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Jessica's Ghost

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,135 ratings  ·  246 reviews
Francis has never had a friend like Jessica before. She's the first person he's ever met who can make him feel completely himself. Jessica has never had a friend like Francis before. Not just because he's someone to laugh with every day - but because he's the first person who has ever been able to see her ...Jessica's Ghost is a funny, moving and beautiful book by a master ...more
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published March 5th 2015 by David Fickling Books
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J.S. Landor No, but there's a brilliant and intriguing friendship. It will make you smile and weep. Overall a feel good story. I loved it.
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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,135 ratings  ·  246 reviews

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Overall this was a lot lighter than I was expecting for a book about suicide... The omnipotent narrator and resultant head-hopping was rather annoying at times, but it was an easy read.

Didn't really feel much connection to the characters as a result of the head-hopping and obvious narrator, but this would be good for encouraging discussion with younger readers having suicidal thoughts.
Melissa Delport
Short and sweet.
Scott Robins
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, middle-grade
Unbelievably amazing. If someone asked me if a middle grade book could address mental illness, suicide and bullying as successfully and as profoundly as this book, I would be doubtful. However, this book does it in droves.
Edoardo Albert
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So, let's start a review of Andrew Norriss's new book by talking about Alan Garner. Yes, that Alan Garner - Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Moon of Gomrath, Elidor - one of the finest children's writers - no, one of the finest writers - of the last fifty years. But I bring Alan up because there are clear parallels - and just as clear divergences - between him and Andrew, and they serve to throw light upon both writers.

Style first suggested affinity: both write the tautest prose around, with not a
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I'm not exactly sure what to write here. As soon as I read the premise for this book I knew I wanted to read it. I fought to buy this book for my library and I am so glad I did. I don't want to give too much away so this will be a very general review. The start of the book threw me off a bit. It didn't exactly start out slow but it felt a bit stilted. I am also not a huge fan of British literature, mostly because of my own bias against words like "mum" and the fact that I don't really ...more
Anna P
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I kinda liked this book but it wasn't something that I was very interested in. I just don't think that this book was something that I like. I would not read it again.
Beth Kemp
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Light of touch and yet rich in depth, this novel explores issues from fitting in to depression and even suicide through a perfectly pitched story for the 9-12 audience.

I really enjoyed this and would absolutely recommend it to children in the target age range. The story and the characters are charming and quirky; I loved Francis particularly but they are all really well realised. It's the best kind of 'misfits' book, and perfect for this age group when kids are busily sorting out whether and
Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
What a lovely story about friendship and celebrating each other's and our own differences. I loved how this book explored really serious topics as bullying, grief, depression, isolation and suicide but with such a light and gentle touch.

I knew very little about Jessica's Ghost by Andrew Norriss before I started reading it. Only that it came with high praise by people whose opinions I trust. I sat down to read this book and it felt a little bit like the whole rest of the world fell away while I
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
A really lovely little book that is full of heart. Perfect for the teenager in your life who is struggling to fit in because they are a little bit different. I loved what it had to say about friendships and their value. Loved the main characters and loved how the story played out. A really fabulous read.
Rebecca McNutt
A story concerning the afterlife of a kid and the way her friends gradually come to find her again, Friends for Life is creative, mysterious and very well-written.
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, to-buy
I read this book impulsively, as I was browsing through the 'teen fiction' section of my local library, after reading the very short 'blurb' at the back of the book: "'Do you have any idea,' Jessica said eventually, 'why you can see me, when no one else can?'" And I am proud to say that I have absolutely no regrets. I enjoyed this book very much - and I read it in just two sittings (only reason being I was reading before bed and I was forced to sacrifice reading for sleep).

I usually never pick
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Jessica sits down next to Francis on a bench during recess, he is surprised to learn she is a ghost. It doesn't freak him out too much, but it is interesting since he is the first person who has been able to see her since she died. They quickly become fast friends, something that Francis isn't exactly used to consider his--eccentricities. A bit of an outcast, Francis is a boy who is into fashion, designing clothes in his attic that he puts on dolls. He thought he would be embarrassed if ...more
Kathleen Dixon
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kathleen by: the Bookshop
This book grabbed me right from the start - a boy sitting on a bench at the far side of the playground on a cold winter's day, having a think; a girl coming to sit beside him wearing nothing but a sleeveless summer dress. The title is a giveaway and the reader knows before the boy does that this is Jessica's ghost. What the reader doesn't expect is the friendship that is almost instantaneous between boy and ghost.

The boy is a misfit within his school environment, the girl is dead, and soon
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off this took me way longer to read then it should have. Second I liked the book but didn't love it. It was kind of dark due to the subject matter and was a little rushed. But I did like the character development and the idea of Jessica being a ghost and a few other things. Overall I enjoyed the book.
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, children
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
José Díaz-Bahamonde
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is a ghost but this is not a scary tale. This is a story on friendship, on how to be different and survive. This is a story on resistance to harassment and keep living. The main theme of the book (suicidal thought) is delicate but it is treated responsibly. As is said in the book Jessica's ghost does not need help: she is the help. Sometimes an inspiring book appears and this is one of them. This is a feel good book full of hope. Recommended for worried parents and young people who think ...more
Suzanne Maley
Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Hard to put down. Very relatable..
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not at all what I expected - a mix of ghost story with a very serious topic for young people today. I am anxious to share it with some of my students to see what they think.
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do not give 5 star reviews very often, because in my mind a 5 star books has to be not only entertaining, funny, and heart wrenching, but it also has to have a powerful message and, for lack of a better term, be life-changing. Friends for Life is all of those things, and I have to admit, I started reading with low expectations. A story about a boy who befriends a girl who is a ghost? Ok, I'll give it a shot! Halfway through this story I realized just how powerful it is, and I do not want to ...more
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
One day when Francis goes outside to think in the bitter cold, he meets a girl named Jessica who doesn’t seem to feel the chill. He is shocked to find out that Jessica is a ghost and she is just as surprised because Francis is the first person whose been able to see her since she died. Francis doesn’t have any friends and is regularly bullied at school. He loves fashion and design, but keeps it as hidden as he can from those around him. Jessica though is delighted to find that he likes fashion, ...more
Rec'd by a 6th-grade patron and a quick read.

The good:
Good hook for booktalking, smooth and engaging storytelling, a narrative voice that I really enjoyed. Def fits that solidly middle-grade and young teen enjoyment of a "what's the right thing to do? -- oh it's definitely this" moral story. Adults who are far from perfect AND far from omnipotent but very much doing their best and using the tools at their disposal to help their kids. They couldn't solve the problems for the main characters,
PEI Public Library Service
A note to parents: this book deals with bullying and suicide, and may not be suitable for all junior readers.

Francis, Andi and Roland have two things in common. One: they have all been bullied for being different. Two: they can all see and talk to Jessica, who just happens to be a ghost. Norriss has brought together these characters that seem so different from each other that their friendship is, at least at first, very unexpected. Though the unlikely foursome, on the surface, appears to have
Katy Noyes
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cilip-reviewcopy
I couldn't put this down, read it in an evening over a tram journey. What a wonderful story and set of characters and a very sensitive and accessible discussion of a serious theme for young people.

It doesn't start that way. But it did hook me from the first paragraph, when Francis sits alone on a school bench and a girl sits next to him. Surprised that he talks to her, it turns out that Jessica is a ghost and
that Francis is the first person she's come across who can see and hear her.

A great
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an early YA book (one for younger audiences, I mean), this went quickly; I read it mostly during the first 10 minutes of my classes, which I'm dedicating to independent reading every day (if my classes were longer than 45 minutes, I'd devote more!). I love how this book presented harder topics; it's discussion of those tricky issues - depression, suicide - didn't feel glib or overwrought. A lovely book.
The book cover and its title offer delicious hints of this book's topic, and once readers have been drawn into the story, which happens quickly, they won't want to stop reading. Francis Meredith meets Jessica Fry when she happens to sit on the same bench outside his school. Oddly, they hit it off right away and become fast friends. That's especially odd since Jessica is a ghost, and Francis is the first person who has been able to see her since her death. Just how much they have in common is ...more
burger queen
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"So many changes and they had all, when you looked back on it, happened so fast. How it could appear so impossible at one moment, and so full of hope and possibilities the next. And you never knew how or when that change might happen. You never knew what was around the corner in life and what it might throw up next."

This book really sparked something within me. It touches sensitive themes like suicide and contemplating life, but the truthfulness and inspiration in this story is memorable. In the
Gerard Villegas
Maybe the title will be changed for the American release but the ARC our store received is titled Friends for Life. This young reader novel is an excellent choice for combatting bullying in schools.

Our hero Francis is young man who enjoys sewing but has no real friends. That is until he meets Jessica, a female ghost, who helps boost his confidence but allows him to get out of his shell. Throughout the story Francis and Jessica form a bond which allows him to grow as a character, become more
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was a title change from the original, British publication and this one works so much better. Francis is a slightly odd boy, the type who easily attracts bullies because he's interested in sewing clothes instead of sports. Then one days he finds a friend, Jessica, only, well... he's the only one who actually can see or hear her. Cool, right? And because of Jessica, his able to become friends with Andi and Roland. The four of them form a bond that other misfit children will recognize. ...more
Jul 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nbhs, read-2016
3.5 stars

I'm a bit torn about this book. I wanted to love it. The idea of teenagers with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts being told to talk about it and share how they're feeling really appeals to me. This message should be shouted from the rooftops. But, somehow, the way it's executed here just didn't really work for me.

And then when I read this about Andi, the sporty tomboy character:
As she followed her guests to the door she was still trying to work out what had astonished her
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