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Blossom Culp #1

The Ghost Belonged to Me

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"More death! More, if you do not stop it. Others lost, like me in the black water. Save them!"

When Alexander first sees the eerie glow in the dormer window of the barn, it sets his heart pounding. And when he ventures into the barn in the dark of night, his breath catches in his throat. Suddenly Blossom Culp's words come back to him: "You can make contact with the Unseen...." Now there's a girl ghost standing right in front of him, telling him of great danger ahead. But is there time for Alexander to act on her warning?

176 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1975

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About the author

Richard Peck

99 books681 followers
Richard Peck was an American novelist known for his prolific contributions to modern young adult literature. He was awarded the Newbery Medal in 2001 for his novel A Year Down Yonder. For his cumulative contribution to young-adult literature, he received the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 1990.

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5 stars
561 (34%)
4 stars
592 (36%)
3 stars
403 (24%)
2 stars
55 (3%)
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22 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 155 reviews
Profile Image for Anne Osterlund.
Author 5 books5,501 followers
July 21, 2016
Alexander Armsworth is an ordinary seventh grade boy in 1911. At least, he’d like to be. It’s not his fault he lives in one of the nicer houses in Bluff City. Or that his mother is throwing a coming out party for his older sister. Or that his uncle is a bit . . . crazy.

And it’s REALLY not Alexander’s fault that the girl from across the tracks, Blossom Culp, has started dogging his heels. With stories about halos around the barn. And how that’s the sign of a ghost.

Who cares if her Mama is a fortune teller? That doesn’t mean anything. And it doesn’t mean anything when the barn starts glowing. Or when that little wet dog shows up and then disappears.

Except—maybe—that Alexander isn’t all that ordinary.

The Ghost Belonged to Me by Richard Peck is the first book in a set of four starring Alexander Armsworth and Blossom Culp. Technically, they are paranormal mid-grade novels. But they are HILARIOUS. With a little romance, enough mystery, and just enough gore to entertain readers from ages 9 to 99. One of my FAVORITE series ever! I’ve probably read them a million times. I especially love Blossom’s gutsy insights, her determination to rescue Alexander from himself, and Alexander’s natural terror of his own GIFT.

Note: The correct order of the series is listed below.
1. The Ghost Belonged to Me.
2. Ghosts I Have Been
3. The Dreadful Future of Blossom Culp
4. Blossom Culp and the Sleep of Death
Profile Image for ❀Aimee❀ Just one more page....
443 reviews94 followers
April 8, 2015
I remember watching the Disney adaptation of this book (originally published in 1975, movie in 1978)and being completely enthralled. Boy sees ghost and is sent on a quest that leads him on all sorts of adventures with his new friend Blossom. It gave me the willies, but in a safe way when I was young. There was treasure and ghosts and suspense! The movie adaptation was called "Child of Glass".

This movie gave me such nostalgia that I looked it up in the early/mid nineties and found that it was a book and read the middle-grade book when I was 15 or so. I think of this whole story fondly.
Profile Image for Shelly.
407 reviews20 followers
July 26, 2022
This is a reread. It's been many years since I've read it. Still pretty good to me.
Profile Image for Honya.
439 reviews19 followers
October 20, 2015
I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it often probably, but I love Richard Peck’s writing. The Ghost Belonged to Me was particularly interesting in that it combined his ghost stories with his humorous slice-of-life stories set in the Midwest around the turn of the twentieth century. And it somehow does both brilliantly! There’s a certain chill to Alexander’s ghostly encounters, although they’re mixed with a compassion for the dead girl whose ghost he meets and for her story. But more than scary, this book is immensely funny. Peck has this incredible knack for crafting characters who are, well, characters. They’re full of quirks that, combined with circumstances, are absolutely hilarious–and the understatement used at points only serves to amplify the underlying humor. Added to that, there’s a lot of solid history woven in so subtly that you don’t really realize how much you’re learning. And of course, the entire tale is told in Alexander’s unique voice, complete with colloquialisms and occasional grammatical lapses; it’s very well done and adds a lot to the writing. I would definitely recommend The Ghost Belonged to Me to anyone (upper elementary and up) who is interested in this time period, as well as to anyone who just enjoys an entertaining, funny story.
May 6, 2016
In childhood, I borrowed from my school library; too young to recall stories read once. A familiar scene in “Ghosts I Have Been” enchanted me with déja-vu! Other than references to hitting children, it was enthralling. I was surprised it had a prequel and endeavoured to get: “The Ghost Belonged To Me”. Its protagonist is well-to-do Alexander Armsworth in 1913. Because it features his civil, hilarious family instead of Blossom Culp’s angry gypsy Mother; there is no harshness and I relished every page. His bachelor handyman Great-Uncle, Miles Armsworth, is my favourite character. Blossom refers subsequently to a spectre in his barn: this story, which I was glad to read at last. It was more emotional, profound, and inventive than I expected thus I was rewarded richly.

The Armsworth residence was among their town’s first properties, where a retired captain hung himself after building it. Alexander meets the spectres of a dog and woman, who foretell a bridge disaster he is able to prevent. The grateful train survivors put him in the news. He delays mentioning the ghosts, especially to his disbelieving Mother but their new reporter is an honourable and open young man. When at last Great-Uncle Miles learns of them and the woman’s name; he deems it necessary to admit he knew who she was and had kept a secret for the captain.

Putting those pieces in order does not close the excitement. Blossom begins to become useful! She assists Great-Uncle Miles and Alexander en route to Louisiana, the second phase of an important mission. New levels of entertainment emerge with the need to thwart an intruding newspaperman. Meeting Great-Uncle Miles’s old flame is especially memorable: their enigmatic hotelier. Richard Peck deftly combines all kinds of elements: comedy, flight, a mystery, and spookiness. I savoured this multicoloured treasure!
Profile Image for Julie.
435 reviews15 followers
March 20, 2009
This was one of my favorite books when I was...oh, 12-ish or so. I saw it on an end cap at the library and picked it up on a whim to see how it held up. Very well, actually. I was pleased to see an old favorite really was pretty good. It's a gentle ghost story, set at the turn of the 20th century, and told by our protagonist, Alexander. All the characters are nicely drawn and have a good, original voice. The ghost story itself is not as scary or creepy as it is atmospheric, and the main theme is more about growing up and doing what's right than things that go bump in the night. If you want a quick read, this is a fine choice. I think when Alex is a couple years older, I'll aim in in Richard Peck's direction. As I read, I remembered another story with the same characters, so I think it may be part of a series.
Profile Image for Jane Stewart.
2,462 reviews870 followers
November 28, 2015
DNF. I read the first third and the last two chapters. It did not pull me emotionally.

I think the author was trying to be like Mark Twain. A school age boy and his friend help a ghost. They later travel down the Mississippi with the ghost’s remains.

I’ve loved many children’s books, but this didn’t do anything for me. It’s written for middle school kids.

It’s told in first person which is not my favorite.

Narrative mode: 1st person Alexander. Story length: 179 pages. Copyright: 1975. Genre: young adult paranormal, children's fiction.
Profile Image for Kressel Housman.
974 reviews226 followers
August 2, 2021
This is the first in the “Blossom Culp” series (see my review of Ghosts I Have Been,) but it’s actually Alexander’s story. You might say that Alexander is to Blossom as Tom Sawyer is to Huck Finn. I say this for two reasons: 1) Alexander is privileged while Blossom is poor and 2) For the rest of the series, Richard Peck chose to narrate from Blossom’s point of view. Like Huck, she was the more compelling character.

My analogy falls down for two other reasons, though. 1) Boy-girl dynamics do play a role here and 2) Alexander is light years more likable than Tom. In fact, likable Alexander really carries the story here. So though it’s not my favorite in the series, if you skip this one, you’ll be missing out.
Profile Image for Sarai.
982 reviews13 followers
February 24, 2010
from Amazon: By A Customer
In 1913 in Bluff City, Missouri, Alexander Arnsworth has seen the eerie glow of a ghost in the barnloft window so often he's come to think of the ghost as "belonging to me." Alexander's plucky friend, Blossom Culp, lives on the other side of the trolley tracks. Together, they explore the barnloft and discover the tormented ghost of Inez Dumaine, a little girl who died in 1861 on the Mississippi River. The rest of this wonderful novel is pure fun. Highly Recommended!

I first read this book as a young adult and I remember enjoying it very much. It is one of the books I still have on my shelf, in fact. A good read for anyone who likes a hint of romantic possibility and a little bit of spooky in their reading.
Profile Image for мαяïα❤.
11 reviews
February 25, 2011
In the beinnning,there is a barn where someone
already saw a ghost. It was Alexarder. Alexarder
ander and his friend Blossom, were talking about it and Blossom
were talking about it and Blossom offered maybe it was some kind of
animal. He said Then how do you explain the Light?
Where Alexander saw the Ghost?? They went to the haymow, which
people used a long time ago, The steps were very dusty with cob webs.
So I'm going to tell you but they wanted to go dead or alive.
Alexander gets scared and Blossom says I really don't think there's
a ghost in here. But once the find something out. There was a ghost
in there and eyes. They tried to run but thet were stiff,You
should read this book yourself because I like scary stories..its
a easy book and its very short to read(:
Profile Image for Amy.
608 reviews31 followers
March 2, 2022
Richard Peck does setting and era so well that I feel as though it's taking me back to a place where I've been even though it was 70 years before I was born.
Profile Image for Sam.
53 reviews
May 8, 2008
This children's book is not bad, but I wouldn't go out of my way to read it. Written in the 1990s, it smacks of nostalgia, a longing for a simpler time, while telling a ghost story from a boy's perspective.
Profile Image for Diane.
76 reviews
October 19, 2020
I read this out of nostalgia as it was a favorite of mine as a child. It’s a good read. Easy, but engaging. The characters are wholesome and the plot simple yet plucky, just what one expects from a children’s book.
Profile Image for Andrea.
983 reviews11 followers
October 25, 2020

I didn’t care for the writing. It was really wordy and was way too mature for this kid. I also hate when in a children’s book, the character starts out as an adult speaking back on when they were a kid. It doesn’t work for me and it’s depressing.

I didn’t like the characters and the way he treated Blossom, not wanting to be seen with her, or any girl, walking her home. He said she had spidery legs and the look of a spider. He kept accusing her of lying about the ghost, sure it was her doing those things in the barn. He was rough with her and thought of being violent with her, like maybe ringing her neck or something along those lines.

There were also mature things like them going down this tunnel or slide at school, I’m not sure because I couldn’t really follow. She wedged herself in and they got wrapped up around each other and came out of it together with him landing on top of her and the teacher grinned. Then he fell on top of her another time. She kissed him on the mouth at his sister’s party.

I hate when things are ruined that took so much planning. Lucille’s coming out party was under way and Tom was late. When he showed up he was drunk and crashed his car into the flowerbed and fell down. He went to greet Lucille but Lowell, the college graduate from out of town who was covering the party for the newspaper, grabbed him and said he wouldn’t be insulting any more ladies today and called him a common drunk. He pushed him into the backseat and asked where the boozer lives so he could drive him home. I knew where that was going.

It was funny that his voice started changing when he first spoke to the ghost, and it came out like “What is” and “busi” was on the next line, with your on the next line, and “ness” below that, and “here?” was slanted at an angle.

Alexander asked his uncle if he believed in ghosts and he told a story of his friend being haunted by a friend. The man told the friend to turn him over and a wise woman told them all to dig up the body. He was turned over and they knew he was alive and had tried to claw his way out. So morbid.

The worst though was his friend’s dad whose hand had been severed by a runaway streetcar and caused a vendetta against the company. He periodically goes on crazy streaks where he barks like a dog.

The ghost finally came to Alexander and told him to save the others and something that led him to go stop the streetcar going over the bridge. I wasn’t really paying attention because I was speed-reading. The driver didn’t believe him but they continued on and saw the bridge on fire and hacked at, and the one handed man carrying a torch. They had all gotten out and he got in the streetcar and drove it over the burning bridge and fell to his death. Alexander imagined there was laughter or barking. I was so put off I finally had to stop reading.

I hadn’t enjoyed any of it. There were humorous things but on the whole I didn’t like Alexander or anyone else. I didn’t like the writing or the story. The ghost was just weird, with the pink light and the swampy footprints. I had no interest in it whatsoever. I’ve read too many books with a jerk guy character and the girl who gets him into mischief and causes him endless aggravation. Not a fan of it. I already wasted one day on reading this and couldn’t imagine wasting another one. I was forcing myself to read and that’s not how it should be. I couldn’t imagine reading any more of this.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Octavia Cade.
Author 88 books117 followers
October 11, 2020
This was really entertaining! A children's ghost story, told from the perspective of one of the kids confronted with a ghost - a young girl with a connection to his family home, who needs to be put to rest. The plot, as you can see, is neither complicated nor original. What makes it appealing, however, is the prose, and the lovely tone that Peck uses throughout the story. It's very gently told, with extremely sympathetic main characters and a family that, if not quite so appealing, adds a humorous element. Alexander, the narrator, is a very observant child, and intersperses his ghostly communications with spying on his sister and turning a somewhat bewildered eye upon his mother's social climbing. His prickly relationship with Blossom, his neighbour and partner in crime, is also appealing, and if they were not exactly friends at the start, it's clear that they are by the end.

I would happily read this again. Apparently there's three more in the series, and I'm looking forward to discovering them too.
Profile Image for Melisa Fauls.
87 reviews
January 7, 2023
I loved watching the movie that was based on this book as a kid. I didn't even know it was a book until years later. All I can say is that the movie writers must have only read a little of this book and used it to create their own story. The books is so totally different than the film, but it is just as good. I would say that anyone who has seen "Child of Glass" back in the 80s would like this book.
Profile Image for Mere Rain.
Author 16 books17 followers
October 9, 2021
I read this because it sounded like it might be a ghost story I vaguely remember from childhood. It wasn't the one I was thinking of, although I'm pretty sure I read something with Blossom Culp in it.

This was good, although I think I'd recommend it more for people interested in early-twentieth-century historical fiction than for ghost lovers.
Profile Image for Harry Hunter.
28 reviews
October 24, 2011
The Ghost Belonged to Me by Richard Peck is the story of a boy named Alexander who discovers with some help of his frienemy Blossom that he can communicate with the afterlife and that there is a ghost named Inez and her dog in his family barn. Know he must find out where the ghosts body is and give it a Christian burial son she can rest in peace. But the whole town learns of the ghost and tries to find her. Eventually though the body of the ghost after Alexander’s great uncle tells them where she’s buried and take her to New Orleans where she was born.

The author’s message in this is never give up even though it’s hard and people try to drag you down.

This was an okay book but it was not much of a mystery and it is supposed to be a mystery
*** Good

Richard Peck was born in 1934 in Decatur, Illinois a casual midsized mid western town where he grew up with his mom, dad, and sister. After school he taught as a professor in high school but got demoted to Junior High teaching English. Eventually he quit his job to become a writer though his students in junior high were his inspiration. He quot5es “Ironically, the students taught me to write when I was supposed to teach them.” Peck studied at DePaul University and after his bachelor degree went to the University of Exeter. After university he got drafted to the U.S Army where he went to Germany. After he was drafted he finally got his degree in Southern Illinois University and started teaching again. Then he finally quit teaching in 1971 and wrote a book called Don’t Look and It Won’t Hurt. He was a great writer and worked very hard to write and is a great choice for the subject of this paragraph
Profile Image for Bart Hopkins.
Author 22 books253 followers
October 22, 2012
I frequently find myself wishing for the option to use half-stars in ratings. My true rating for this would be 4.5 stars.

First, in a world I feel frequently encourages children to advance too quickly, this is a pleasant YA book. It provides wholesome entertainment. No worries about cursing or drugs; and, there is only the most innocent reference to boy-girl things. Sure, I believe in preparing kids for the real world, but it's nice to give them this type of option. I prefer it.

In regard to the substance of the book, it's fun and interesting. It's YA, so it isn't intended to be an adult, action-packed thriller.

The writing is sound and without superfluous words or content. Compact and pleasant.

I had the pleasure of meeting the author about 25 years ago when I was in the 8th grade - it's when I initially discovered his books. I came across this randomly on amazon and downloaded it for my daughter...but I gave it another read, too.

Really good book!

Profile Image for Rick Bavera.
661 reviews41 followers
February 28, 2014
This is a wonderful and humorous story. The historical setting is a vehicle for presenting some interesting facts from the era--setting is 1913 Illinois.
The first person account-style is reminiscent of the Henry Reed books of Keith roberston.

The main character is Alexander, who doubts the existence of ghosts. His experience in the story, as well as the acceptance by others, helps him change his mind.

The "flatness" of the characters in the early part of the book is how a 13-yr+old would see others, but as the story goes on, Alexander as more complete, real people. Alexander still remains the most developed character in the story.
Profile Image for anne.
Author 5 books3 followers
May 31, 2015
I read this when I was a child, and it stuck with me. When you're thirty nine years old and suddenly have the compulsion to find a book from your childhood, you reread it. Richard Peck paints a clear and fantastic picture of a young boy who discovers a ghost in his barn thanks to a nosey (but ultimately delightful) neighbor girl. The book takes place in the early 1900s, which is a time period that not many mid-level books are written about.

When I say I'd read this again, I'm obviously not kidding ;)
Profile Image for twicebaked.
445 reviews
June 4, 2019
I was a little bit underwhelmed because I was like well it's Richard Peck, how bad can it be? And it was hilarious, just like most of his books are. I liked it, but not a ton. It wasn't as engaging or heartwarming as Long Way From Chicago or A Year Down Yonder but ofc it had the Richard Peck flavor to it and it was still well-written, so I can't complain too much.

*sry, ik this is a terrible review. It was written a long time ago and I don't normally rewrite reviews for books I rate 3 stars*
Profile Image for S. Div..
Author 10 books103 followers
December 3, 2010
This book is a children's classic. It's a wonderfully powerful story of relationships beyond the veil. If you are someone who sees spirits this book is one of your best guides. I loved this story as a child. As an adult who works with spirits and those in form, I recommend this book to my clients who see spirits and want to learn how to respond to them compassionately. It is indeed a children's book with lessons from which everyone can learn.
Profile Image for Emily.
Author 11 books13 followers
February 9, 2015
Set in the early 1900s and set in an undefined smallish town in the Midwest, this book follows a boy named Alexander. After he is told by a classmate and neighbor, Blossom, there is a ghost in his barn loft, he investigates reluctantly to discover it's true; the ghost must be laid to rest, and his life is never the same. I felt like reading a YA ghost story, and this is definitely a good one.
Profile Image for Kelley.
270 reviews77 followers
January 21, 2016
This book is as good now as when I was a kid. I didn't realize we only see the ghost twice, though; I remember her being a much bigger part of the story. Oh well.... I'm glad I chose to reread this for a book challenge. Now, I plan on reading the other two books in this series, which I never did get to read. :)
Profile Image for Alyssa.
58 reviews3 followers
November 24, 2015
I wanted to escape into an easy read and as I was scanning my bookshelves I glanced over the young adult section and decided to dive into some of the books that shaped me into the reader that I am today. This series still delights me to this day and it was like greeting old friends when I opened the cover.
Profile Image for B.B. Free.
Author 2 books3 followers
December 11, 2021
It begins a bit slow, and the language may be tricky at first for young adult readers, its intended audience. However, it does develop into an endearing story where the main characters, two conscientious youths, commit to the task of making old wrongs right.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 155 reviews

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