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The Time Of The Ghost
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The Time Of The Ghost

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  1,698 ratings  ·  109 reviews
In this complex fantasy, a ghost who does not know her identity -- only that she is one of four odd, unhappy sisters, whose negligent parents run a modern-day English boys' school -- must save herself from an evil goddess that the sisters have unknowingly summoned.... Engaging.... A wonderful, bizarre tale that readers will not soon forget.
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Published September 1st 1997 by HarperTrophy (first published 1981)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,910)
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Melissa Proffitt
Is it just coincidence that Diana Wynne Jones's creepiest book is also her 13th published?

The unnamed, bodiless narrator knows only two things: that she is one of four sisters, and that there's been a terrible accident. She follows the sisters around, trying to discover which one she is, and finds more questions than answers. Where is middle sister Sally? What does the Worship of Monigan--a funny game Cart, the oldest sister, made up that has sinister undertones--have to do with her present cond
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Margaret
This is a walk on the darker side for the usually light-hearted Diana Wynne Jones. The titular ghost is one of a family of four sisters - only she doesn't know which one. As the ghost observes her family (richly characterized by Jones), she slowly figures out which sisters she is and what happened to her, and she discovers that she has the power to prevent something terrible from happening: the fulfillment of a bargain the sisters made with the mysterious goddess Monigan, whom the sisters though ...more
Nikki
It's quite strange reading this after reading the Reflections collection, knowing how autobiographical this happens to be. And how things that really happened to Diana Wynne Jones had to be toned down to be at all believable in the story. Of course, it still has that expansive, slightly breakneck pace of most of Jones' work -- there's something a little, well, mad about it. Colourful. I don't know how to describe it -- it's a swirl of colours and impressions. A child's imagination.

I read this al
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Kevin Fanning
GUGHGHGHGHGGH. So creepy and hilarious and great? How do you even write a book like this. HOW DO YOU GET IT PUBLISHED.

Our hero here is a ghost. She's not sure why she's a ghost, or who she is, but she senses something's wrong, and she has to fix it. She figures out that she's part of a family of 4 sisters, but isn't quite sure (for like _90%_ of the book) which sister she is.

The trick of a narrator who has to solve a mystery but who doesn't even know who she is blows my mind. How the author pu
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Verena
Anyone who has read a couple of books by Diana Wynne Jones knows that anything can happen and the explanation in the end is almost never the one you expected it to be in the beginning. This is true for Time of the Ghost, too, and although it certainly is not Diana Wynne Jones' best book, it was nonetheless great fun to watch the story unfold and find out what's behind all the strange goings-on.

I agree that it is to a certain amount darker than her other books, a little more disturbing, too. I've
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Fiona
Diana Wynne Jones is one of the best, respected, but vastly unknown fantasy authors out there. Despite this trying to find her in a bookshop is like wringing water from a stone. She is overshadowed by all the other fad-of-the-month books, which is such a shame as she’s a good, quality author.

I don’t know why. Maybe it is because she hasn’t really written many big series, apart from Chrestomanci and she can never be trusted to write them in chronological order either. Or maybe it’s because there’
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Hirondelle
Very strange YA fiction, with a typically DWJ complex plot, and an unreliable narrator (not spoilerish, she is openly confused from the start).

But what makes this truly remarkable is the portrayal of the parents, some of the most appalling incompetent evil by neglect parents I ever read about in fiction - though truth being stranger and far more appalling than fiction it echoes media account of real life cases and DWJ´s recollections of her own, and her sisters´s childhoods.

Not sure how good i
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Sean
All of Diana Wynne Jones's books annoy me in some way. This is apparently a cosmological law. They are all flawed, most of them are disjointed, and while reading them I am constantly distracted as I rewrite the plotting and characterization in my head. But all of her books are intriguing and inventive, and they are all distinctively "Wynne-Jonesian."

The Time of the Ghost is no exception to any of these rules. It's part mystery, part ghost story, part growing-up tale, part dark fantasy, and when
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Sistermagpie
Totally fascinating story about a ghost (or is she a ghost?) forced to work out the mystery of her own existence. It kept me guessing, but at the same time it's not really about the answers, at least not factually.

The central story is about a family of sisters essentially raising themselves while their neglectful and abusive parents run a school. I have a feeling this might be somewhat autobiographical, but whatever the inspiration, the family is wonderfully idiosyncratic. The girls hate each ot
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Airiz C
This is my earliest Jones book and I remember liking it very much. Not as much as I loved the author's other works though (i.e. Howl's Moving Castle and Hexwood). I always have a penchant for deliciously dark tales, especially the kind that confuses the readers in a good way and in so many levels.

The Time of the Ghost is a perplexing story, the main reason being the unreliability of the narrator who is a ghost. She doesn't know who she is. The only things that she's sure of are 1) an accident h
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Isabel Bitterblau
Qué imagen más equivocada me hice de este libro!

Como lo encontré por la sección infantil de la biblioteca de mi barrio, me esperaba algo totalmente diferente y ha terminado siendo una historia algo más oscuras que a las que Wynne me tiene acostumbrada (no demasiado, sigue siendo un libro juvenil).

Para empezar, la protagonista es un fantasma, que no sabe exactamente quién es ni de qué ha muerto. Sabe que es una de las hermanas Melford, pero no exactamente cuál, y durante todo el libro intenta des
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Laura
I'm wondering if all of DWJ's books will make me want to reread them immediately. They're all so complex and layered and this one is no exception. For example, if you're going to read this book, read her autobiography first. You'll soon see why. I'm guessing that's why it's dedicated to one of her sisters.

ETA: It's also fascinating to look at reviews of DWJ's books. There's a group of readers out there who think that DWJ has to write a particular flavor of book in order for it to be "good". Thes
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Lucy
Another one of my all-time childhood favourites by Dianna Wynne Jones. I've forgotten how many times I read this story as a child, but I will never forgetten certain descriptions which have stayed with me since the first reading - and I definitely won't forget how terrified I was as a young reader, afraid to go to sleep before reaching the end. I remember even the cover art kept me awake at night!
Zach Sparks
*Contains the usual rambling spoilers.*

It's been so long since I read this book that this was almost a fresh read. I do remember being confused the 1st time I read it because I didn't quite work out that the small things that the children gave to Monigan were meant to represent different things. What I mean is, Monigan cheated, and instead of only taking the items at face value, she also stole what they could represent. Monigan is greedy and will always to try and take whatever she can get. Will
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Aelvana
It's not her most convoluted piece of work, but it certainly is challenging enough to beg a reread when I get the chance. So many things will probably click the second time around. I am amazed at how dark she can write children's books, how utterly awful many of the characters are---some of them in that underhanded way that takes a good many pages before you realize there's something not quite right about that one. The family she writes about is absolutely awful, every last member, but at the sa ...more
Wealhtheow
YA, but a great read all the same. A forgotten goddess and four almost-forgotten sisters collide, and terrible trouble can only be averted by a little judicious time travel. I love the characters of the sisters, all of whom have such distinct and interesting personalities that I never confused them for a moment.
Somesuchlike
I think reading this book right before going to sleep was a mistake. The ending is rather creepy, which I didn't expect at all. In fact, I didn't expect most of what happened in it - there's somewhat of a twist in the middle.
Genevieve
My favorite D WJ. Fantastical and mysterious, and at the same time a brilliant portrait of the stuggled-up children of eccentric neglectful parents. (Of course this is the author's most auto-biographical book).
Sarah
I've never read another book like it! Thoroughly enjoyable, although I wouldn't recommend it to children under 16.
Myles
DWJ Book Toast, #16

Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favorite fantasy authors, growing up and now, and I was saddened by the news of her death. I can't say I'm overcome with emotion - as personal as some of her work is to me, its not like I knew her after all - but I wish I could put into words how I feel about her no longer being out there, writing new adventures and laughing at all of us serious fans thinking so hard about her words when we should simply get on with the business of enjoying them.
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Miranda
I just re-read this, having first read it perhaps a decade ago? I love Diana Wynne Jones; at her best she's really terrific. (I was really grouchy for a long time, & remain slightly grouchy, about the wild success of the Harry Potter franchise because J.K. Rowling did not invent magic realist children's fiction! - others, like E. Nesbit and D.W. Jones, had been doing it quite well for ages. Anyway.) I will try to post reviews of some of Jones's books, because she's fairly prolific but also s ...more
Tyas
Another great work from DWJ. The main character was a ghost, who found herself floating unseen one day without really remembering who she was. She was sure that she's one of the Melford sisters, but which? The more she tried to find out, the more mysteries came her way. And was she really who she thought she was?

This story is, like many other stories by DWJ, also about family: of four 'horrible sisters' who are neglected by their parents, who were too busy taking care of hordes of boys in their
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the scarecrow
I first read this one back in high school, if I remember correctly, but I think I was too stupid to understand it properly. I picked it up again because I have en endless faith in Diana Wynne Jones...and I mostly just wanted to prove to myself that she can write, after the totally yawn-inducing Merlin Conspiracy.

I like this a lot better now than I did as a kid. I can keep up with the time jumps better and I'm less emotionally dependent on the characters, which allows me to keep an eye out for th
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Leah
Re-read 24 June 2013: A book to be enjoyed in great big vacuuming gulps. I read this one a few times in my teens - my favourites were always the ones that fell on the list 'For older readers' (see also Fire and Hemlock and Hexwood).

A spooky, endearing, bite-sized story of four neglected sisters who live at a boy's school that is run by their parents (telling this story now, in a post-Twilight boy-obsessed world, would be a very different beast...), with genuinely terrifying undertones. Monigan
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Jane Lebak
I have come to expect a consistently terrific story from Diana Wynne Jones, and this story is no exception. In it she sets a creepy mood and immediately jumps into the story, tossing the reader puzzle pieces so the reader can figure out what is going on even as the characters do (something she does incredibly well.) Not a scene is wasted. The story is tight and without the 200 pages of material which should have been edited out that you'll find in many fantasy novels nowadays. Although the reade ...more
Julie Davis
Yet again, another of this author's books by which I was bored. It is the second in a row ... again, as my friend warned me, Diana Wynne Jones wrote a lot of books and some are much worse than the ones I already had read.

This book had a promising start. A girl comes to consciousness only to realize that she has no body, is invisible, and floats around. She doesn't know who she is or recognize her surroundings. Gradually, she gains knowledge of these things but as she encounters one after another
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Cassandra Ong
I read this in the wee hours of the morning and it scared me shitless whenever I heard so much as a slight creak or a soft thud. It was dark, VERY CREEPY and rendered me second thoughts about making bathroom trips in the middle of the night. Mainly because there was one chapter in which the ghost of Sally said that she could see and feel the life force of people as she bumped into them, thus feeling pain like we all do when we bump into people. I shuddered to think that at that exact moment, a g ...more
Hollowspine
This book was about a ghost. She first awakens to her state as a young girl wandering down a road only knowing that some terrible accident had occurred. As she wanders she encounters various people (and animals) who spark memories, but she still has no idea how she ended up dead or even really who she used to be. She believes she is one of the sisters who live in a strange house near a boys school, but she isn't sure which one. There is also a chilly undercurrent in the story of an old evil god ...more
Lydia
Really hate to do this to DWJ as she was one of the most imaginative and stylish fantasy writers, but this was an awful book. Kind of reminds me of some of her short stories, and probably would have been much better if it had only been a short story, but the subject matter is just depressing and morbid.

A family of four girls whose parents run a boys school and ignore their own children to the point of abuse (when they aren't actually abusing them by hitting them and yelling at them), accidental

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Amy Leigh
i do so love diana wynne jones. she is clever. she is a solid writer who never EVER drifts into those literary whirlpools in which she is so entranced with her own voice that she forgets what she's talking about (unlike yours truly).

this is a tightly woven (of course), engaging (yes) story involving a ghost, time travel, an ancient evil, and four amazing sisters. jones' main strength, aside from her perfectly constructed and clever plotlines, is her ability to deftly draw the most realistic, ou
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Diana Wynne Jones was the author of more than thirty critically acclaimed fantasy stories, including the Chrestomanci series and the novels Howl's Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm.

For Diana Wynne Jones's official autobiography, please see http://www.leemac.freeserve.co.uk/aut...
More about Diana Wynne Jones...
Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1) Castle in the Air (Howl's Moving Castle, #2) The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci, #2) Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1) House of Many Ways (Howl's Moving Castle, #3)

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