Local Penhook author Becky Mushko has published her first middle grade novel, Stuck, a paranormal tale about a sixth-grade girl, Jacie Addison, whose world turns upside down when her mother dies. Jacie's father are sends her to summer horse camp to help her get over her grief, but to Jacie's dismay, her least-favorite school mate, Nichole, turns out to be in her cabin. Still she is excited about learning to ride, even if stuck-up Nicole tries to do everything possible to ruin her summer.
After she returns from camp, Jacie's father springs more unwelcome news: he is going to marry an old sweetheart, Liz, from high school. He has been downsized and will be starting a new job near Liz's old farm house in the country. Jacie feels trapped. She's stuck in grief, stuck with her soon-to-be stepmother, stuck out in the country with no friends, stuck helping plan a wedding she doesn't want to happen, stuck taking care of bratty seven-year-old twins, and stuck with no Internet access.
Liz gives Jacie art supplies and Jacie escapes into the woods to be alone and draw every chance she gets. She meets Callie, a ghost who is stuck on earth. When Callie asks Jacie to help her find her daughter, the young girl finds a purpose in life. She researches local history and tells the ghost what happened the night she died. The knowledge frees the ghost.
As with all good middle grade novels, the ending has Jacie happily caring for her camp horse, her father remarried, and the "evil" stepmother not evil at all.
I am so happy to post this review of my friend's book on the day it officially is launched at the Franklin County Library in Rocky Mount. Here's the disclosure. Becky's my friend and colleague in two writers groups and one writers club.