aren’t perfect, but who are given the chance to heal. 

There are a lot of great characters in this story (including Judge John!) but my favorite just might be Chunk. He deserves all the treats.

Sometimes, it feels like the world has lost its magic, but being immersed in this fun, heartwarming story was good for my soul. What could be better than two young friends going on an adventure to help the people who are most important to them, and finding courage and support along the way? I’m sure middle grade and young YA readers will enjoy this story, and I know this adult thoroughly enjoyed it too.

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads. (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inBook ReviewsStarred Reviews


  1. I’ve got this book on my school wish-list for when budgets open, it sounds like my kids are really going to love it. We’ve got many Spanish speaking students, based on your review I bet they’ll really like the language-switching.

    • I love it! The language was integrated seamlessly. I haven’t taken much Spanish (I took French and German) but I had no issues at all with the language. I think it will mean a lot to kids who do speak Spanish too!

  2. Stormi D Johnson

    I thought this was a fun one! 🙂

  3. Adding to my TBR. Sounds like something I’d like.

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