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A Properly Unhaunted Place

(A Properly Unhaunted Place #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  293 ratings  ·  83 reviews
From National Book Award–winning author William Alexander comes a wryly humorous story about two kids who try to save their town by bringing back its ghosts.

Rosa Ramona Díaz has just moved to the small, un-haunted town of Ingot—the only ghost-free town in the world. She doesn’t want to be there. She doesn’t understand how her mother—a librarian who specializes in
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published August 22nd 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Guys, I got an ARC of A Properly Unhaunted Place by William Alexander at ALA and I just read the whole thing in a day. It’s perfect. It comes out August 22, and you should probably preorder it now.

Rosa Diaz and her mother are first appeasement specialists but they’ve just moved to the only unhaunted place in America. She meets Jasper who introduces her to the Renaissance festival just as it gets its first ghost ever.

God, I can’t get over how great everything is in this book. Like, both main
So many fantasy novels these days are thick and detailed. This is great for avid readers, but makes it challenging for fantasy-loving reluctant readers. So, I am delighted to be able to highly recommend this less than 200 page fantasy. Rosa and Jasper make for delightful main characters who are faced with a rather large problem. At first it appears that Ingot doesn't have any ghosts, which troubles Rosa considering appeasing ghosts is what her mother does best, and something she has gotten ...more
Brandy Painter
Feb 09, 2018 rated it liked it
A fun, quick read about kids who have to save their town from a malevolent ghost. This is one of those MG books where the adults can't do what needs to be done and the kids rise to the occasion. It takes place in a world where hauntings or normal except in this one town. The mystery revolves around figuring out why and why that seems to be suddenly changing. The characters are easy to identify with and the world is built enough to understand without going into too much detail. I would've liked ...more
Alexander does a brilliant job of taking an idea that you know so well (haunted library--been there, done that, and yawn) and then spinning it sideways (Latina librarian hired to deal specially with the ghosts and training her daughter how to do this too in an everyday world FULL of ghosts), and then adding new concepts (plus a Renaissance Festival! plus a mystery! plus so much more!) and making you look at it in a whole new way; thank you! Would love to read more of Rosa's world.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Emily Polson
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
Like libraries. Whenever you open an old book you read it along with everyone else who's ever read that same book. You're supposed to. Hauntings don't end. Ghosts don't ever just go away.

Squeeeeee this was a delightful read, just the right amounts of serious and spooky to take it to the next level for me. The town of Ingot is the only unhaunted place in the world, but somebody just hired the world's best ghost appeasement specialist/librarian to work at their circulation desk... hmm... But the
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Rosa is comforted by the presence of ghosts and the creaks of old spirits moving in a new haunt; paranormal activity is actually quite normal for everyone, especially for the daughter of the world's greatest Ghost Appeasement Specialist. What, then, is she supposed to do in the only unhanuted town in the world? Ingot seems to only have an inaccurate Renaissance Festival, a mean librarian, and a boy named Jasper who is actually pretty good company. Only hours after her arrival, Rosa and Jasper ...more
All you need to know is that this book has librarians that communicate with ghosts. Done.

I did not care for the illustrations, which were on the cartoon-y side, and thus not a perfect match for the descriptive, lyrical text. Like this: “He pushed his goofball approximation of old chivalry right through silliness and out the other side, to a place that wasn’t serious but carried the same weight.”
Alyssa Nelson
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher at ALA Annual 2017. This is an honest review.*

A Properly Unhaunted Place is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. It’s a cute middle grade book where ghosts roam freely with people, and the living observe rituals to keep them happy and content. Rosa’s mother is an appeasement specialist — the best in the field — she can appease any ghost to keep them from causing chaos. However, after a family tragedy, she takes a job in Ingot,
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Preeminent “ghost appeasement” specialists Athena Diaz and her 11 year old daughter Rosa have moved to the small town of Ingot to start their new life watching for ghosts in the local library. Their job isn’t to banish ghosts (this is a horribly cruel thing to do and is always unsuccessful) but to speak to them and make them feel welcome. Problem is, Ingot doesn’t seem to have any ghosts. This is terribly boring for Rosa and perplexing as well as she’s never lived in a town without them. But if ...more
Maddie Guthrie
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Athena Diaz is a librarian and an appeasement specialist (sooth ghosts). Her and her daughter, Rosa (who also helps in the appeasement), have just moved to the town of Ingot. The only town that lives without any ghosts. Rosa is very upset with the move, she loved the city she lived in before. They have moved into the public library's basement, no windows, dark and musty which has made the move even worse for Rosa. Ingot is known for its Renaissance Festival and here is where she meets her ...more
Mar 20, 2018 added it
Shelves: paranormal, fantasy
I quite liked this quick read and the twist of Ingot being the only place where ghosts aren't found, how in other cities ghosts are plentiful. How it's wrong for Ingot not to have any ghost, while everywhere else ghosts and the living have found a way to coexist. Rosa and Jasper are the only ones who can unravel what has been keeping the ghosts away. I also enjoyed the emphasis on librarians and the patron saint Catalina de Erauso with the idea of remembering the dead through the books that you ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Dyah by: Dian Achdiani
This is a short and fun read.
Predictable plot, adorable characters, cute illustrations. It's a perfect read for kids.
The main issue that I get from this story is:
You can try to forget the past, but you cannot escape from it.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
It was okay. Could have been better.
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-horror
A Properly Unhaunted Place was a properly beautiful read. Its cheesy, but true. William Alexander seems to have this magical ability to suck a reader straight into a story. From the first couple of pages you’re there, seeing it, hearing it, and cheering for the main characters. The main characters which are, by the way, not white! Rosa Ramona Diaz is Hispanic, and her somewhat reluctant sidekick Jasper is half African American. She is knowledgeable, forced to grow up a bit ahead of time, and ...more
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile, arcs, fantasy
Fun, fast-paced, and well-written with clever, thorough worldbuilding. I would very much enjoy seeing more of Rosa, Jasper, and the ghost-saturated world they live in.
Jessica F
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
*Actual Rating 4.5/5 stars*

This was such a fun, fast-paced paranormal adventure! Libraries, diverse main characters, ghosts... this book has it all!

The whole concept of library appeasement specialists felt fresh and original. I just loved the premise and how the plot unfolded, as well as the deeper message underneath about facing your ghosts and fears. The point is to make peace, not forget and hide away.

The chapters are short and easy to read, making this easy to fly through but also highly
Ahna Brutlag
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As an adult reading this book, I reveled in the warm nostalgia of my 11 year-old-self finding an exceptional read. This book is fantastic. Buy it for your kid but don't skip out on reading it yourself. It's a delightful story that keeps you highly engaged, teaches you something new, conjures empathy, and expands your world. In short, this is everything I want in a middle grade book. Children will be better people for having spent time with Alexander's (extremely) well composed prose. Thank you, ...more
Apr 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Ok. Interesting premise that needed a little more attention - leave out the Renaissance Fair stuff and you'd have room to explore the cohabitation and appeasement of ghosts stuff more. I'd like to read the backstory, where her mom is an appeasement (of ghosts) specialist in a big city library and her dad is learning but failing - more than this.
Mark Buxton
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
My name is Rosa, and I'm so ticked at my mom for bringing us to this small town of Ingot. She's the best appeasement specialist in the world, but this town is probably the only one without a single ghost! It's BORING here! That is until the huge mountain lion with the antlered deer skull charged down from the forest. Something possessed it and later controlled the giant tree that stole my mom's voice; it took all of the words she's ever known. Something is hidden up in the woods above town, but ...more
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rosa and her mother have just moved to Ingot, the only unhaunted town in the world. That wouldn't be so bad except Athena is an appeasement specialist, the best in the world in fact, and supposed to be working with ghosts. In this world, ghosts are everywhere and attached to everything. Appeasement specialists live in libraries, because of course they are the most haunted, and make sure the ghosts stay happy or appeased. Rosa is not happy about living in Ingot. She is practically an appeasement ...more
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
William Alexander is a magician. He can take these squiggly black lines, and infuse them with heart and magic.
I absolutely loved this. A different take on a ghost story, but with Will Alexander's customary deft touch, he makes it much more than that.
This book is definitely going on my Halloween Reads list (upcoming blog post, seventh year!), and I will highly recommend it to anyone who likes a spooky story. It is geared for Middle Grade, but you know adults would enjoy it. I think the age
Amanda Shreve
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-11-20
Rosa moved into the library basement with her mother a ghost appeaser. She could not imagine living in a town where there were no ghosts for her to deal with. Jasper had heard about hauntings before but had never witnessed one. He has never left the town of Ingot, the only unhaunted town in the world. Every year in the towns Renaissance Festival Jasper plays a squire, his dad a knight, and his mother the queen. While showing Rosa around the festival a weird creature invaded the mermaid
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 3-6-fantasy
Where do people go when they pass? In the town of Ingot, lost souls cannot freely roam, this is why young Rosa's mom chooses to move there. Rosa's mother is an appeasement specialist, a librarian whose skills are rare and sought after. As her mother grieves the loss of her father, she needs a break from her appeasements, which she thinks she'll find in this unhaunted town. Rosa grows bored and restless, until she meets an African American boy about her age, Jasper. His father runs the ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Alexander, William A Properly Unhaunted Place, 182 Pages Margaret K. McElderry books, 2017 $17.00; Language: G (1 swear 0”F”); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

Rosa just moved into the town of Ingot. She is not happy about this because this is the only unhaunted place in the world, and she is a ghost appeasement specialist which means that she calms ghosts down when they get angry. Then she meets a kid named Jasper and they go to the town annual festival, but it is there she see’s a giant ghost
Corinne Wilson
Really delightful. An alternate universe in which ghosts populate every town, and because books are links to both the past and information, librarians are "appeasement specialists" who work on getting the ghosts of the past to interact peaceably with life in the present. Except in Ingot, the only unhaunted town. (No one knows why.)

Rosa is angry that her appeasement librarian mother has moved them to a town with no ghosts after her father died. She quickly meets Jasper, who helps his dad with the
Madeleine (Top Shelf Text)
This middle grade novel was reminiscent of Eva Ibbotson's fantastical books, which I loved as a young reader. Alexander plops the reader right into a world that feels familiar. After all, our protagonist is a young girl who lives in a basement apartment with her mother. Except that, the apartment sits underneath a library, her mom is one of the world's leading ghost appeasement specialists, and they've moved to a town with absolutely no ghosts.

What I loved: the characters are diverse without
Ames Public Library Youth Services
"Whenever you open an old book you read it along with everyone else who's ever read that same book. You're supposed to. Hauntings don't end. Ghosts don't ever just go away." -page 15

Rosa Díaz has grown up in a world where there are ghosts. People are just used to it--they set an extra place at the table for any ghost who happens to be around and all libraries have a ghost appeasement specialist on staff to handle any ghosts who need calmed.

However, when a tragedy befalls Rosa and her mother
Melissa Mcavoy
Rosa Diaz and her mother, Athena, have just moved to the small, remote town of Ingot and Rosa isn't happy about it. Not only will Rosa miss the trappings of a big city, she will miss ghosts: for Ingot is the only known, unhaunted town. Making her mother's choice even more inexplicable is the fact that Athena is considered the premier ghost appeasement specialist. But Rosa doesn't have to worry about an unnatural, ghostless existence for long. She teams up with a local boy, Jasper when an animate ...more
Morgan Gilley
Diverse Literature
August 2017

Rosa moves into a town called Ingot, and she finds it suspiciously absent of ghosts. After her father dies, she and her mother decide to run. She is the daughter of a librarian. The lack of spirits who are trying not to crossover into the other world comes to a crashing end when all of them decide to come over at one time. During a festival, all of the ghosts choose to appear in front of Rosa and her new friend Jasper. The spirits attack Rosa's mom and leave her
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads data base.

William Alexander won the National Book Award in 2012 for his first book, Goblin Secrets, and the Earphones Award for his narration of the audiobook. He has since written three more novels for Middle Grade audiences: Ghoulish Song, Ambassador, and Nomad.

Will studied theater and folklore at Oberlin College,

Other books in the series

A Properly Unhaunted Place (2 books)
  • A Festival of Ghosts