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The Last Ghost: A Belladonna Johnson Adventure (Spellbinder #1)

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3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,060 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
In Belladonna Johnson's world, talking to ghosts seems perfectly normal. She even lives with two - her recently deceased parents, who are still very much involved with their daughter's life. But then the ghosts start disappearing. Before her father slips away, he warns her that the doors are closing, but Belladonna doesn't understand what he means. She realises, though, th ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published by MacMillan Children's Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,983)
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Shannon
Nov 13, 2009 Shannon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I so wanted to like this book. When reading the overview I thought "this could definitely be the next Harry Potter/Twilight". The premise certainly seemed interesting enough, but sadly it just wasn't all that well written. The whole book read like a concept for a film, like the author knew they were writing a book for want of having it become a phenomenon. So much of what was going on could have been made much more interesting by fleshing out the story itself. It seemed that the whole story was ...more
☆ Michelle
3.8*

Oh, what the heck! A whole 4*!


This book still had unanswered questions at the end, (view spoiler); not a book to begin unless you plan on reading the whole series, should you like it. I happened to like this story very much, and I'm eagerly awaiting the next volume in the mail.

A few minor things bugged me, mostly
...more
Ruby
Oct 26, 2013 Ruby rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horrible, dull, scary
This book was awful!
First off, Belladonna's parents are already dead, and she already has the seeing-ghosts power. What would have been better would be if they had JUST died, she had been sad, and then she developed the awesome power WHILE YOU WERE READING IT. The way it is, it's boring. The book was creepy, too. Here's some things I thought went into that category: vacuum-sized beetles, leaves that drank blood, and a black hound that she saw out her window. Also, there wasn't any interweaving o
...more
Barbara
Feb 01, 2010 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Update -

Second time around, it read even better so I upped the star count. Helen, the author, came and talked with the my book club in the library. She was clever, informative and insightful and she brought Parma Violets! (Read the book to find the connection.) She also read an excerpt from her recently completed second book in the series.

Definitely worth the time re-reading and I look forward to what may be a series of 5, according to the author. This one will circulate in the library and will
...more
Susan
Dec 29, 2013 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile
Belladonna Johnson is a tad unusual. She can see (and communicate) with ghosts and family dinners at her house include her two recently deceased parents. That is, until the ghosts in town start disappearing as if they were being wrenched right out of the world. With her abilities to commune with the other side, Belladonna might be able to get to the bottom of the mystery if she can only figure out whom to trust.

Although there are interesting ideas the story here isn't really conveyed in a satisf
...more
Robert
Feb 21, 2011 Robert rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, children-s
The Last Ghost is the story of Belladonna Johnson - a girl who can see ghosts - and what happens when the ghosts start to disappear. Since two of the ghosts in question are her dead parents, she's rather keen to get them back.

It's a children's / young adult novel, and as such it has a breezy pace, lots of energy, and a fair bit of spirit. Lots of things to like about it, really: it never gets boring.

As an adult reader, the main thing that gets on one's nerves is the portrayal of adults in the s
...more
Ziaria
Nov 06, 2009 Ziaria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a cute story involving a girl, her friend, and a bunch of ghosts including her parents who had died in a car accident the previous year. The ghosts start disappearing and she's finds out the doors to other dimensions are closing and it's up to her and a few zany characters to stop it. See in her world ghosts give you your dreams at night and without the ghosts you don't dream and if you don't dream you eventually die. So her job is to figure out how to get the ghosts back and set the wor ...more
Rachael
Jun 11, 2011 Rachael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Belladonna Johnson can see ghosts, but until recently, it’s been more trouble than useful, since it wouldn’t be good for Belladonna to be caught talking to someone invisible. But when her parents are killed in a car accident, she realizes how great her skill is. Even though no one else can see her parents, for Belladonna, it’s like nothing has changed. And for a while, everything is great—until one day, the stars blink out and her parents disappear without warning. Something is seriously wrong. ...more
Nilsson
It's really not that glamorous to be a ghost. They are just the cowardly souls of those who chose not to go on. Better to be brave and face what's ahead than to live a half-life of fear and sorrow as an empty shell of what you once were. Unless you just have unfinished business, or a movie you want to see first, I suppose it's understandable.
Robin
Aug 13, 2012 Robin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
With this book, I think I was mostly just bored. I felt like there was a lot of potential, but the story never really figured out the pacing. It was either too slow or so fast that I coukdnt connect to the action or characters. Also, I was way too conscious that the author was holding a lot of things back, and for far too long. As a reader, it got annoying and a bit tedious. That said, the idea was fantastic and the plot elements themselves were exciting. The book just didn't live up to the pote ...more
Jim
Love this passage!!

[Dulworth's School] had been started over 100 years before by two elderly energetic sisters who couldn't understand why boys got to learn interesting things like history and Latin and girls only got training in sewing, singing, and simpering. But the Dulworth sisters were not the sort who sat around bemoaning the status quo. They were the sort who leapt to their feet and marched about demanding change and scaring the horses. So they bought a house in what was then a quiet part
...more
Elizabeth
When I first started reading Spellbinder, I thought it was very interesting since the author seemed to be going for a sort of snarky, parody-ish style of writing. I mean, the girl’s name is Belladonna, her aunt’s last name is Nightshade, and their school is named Dullworth’s. I think it was also supposed to give a sort of gothic atmosphere to the whole book. I did get that feeling strongly, in the beginning.

I thought this was actually quite a unique supernatural story, worldbuilding-wise. It was
...more
Diana
Dec 16, 2015 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youth-book-club
Great characters and world building. Good pace with hardly any superfluous text, just how I like it. It's written for a middle grade audience, but I never felt like it condescended to or underestimated the reader as some similar age group books do, so even as a grownup I was pulled into the story and enjoyed it very much. The magic and otherworldly mysteries and beings are very intriguing and blend together well and cleverly with the "real world" of the book. I feel attached and interested in th ...more
Megan
This book was awesome! I only picked it up because the name intrigued me...but I'm very glad I did. It seemed...odd at places but it was always fun to read. I really enjoyed it. I can't wait to read the next book.
EDIT: I have now read this book probably twenty times and have loved it more and more with each re-reading. It is one of my all-time favorite books now, and is quickly picking up popularity in the Underground Book Trade. C=
Fatiah Nur Madina
Yang paling saya suka dari buku ini adalah Belladonna yang frustasi. Rasanya, saya merasakan sakitnya ketika semua manusia menutupi banyak hal darinya karna menganggap Belladonna kecil sementara para hantu bergantung padanya dan menuntut ia dalam segala hal. Itu kejam! Saya juga suka interaksi antara Steve dan Elsie, saya selalu suka orang yang bertengkar hohoho.

Sementara itu, saya rasa deskripsi setting tempat dibuku ini agak berlebihan, terlalu mendetail dan bikin saya males bacanya apalagi ng
...more
Sarah Sullivan
There's nothing terrible about this book. But there's also nothing exceptional. Standard middle grade modern fantasy, with some bonus points for Britishness and the character of Elsie. But not much else.
Cassey
Oct 30, 2015 Cassey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Their was alo of exitment.Their was so many detailes.But i think she rushed to the end.In the biggining to middle she put so much information in the end she rushed to finish i think
Presley
Dec 30, 2013 Presley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars because I absolutely loved the way the author described everything; sometimes, her writing reminded me of J.K. Rowling's. I love sophisticated writing in children's literature.

Belladonna Johnson sees ghosts. It's a gift that she wished she didn't have and sees it as more of a curse. The plus side is that she can still see her parents, who still live with her in their home. They go about their everyday lives--Dad watches TV, Mum cooks dinner, until one night, they suddenly disappear. I
...more
Teguh Affandi
Sepertinya aku terlalu berekspektasi tinggi terhadap buku ini. Lelah yang kurasakan ini lebih karena alurnya yang lambat. Lalu aku kembali bertanya, apa alur lambat ini disebabkan karena novel ini terjemahan, hingga aura yang seharusnya ada gagal dibawa oleh penerjemah.

Belladona mampu melihat hantu. Ayah ibunya yang sudah mati, tetap bisa memasakkan Belladona. Tetapi tiba-tiba hantu-hantu yang biasa Belladona lihat menghilang secara misterius.

Di sinilah petualangannya dimulai. Mereka mencari pi
...more
Kimberly
Oct 30, 2015 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
NO WORDS. ITS EXTRAORDINARY.
Charity
Dec 15, 2015 Charity rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As shallow as it sounds, I did end up picking up the book "Spellbinder," by Helen Stringer, due to the cover. It shows a shy-looking girl sitting with two ghosts who are presumably her parents. I was intrigued by this, and decided to see what this book had to offer. Luckily, this book went above and beyond my expectations for it.

Ghosts, friendship, adventure, and suspense--this book has it all. Belladonna Johnson, a young school girl with the ability to see ghosts, wants desperately to be nor
...more
Astrid Lim
This book is a mess. The premise is quite good actually, a girl named Belladonna can see ghosts and talk to them. But one day, all ghosts are gone. She investigates about the missing ghosts and crossing over to the Other Side, the land of the dead.

Sadly, the execution of the story is really poor. Repetitions, too much unnecessary descriptions, and unmemorable characters, made this book very bland and unimpressive. I don't like the translation version either, it feels very amateurish for a big pu
...more
Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books)
4.5

Spellbinder is complex, interesting, and way beyond the average middle grade read. Helen Stringer incorporates a great deal of mythology to make her story work, but it’s never overwhelming or confusing. She flawlessly mixes mythology into Belladonna’s journey to save her parents and return the ghosts to the world, while giving the reader a great deal to ponder, in regards to life, death, and everything that comes after.

Belladonna is everything a normal 12 year old girl should be, aside from t
...more
La Coccinelle
I honestly didn't think that any book could be worse than The Explosionist... but I was so very, very wrong. I must have a knack for picking utter crap.

Spellbinder is about a girl named Belladonna Johnson. Her parents died in a car accident, but it's not so bad because Belladonna has a talent: she can see ghosts. So her family life is pretty much as it was before... except that now her parents can do things like poke their heads through the living room wall. But then one day all the ghosts in th
...more
Morris
Dec 29, 2009 Morris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book starts out slow, really slow. According to the press information, Spellbinder was written for the 9-12 age group. I believe a large number from that demographic will become bored and put down the book before the story picks up. That is a shame, because the story is actually quite good once it starts rolling along.

While the subject matter is certainly nothing new, the author does provide a unique spin. The idea of there being a world for the living and a world for the dead is intriguing
...more
Sarai
This book started out all right but got weaker as it went on. I liked the premise, but the action never really got exciting and I didn't feel like the characters meshed as well as they were supposed to.

From School Library Journal
Grade 5–7—Belladonna Johnson, 12, who has the family trait of seeing ghosts, appreciates the gift after her parents' car accident. They happily haunt the house, her mother still prepares meals, Belladonna still spends evenings watching Staunchly Springs with them, and he
...more
Kelly Hager
May 09, 2010 Kelly Hager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book, and I'm guessing (hoping) that it'll be the first in a series. (They definitely set it up for a sequel.)

According to the press release, it's sort of like Violet from The Incredibles living in a Beetlejuice world. I haven't seen The Incredibles in ages, but it's definitely like Beetlejuice--very dark and very funny.

Belladonna sees ghosts, but it's not like in The Sixth Sense. And it's actually a really good thing, because her parents died in a car accident, but she can s
...more
Lisa
Belladonna Johnson can see ghosts. This ability comes in handy after her parents die in a car accident; Belladonna is able to live with them at home as if nothing ever happened. However, when all the ghosts in the world disappear, Belladonna and her friend Steve must journey into the Land of the Dead to find out why, or she may risk losing her parents forever.

Spellbinder by Helen Stringer is a children's fantasy novel very reminiscent of the Harry Potter series, in a good way. As in JK Rowling's
...more
Alexia561
Dec 27, 2009 Alexia561 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, arcs, contest
This was a cute book that I read in a few hours, as I didn't want to set it down. Belladonna makes a good heroine, and I enjoyed her growing friendship with Steve and how they learned to work together. They were joined in their adventure by Elsie, one of the few remaining ghosts left.

One minor thing that annoyed me is how almost every child in YA fiction would rather jump into the deep end rather than ask adults for help. Granted, Belladonna's grandmother and aunt kept blowing her off when she t
...more
Benedict Jones

There was a somewhat interesting story hiding in Spellbinder by Helen Stringer, but it was overshadowed by the author's inability to dole out information properly (the main method seemed to be that instead of saying something useful/expositiony, the people talking would get incredibly irritated, I am pretty sure the word 'irritated' appears in this book around five hundred times, and refuse to speak more) and near the end it all got a little frayed. There was a set up for a sequel but I couldn't
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
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  • The Triad of Finity (Oliver Nocturne, #6)
  • Ghoulish Song (Zombay, #2)
  • The Mapmaker and the Ghost
  • The Dead Gentleman
  • Rules for Ghosting
  • Seven Sorcerers (Seven Sorcerers #1)
  • Falling In
  • Rise of the Darklings (The Invisible Order, #1)
  • Golden & Grey: The Nightmares That Ghosts Have
  • The Eternal Hourglass (Magickeepers, #1)
  • Scaredy Kat (Suddenly Supernatural #2)
  • The Wooden Mile (Something Wickedly Weird #1)
  • Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris (Theodosia Throckmorton, #2)
  • The Lost Conspiracy
  • The Key and the Flame
  • Troubletwisters (Troubletwisters, #1)
  • Through the Skylight
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Helen Stringer is the author of the middle grade fantasy novels Spellbinder (UK title: The Last Ghost) and The Midnight Gate, as well as the novelette The Blood Binding. Her most recent novel, Paradigm, is a fast moving scifi adventure set in the not too distant future. Helen was born in Liverpool, England, and now lives in a barn in Northern California, where she reads, writes, and looks after an ...more
More about Helen Stringer...

Other Books in the Series

Spellbinder (3 books)
  • The Midnight Gate (Spellbinder #2)
  • The Blood Binding (Spellbinder #3)

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“Graveyards were the one place Belladonna never saw ghosts.” 5 likes
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