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The Ghost Collector

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Ghosts arent meant to stick around forever

Shelly and her grandmother catch ghosts. In their hair.

Just like all the women in their family, they can see souls who havent transitioned yet; its their job to help the ghosts along their journey. When Shellys mom dies suddenly, Shellys relationship to ghostsand deathchanges. Instead of helping spirits move on, Shelly starts
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Annick Press
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  150 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Sarah Lillian Books
What a heartfelt middle grade book about grief, belief, death, and moving on. This is one of those books that anyone at any age can read it and get something out it, which I admire Mills for doing. There are so many wonderful hard lessons for anyone to learn. For example, life goes on after experiencing death of a loved one, and we are all people, even our parents. I, myself, have learned recently that your parents are just people and not perfect, superheroes as you thought as a kid. I so ...more
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
this book was so fabulous and im glad its in this world for kids to get spooked by. i have to admit i was biased to like it bc GHOSTS but also the writing is fantastic and it gives my heart a thrill to read good writing in middle grade as well as a good story. this is really more of a 4.5 for me, the only thing that holds me back from a 5-star was it could be a bit too on the nose sometimes. but what a good concept and execution and WOW i want to meet allison mills she seems super cool and i ...more
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-2019
You can read my full review on my blog, The Writerly Way, here.

Many thanks to Annick Press and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

I dont read as many works inspired by American Indian or First Nations cultures as Id like, so when I saw this, I jumped on it immediately. Mid-grade has been so hit or miss for me lately, because Ive found a lot of it just ends up being too young for me. What?! I hear you say. You, whos nearly 30, are now too old for mid-grade?! I
I love the imagery of this book. Shelley and her grandmother use their hair to catch ghosts and release them so they can go on to the next world. Sometimes ghosts get stuck. Birds die flying into buildings, and then haunt the buildings. Rats die, and aren't sure where to go, and cause a fuss. Most ghosts that Shelley and her grandmother find are animals and just want to go home.

They do not take very ghost they see, such as the ones in the cemetery. Shelley's mother objects but lets them do it,
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
'She walks around town and looks for the dead in dark corners and forgotten places. She snatched ghosts from alleyways and buildings and takes them home to hide in her room. She rescues them.

This is a book about a girl who not only sees ghosts but catches them and sets them free so that they can go ahead to the afterlife, whatever outcome that is. That is a gift passed down in her family and she learns it from her grandmother who is known for her expertise ghost catching. To make this even
Kathleen Bergen
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Ghost Collector is a sweet, sad, heartfelt story. I read it all in a single sitting. The Cree folklore was quite fascinating- it's a take on ghosts and ghost catching I had never encountered before, probably because I'm not too familiar with Cree folklore and mythology. The music throughout the story was a great way to set the mood (it helped that it was all music that I quite enjoy). My ARC came with a spotify playlist and I highly recommend going and checking that out.
I definitely got
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My heart hurts after reading this debut novel - it was one of those books that came into my life at the exact moment that I needed it. What I thought was going to be a spooky middle-grade story about ghost hunting actually turned into a book about losing a parent and the grieving that comes along with it.

My dad passed away (2 weeks ago today as I write this) and my heart is still shattered. This author was able to perfectly describe most of my feelings in a way I haven't been able to articulate.
Stacy Renee  (LazyDayLit)
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Shelly has a special gift passed down through the women in her family that allows her to not only see ghosts but also catch them in her long hair. Her grandmother taught her how to catch the ghosts, appease them, and send them on their way to pass on.

When Shelly's mother dies in a car accident, she is sure she will be able to find her and bring her home but no matter where she
 Reading Reindeer
A glorious story, simultaneously heartwarming and heartwrenching, about 3 generations of an indigenous Canadian family (Cree) living an embittering life in a city. Grandma and granddaughter Shelley see and communicate with ghosts, helping them to move on. Shelley's mother wants no part of that. But unexpected tragedy impels Shelley to use her gift overtime, collecting ghosts to herself to ease their loneliness--and hers. THE GHOST COLLECTOR is a truly beautiful novel.
Avi Grundner
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure, I know Allison - We worked together a couple of summers ago. But my review and rating are honest reflections of what I thought!

This story was honest, beautiful, and incredibly moving. And I can't say anything more without spoilers.

(view spoiler)
Nicole Smith
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katrina Forest
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills pulls off a child protagonist with an extraordinary ability who is also extraordinarily authentic. Shelly, like her grandmother, is able to connect with ghosts, talk to them, and carry them from one place to another using her hair as a vehicle. Her natural curiosity about them, coupled with her desire to take on jobs like an adult makes the supernatural element so matter-of-fact and effortless. I never thought I could read a story about a character bringing a ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A marvelous new story with so much heart. The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills delves into big feelings of grief and loss and how we cope when those things hit close to home.

Shellys grandmother is a ghost collector, she helps the ghosts of people and animals that get stuck behind, its a family business. Grandma, Shellys mom and even Shelly herself all have the ability to see ghosts and help them along their journey. Shelly loves helping Grandma help the ghosts in their community. Grandma is
Laura Gardner
Dec 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelly is Cree and lives with her mother and grandmother. She is interested in carrying on with her grandmothers family business of ghost collection and extermination, which her mother has rejected as a career option. Shelly in particular, is tasked with catching ghost animals in her hair and releasing them outdoors when they can more easily move on to the next stage. Shellys grandma deals with the more complicated cases. Shellys mother disapproves of Shelly going along on the ghost collecting ...more
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelly and her grandmother catch ghosts with their hair. How do you catch ghosts with your hair? Shelly and her mom live with grandma. Shelly and her mom do things her grandma would not approve of but its their secrets. When Shelly and grandma get news that her mom is dead due to a car accident, Shelly cant believe it. When Shelly gets it, she expects her mom to show up to her as a ghost. She doesnt know why she hasnt seen her moms ghost. She goes and asks ghosts if they have seen her mom. She ...more
Kate Waggoner
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-read
Thank you to NetGalley and Annick Press for the review copy of The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills. All opinions are my own.

Shelly's family is able to do something extraordinary. Not only can she, her mother, and her grandmother see ghosts, but they're able to catch them in their hair. Shelly and her grandmother capture ghosts in their hair and help them move on. Shelly's mother though has never really been a fan of spending time with ghosts and attempts to keep Shelly from helping her
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So so lovely. Allison Mills captures grief with great tenderness as Shelly learns how to let go. Details were sparse to focus on plot, and the third person narration almost made me feel like a ghost myself witnessing Shelly's process. I loved the idea of Shelly and her grandma catching ghosts in their hair (amazing imagery). Astutely touched on serious topics like class and stereotypes about indigenous spirituality in ways that make sense for kids. Greatly appreciated the commentary on ...more
Michelle Mallette
Nov 23, 2019 rated it liked it
See my full review here.
Like all the women in their family, Shelly and her grandmother can see ghosts. And they can catch them. In their hair. Once caught, the ghosts can be set free and sent on their way, to wherever it is they are supposed to be. Sometimes the ghosts are in a house, sometimes they are animals, and sometimes they are quite happy to stick around. Shelly loves joining her grandmother on a ghost job. Grandmother says you cant free them till they are ready to go, but often a cup of
Sep 24, 2019 rated it liked it
After losing her mother unexpectedly, Shelly begins to hoard ghosts. A gift that has been passed down through generations of women in her family, Shelly has the ability to see ghosts, catch them, and help them move on. When she realizes that her mother has not come back as a ghost, she can't let the other ghosts go.

The Ghost Collector was a beautiful story of a girl who has spent her entire life dealing with death, only to realize that it's so much different than she realized once she's lost
df parizeau
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ampersand Inc.
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: laureen-s-reads
I really enjoyed this multi-generational middle grade novel. A Cree grandmother teaches her granddaughter the family trade: helping ghosts who are stuck in the real world find their way to the afterlife. Shelly is thrilled to be spending time with Grandma and talking to ghosts, but Shellys mother disapproves. Shellys relationship with the ghost spirits change dramatically when she learns her mother has died in an automobile accident. Shelly begins looking for her mothers spirit but she never ...more
Simone Rauscher
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really liked it. Simply but beautifully written. Felt emotionally connected to all the characters, living and dead. Joseph and Estelle were wonderful. Loved the writing style. Loved the settings, had good pacing, nothing was too drawn out or too quick. Perfect story to introduce and explore the concepts of death and grief to a middle grade audience, but readers of any age would benefit from reading this book. The only thing I thought might have made it more powerful is if it was written from ...more
Cody Deserranno
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this title!

The Ghost Collector is a moving and tender exploration of death, moving on, grief, and similar themes.
I expected something spooky or horrifying (as a fan of horror cinema and literature) but instead got an excellent supernatural drama.
Mills characters are believable and relatable (every kookum is like Grandma in this story pretty much) and her voice for the protagonist came across quite well.
Only downside I felt was a lack of
Sharon S
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Emotional, memorable, creative, unique.

Such a heartfelt story for all ages. It's a delightful read, learning about loss, relationships, and family. The story synopsis tells everything, but when you read the words, the characters personalities come to life and stick with you. I couldn't help but think about the story for a few days, the unique way how Shelly handles her ghosts, and family.

The main premise about learning to let go at the right time, with the support of family was endearing. The
Cromaine Library
Shelly and her grandmother are ghost hunters, but not in the way you see on tv. They both possess a special ability to see ghosts, and they help ghosts pass over into the next realm of existence when they are ready to do so. When a tragedy occurs, Shelly finds herself completely immersed in a world of ghosts, desperately searching for the person she lost.

This is such a sad, honest book that captures grief so authentically. I really liked how ghost collecting was woven into the plot, and the
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Newcomer Allison Mills (Ililiw/Cree and settler Canadian) presents her first middle grade novel about an indigenous family and their relationships to ghosts. This unique and heartwarming debut features Shelly, a young girl who lives with her mother and grandmother. Their family has always been able to see ghosts, and Shelly and her grandmother catch them in their hair in order to help them move beyond the physical world (although Shellys mother disapproves). When Shellys mother dies suddenly, ...more
Miz Lizzie
Shelly comes from a line of Cree women who can see ghosts. She works with her grandma to help to help people who are being haunted by ghosts. Shelly loves catching ghosts, many of them animals, in her hair and helping them move on, until tragedy strikes and Shelly gets obsessed with holding on to ghosts. This is a thoughtful story about ghosts and grieving. The author is Illiliw/Cree and Canadian settler.

Book Pairings:
For a book about ghosts: Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book
For a book about
Sarika Kelm
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had read this book as a kid. I was obsessed with ghosts and would sit in the library and read ghost stories until I was convinced everywhere around me was haunted. Despite my fascination, I was very scared of ghosts--unlike the protagonist of this story.

This is a unique ghost story with lots of heart. It's as funny as it is heartbreaking. I highly recommend!
When you're expecting a book to be maybe a 3 star but now you're crying, listening to the Smiths, and giving it 5 stars.

Anyway this was great, love the magic elements surrounding the ghosts, and the discussions about death and the grief that comes with it. Overall an honest story about loss that may be a tad difficult to read, but very rewarding.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read a short story version of this in an anthology and when I found a standalone full novel, I wanted to read it again. The development into the book is lovely; the characters have more time to develop, the story settles in, and I could find more meaning and memory as I read. It's a quick read and a thoughtful book touching on culture, family, death, and grief.
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“Little Shell,” says Joseph, before Shelly can leave to follow Estelle. “You’re not dead yet.”
Shelly shivers. She likes Joseph, but she doesn’t like the yet. “I know.”
Joseph shrugs. “Just wanted to make sure you did. I like you. Don’t want to watch you fade away.” He slides his headphones on and leans back to look at the sky again.”
More quotes…