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Picking Up the Ghost

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  53 ratings  ·  21 reviews
When a letter informs fourteen-year-old Cinque Williams of the passing of the father he never met, he is faced with an incomplete past and an uncertain future. A curse meant for his father condemns Cinque to a slow death even as it opens his eyes to the strange otherworld around him.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 15th 2011 by ChiTeen (first published January 1st 2011)
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Tahlia Newland
Jul 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
Picking up the Ghost is an unusual and fascinating story about the search for identity and inner strength cleverly written in a way that is entertaining and accessible for teens.

Living in St. Jude, a 110-year-old dying city on the edge of the Mississippi, is tough. But when a letter informs fourteen-year-old Cinque Williams of the passing of the father he never met, he is faced with an incomplete past and an uncertain future. A curse meant for his father condemns Cinque to a slow death even as i
May 09, 2011 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: supernatural
I liked it.
But I'm not the kind to give myself 5 stars.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Picking up the Ghost was a pleasant surprise. I will admit that I found it hard to get into at the beginning. It starts out slow as it depicts the barron almost destitute town of St. Jude, however, Cinque holds the story together and his path of self discovery is one for the ages. Cinque is a young man unclear of his origins and unclear of himself. His town is one that has seen good times but similar to many other factory towns saw its own demise with the closure of the nearby plant. This town i ...more
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I'll refrain from gushing over Tone's book (being biased as I am), and just say this: It's a strong debut; a well-done hero's journey with some excellent twists and turns; and very gutsy in his choice of protagonist and subject matter. And he accomplishes it all without leaving me feeling uncomfortable. I really enjoyed the approach to magic, it felt grounded, real and visceral; not at all like the silly faux-Latin spells and wands of certain other child sorcerers.
Elaine Smith
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
I agree with another reviewer that this is a strong debut, with a lot of magic--all kinds of magic! that somehow feels grounded. I love the bits of wisdom that the hero, Cinque, picks up from various ghosts. One tells him, "I won't do this thing for you because it's the doing that's important...I am offering to make you stronger, strong enough to solve your own problems." And another says, "But the most important magic ain't magic at all, it's how you present yourself...Confidence...." And as Ci ...more
Barbara Gordon
Oct 23, 2012 rated it liked it
I picked up (sorry) this book because of the striking and unusual cover art, reminiscent of graffiti and perfectly suited to the setting. I bought it because of the unusual setting (a decaying Southern city) and protagonist, a young Black boy (I get so tired of default-setting protagonists).
What I liked about Picking Up the Ghost: most of it. The book design is very attractive, with the same distinctive art continued throughout. The way magic was entwined into a derelict post-industrial landsca
Indy Quillen
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Before reading this book I noticed some readers had mentioned the book got off to a slow start, so I admit that's what I was expecting. But, that wasn't my experience. I believe it's because I was immediately taken in by the main character, Cinque. The author did a good job of portraying the fourteen year-old boy, but it was the writing that made me want to keep reading from the first page. I have to say, I would've read this book and enjoyed it even without the paranormal aspects, because Milaz ...more
Ben Babcock
I wasn’t sure I would like Picking Up the Ghost before I started it. The back cover copy bills it as a coming-of-age story about a kid from an impoverished background learning more about himself and his absent father through magic and encounters with ghosts. None of that pushes my personal urban fantasy buttons. But I gave it a try, and it just goes to show why reading widely and keeping an open mind can be rewarding. Tone Milazzo presently surprises with a story that is both endearing and somew ...more
Angela(demonsangel) Fitzgerald
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think it was a strong and promising debut for Milazzo. I found the book slow in the beginning but it does pick up.

Cinque is a 14 year old boy who is unclear of his origins and himself. He is on a path of self discovery. When he gets the letter he can't help but journey in hopes of making sure he has a future.

Cinque's journey takes him to the otherworldly. When he starts seeing ghost and spirits is when the story picks up. Of course, Milazzo introduced magic and that made it a good read as wel
Jan 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed PICKING UP THE GHOST more than I thought I would. The story of Cinque, a young urban kid, trying to find who he is and where he comes from in a dying city starts off rather slow, and for the first fifty or so pages I struggled to keep reading. But, once Cinque's life is shaken by a traumatic event and he learns of the reality of voodoo, the story picks up steam and starts to ramble forward on more interesting wheels. By the time it was over I was thoroughly enjoying Cinque's story and ...more
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story surpassed any expectations I had and surprised me at every turn. A good mix of raw & mystic experiences wrapped in a boy's self-realization as he quests to find his identity by trying to piece together intimidating pieces of his unknown father's past. Plus, there were some very bad-ass supernatural characters, demons and creatures!

I deeply identified with Cinque's desire to understand himself and his impulsive assumptions that his own mystery could be solved by understanding the f
Tracy Murray
Jun 05, 2011 rated it liked it
I have to start by saying that I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed the characters and most of the story. However...(sorry) it was difficult to get through. It took me a very long time to get through this relatavely short book. I found myself wanted to skip ahead to the next part. I also kept feeling like I was missing out on something secret. Maybe inside symbolism that wasn't meant for me but meant something to the author.

I wanted more interaction between the people and less in the other world. Great
Bri Beck
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I will say that at first I was a little hesitant at reading the entire book seeing as the beggining threw me off..... But once I read past the first three chapters or so I instantly became hooked. This book is full of twist and turns and was humorous as well. I will day that this book is worth the read. I also love love love how this book has many factors which make you think. This book is different but in such a good way!!!!!
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a good first book.

I had a bit of trouble getting into the book at first. I had a little trouble relating to Cinque. But by chapter 3 I was hooked. It's an interesting spin on magick, voodoo, juju, and hoodoo. I liked the boy's exploration of it. The sense of place was very strong in this book. This book has a lot going for it. I'm eager to see what Milazzo comes up with next!

I received this book as a first reads winner.
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Starts slow, but an interesting read. The profanity will keep the book out of many young person's reading lists, which is probably unfortunate. I got into the characters; I want a sequel to find out what happens with Cinque and Imani.
Jun 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, gratis
I received this ARC in e-reader format through Net Galley.

Let me start off by saying that this book had the potential to be something different and good...but in saying that, I believe that it fell short.

There were very awkward sentence structures and a few grammatical errors that really took away from the root of the story. I am hoping the final edit will get some of those taken care of.

You can read a summary of this on Goodreads, so I won't waste time on that. I will say that the meat and pot
Apr 28, 2012 rated it liked it
This book would go through parts of great excitement, but then it would go through parts of boredom. I enjoyed the different magic system, but it was hard to understand,which was probably supposed to happen.
Feb 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
I won this book from goodreads giveaways. it was an interesting idea, but I didn't like the way it was written. and he definitely needs a new editor because it is chock full o grammatical errors. all in all, it was OK.
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it
this book was pretty good. I liked the setting & characters.
Nov 26, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chizine_own
This is copy 14 of 38 signed numbered copies.
Dec 29, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: first-reads
Yeah! My copy just came in the mail today. I can't wait to see how it'll turn out.
Val Delane
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