The Ghost Sitter

The Ghost Sitter

by Peni R. Griffin

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For fifty years, ten-year-old Susie has waited for her parents and sister to come back. Each new family who moves into her home seems not to notice her, except for the young children. Susie likes children. She even likes baby-sitting, but can she baby-sit forever? Why can't she get anyone else's attention?

Charlotte is looking forward to a great summer in her new home, despite her many baby-sitting duties. But someone else seems to be helping her watch her little brother. Someone only he can see. Gradually Charlotte realizes her all-too-normal house is haunted-by the ghost of a girl who doesn't or won't realize that she's dead.

Set around the Fourth of July, this story offers two perspectives-one of the living and one of the dead-in a wholly entertaining and thought-provoking way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101142585
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 09/16/2002
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 1,066,233
File size: 167 KB
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

I am an Air Force brat, born in the long-defunct base at Harlingen. My childhood was spent reading and taking long car trips, as we moved from Texas to Alaska (where I lived through the great Anchorage quake of 1964), Alaska to Iowa (while my father was in Nam), Iowa to Maryland, Maryland back to Texas -- San Angelo, to be precise. I came to San Antonio to attend two universities, from neither of which I graduated. By that time, I was a full-fledged Texan again. In 1987 I married Michael D. Griffin, A.K.A. Damon. We live in a 90-year-old house just north of downtown San Antonio.

I sold my first short story in 1986, and my first book. The audience I aim for, generally, is myself at age ten. I have known seven year olds who read my books with pleasure, and fourteen year olds who found them too hard. Children demand better books than adults do, so I try to answer the demand. The Ghost Sitter is my attempt at a realistic ghost story. In real life (I read true ghost stories extensively), ghosts seldom understand that they're dead, and haunt all sorts of places, even suburban tract homes, not just Gothic mansions.

Readers who want to know me any better than this can check out our webpage.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: The Blue House

Moving was a heck of a way to spend the first day of vacation, but Charlotte was too glad to get out of the apartment to mind much. Besides, Mom, Bart, and the movers were doing all the hard work. Her only job, oh joy, was to keep Brandon out from underfoot. Bart set up the playpen under the big peach tree in the backyard of their new blue house. "You two going to be okay back here?" he asked.

"Sure," said Charlotte, dangling Sock Monkey in front of Brandon's face. "Can I climb this tree?"

"Better not, if you want to get any peaches off of it," said Bart. "Holler if you need anything."

Charlotte looked up into the branches, counted the fuzzy green knobs that would be peaches some day, and smiled. Dumping Brandon's toys into the playpen, she watched him scramble for the ring-stack puzzle. "You know, kid, this is a great place," she said. "We'll have fresh peaches off our own tree this summer. I'll keep my bike in the shed, and I can get a cat. We'll play in the yard every day. You can mess up your own room as much as you want, and stay out of mine. How's that sound?"

"Big first," said Brandon, grubbing for stray plastic doughnuts among the toys around him.

"That's right," said Charlotte. Mom said if they all talked to Brandon as if he could understand, he'd learn to have real conversations. "The big green one. Where's that?"

Baby-sitting Brandon took only half Charlotte's brain as long as he was in the pen. She watched him work through the mysteries of the ring-stack puzzle, a frown of concentration on his face. She could barely remember what it was like to be little, to live in a mysterious world too big to take in all at once. Brandon had to focus tightly on one thing at a time in order to think at all. He couldn't daydream or plan, the way Charlotte could, about long hot summer afternoons playing in the shade of the peach tree. They'd swim at the municipal pool four blocks away. When she felt like being alone, she'd leave Brandon with Bart, go into her room, and shut the door. When...

A door banged. Charlotte looked up. A girl carrying two plastic cups marched out of the house next door and up to the fence. "Hi," she said. "I'm Shannon Kohn. Want some lemonade?"

"Okay," said Charlotte. "I'm Charlotte Verstuyft." She walked over to the chain-link fence and took the sweating plastic cup offered to her. She and Shannon sized each other up. Charlotte was the shorter, but Shannon was the skinnier.

"Did you just come to town?" asked Shannon.

"No," said Charlotte. "We were in an apartment on the west side.

But Mom got a job on this side of town. My stepdad's going to convert the garage into an office for his consulting business, and we'll save on
day care for Brandon and rent on a storefront, and everything's going to be so cool."

"Is Brandon your stepbrother?"

"Half brother. Bart and Mom got married ages ago."

Shannon waved at Brandon. He waved Sock Monkey back. "He's cute," she said. "I hope the ghost doesn't scare him."

Charlotte eyed Shannon suspiciously. "What ghost?"

"The one in your house," said Shannon, looking her straight in the eye.

"Ha-ha," said Charlotte, folding her arms. "This house isn't old enough to have a ghost."

"It's not so new. This whole subdivision was built right after World War II. That was a long time ago."

Nothing could be more ordinary than this subdivision of nearly identical houses on nearly identical cul-de-sacs. The casement windows of the back bedroom stood open wide, and Charlotte could see and hear the movers wrestling Mom and Bart's ordinary bed through the ordinary door. "Not long enough ago to make a ghost."

"You'll see," said Shannon. "Or maybe you'll hear. Little kids and animals can see her, but once you get older you can't."

"That's because she's not there," said Charlotte, tired of being polite about this.

"Is too," retorted Shannon. "I saw her. I was real little so I can hardly remember, but I threw a ball once and it landed under that tree right there, and I started to climb the fence, and I got my pants caught. And I started crying. And this girl came down out of the tree and brought the ball back and unhooked me from the fence. And then she disappeared."

"Yeah, right," said Charlotte, mashing down the uneasiness in her stomach. "What did she look like?"

"She had brown hair in a ponytail, and her dress was red, white, and blue stripes."

"I bet she was a regular girl."

"Then how did she disappear?"

"This is the biggest load of bull I ever heard," declared Charlotte loudly. "There's no such things as ghosts!"

"That's what Ms. Gonzalez said, the last lady that lived here," said Shannon, unfazed. "She took a year lease and left after six months. She had a baby, and he kept playing with somebody that wasn't there, and one day she found him hovering over his crib. Just floating in the air. So they packed up and left."

Shannon lowered her voice and leaned over the fence. "Last Fourth of July, the house was empty. But I was lighting sparklers, and I looked over here, and I saw lights in the windows of the bedrooms." She pointed. The three bedrooms lined up, back to front, on the side of the house closest to Shannon's yard.

"Kids with flashlights," suggested Charlotte.

Shannon shook her head. "They were a funny kind of greenish light, and they bobbed around at the tops of the windows."

"You should have called the police," said Charlotte. "That's what I'd do. It was probably vandals."

Shannon didn't appear to be listening. "So-I figured-ghosts can't get you on the Fourth of July, right? That's the most unscariest holiday in the world. So I went up to the front window of that bedroom that looks onto the street."

"That's my bedroom," Charlotte informed her.

"Ooh, cool," said Shannon, "except I could never sleep there after what I saw."

"You didn't see a thing."

"I went right up to the window and put my face next to the glass," said Shannon, "and there was this light, bobbing around. Not a solid light, but like a shower of sparks, only they never went out. And suddenly it stopped and swooped right down at me; I mean straight at my face! And before I could back off, it came through the window and right through me! And it was cold! Like as if somebody spilled a bunch of ice water all over my molecules-inside ones, too! I was shivering and had goose pimples all up and down my legs, and it was still ninety degrees outside. So I know there's a ghost."

Charlotte opened her mouth to pour scorn on this story, and jumped as something thumped against her back. She whirled, her heart thumping. Brandon waved both hands at her. "Come play!" He smiled so sweetly it was impossible to be mad at him. Sock Monkey lay in a heap at her feet.

"Hey, he's got a great pitch," said Shannon.

"Yeah, Bart says he's going to be a baseball player," said Charlotte, picking up Sock Monkey. "I need to play with him now, or he'll get all whiny." Besides, if she played with Brandon, she wouldn't have to listen to Shannon's lies. They had to be lies. She took a step closer to the playpen, away from the fence.

But Shannon didn't take the hint. "Do you get paid to baby-sit?"

"No. Why should I? Mom didn't get paid to look after me."

"Mom says mothers should be paid because it's such an important job, and Dad says they should be paid not to have kids because of overpopulation. That's why I'm here, but I don't have any brothers and sisters, to satisfy both of them." She peered over the fence at Brandon, who waved the ring-stack puzzle by the base, scattering plastic doughnuts. "He's cute, in an obnoxious sort of way."

"Lottie play!" Brandon commanded.

"Want to help?" asked Charlotte, trapped.

"Okay," said Shannon, passing her cup over the fence and inserting one skinny bare foot into the chain link to hoist herself over. "But I don't know how much good I'll be."

"Lottie play!"

At least Shannon would be company. "Nothing to it," Charlotte assured her. "Just let him boss you around, and you'll be fine."

Customer Reviews

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Ghost Sitter 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in elementary school . Still to this day I remembered the name of it and I’m 26 years old ! I’m going to read it with my 8 year old !?? I read this way before I knew I loved spooky things ?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this book when i was in middle school and have loved it ever since i could read it 100x over I love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could read thiss book 10 times over!
Kenzie Chin More than 1 year ago
Good ghost story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alley Baksh More than 1 year ago
its awsome you should buy it if you are very intrested in ghost storys read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Ghost Sitter by Edgar Allan, award winning finalist. Reviewed by Ryan Arnel. Come on this scary and exciting journey of, The Ghost Sitter. Charlotte, her little brother Brandon, and her parents move to a different neighborhood. Charlotte is a reliable, caring, and brave character that has to watch her little brother over the summer. Everything seems to be going okay until Brandon starts asking for Susie. ¿Is someone in her house? Is it an imaginary friend? Is there a ghost?¿ Help unleash the mystery of The Ghost Sitter. Will the promise be solved? This is a predictable book, but a good one for kids. The craft is not too hard to understand. If you like scary or adventures books, this is the book for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I read in my life about ghosts. I am SO glad I read this one first! I was in fifth grade when my friend gave me this and said, 'It's a must-read.' I agreed instantly. I couldn't keep my hands off it until the emotional end. Note to reader: Don't read what the School Library wrote first. It spoils too much. Just READ THE BOOK ONCE YOU GET IT!!! Highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is my favorite book! I have memorized every word on every page, and I could recite it all from memory. There are only two other books in the world I can do that, but if I mention them, there would be none left, for everyone bought them. Luckily, I have the three, and did I say this was the first book read to me? That's one of the reasons I love it. The Ghost Sitter is so sad, but once you get to the very end and understand it all, you will love it....
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story was good but sad. The plot covered a wide range of emotions. I cried three times, and still couldn't put the book down. I carried it everywhere. The story made me want to research the paranormal and meet a medium. The storyline was about a young girl who did not know she had passed on. When a new family moves into her house their lives collide. I won't ruin the experience by writing too many details. This was one book I read for homeschool that I LOVED!! I can't wait to read more by Peni Griffin.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is outstanding it was so good that i keep reading it . I told all of my friends to read it they thought it was awesome to!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first read this around Halloween of last year, and it is really good, and not too scary either. A great book for people who don't like really scary books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was sad. but it was good. it was sad when the little sister killed her older sister. i was practically crying it was soooooo sad.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked The Ghost Sitter alot! I liked it because it was very adventurous and exciting. I think those kinds of books are cool. The Ghost Sitter makes you feel like you are in the book. It is exciting when Charttlote and Shannon find Gloria. Susie is the antagonist and Charlotte is the protagonist. I would recommend this book to almost anyone, unless you dont like ghost stories!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book alot. It was a great story because it was very exciting. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a good read. This story is adventurous at parts and is very striking. The book had some very interesting parts like when Charlotte saw someone playing tetris on the computer but no one was there. The Ghost Sitter was a wonderful book. You should read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This awsome book is about a girl named susie who died playing with fireworks. She does not belive that she is dead. She thinks she is invisible. Her family moves out after she dies. Susie thinks Gloria, (her 5 year old sister), her mom, and her dad have just left her there. She waites for them. People call her "Sparkler Susie" because every 4th of July people see her in her old bedroom window playing with sparklers. A girl named Charlotte, Her older brother Bart, her little brother Brandon, her mom and dad move into her old house (Susie's). Her next-door-neighbor, Shannon tells her it is haunted and she don't belive her. After Charlotte is there a few days, Shannon decicdes she wants to do a s'eance in Charlotte's room. They contatact Susie. Anyway, thats just a little feed-back on the book! It is a very touchful, scary, awsome book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about a ghost girl named Susie who died and doesn't want to believe it. She adores babysitting and only small kids and pets can see her. Susie made an important promise to her 5 year old sister, Gloria. There was a big misunderstanding in this wonder ful, touching, haunting, story. A girl named Charlotte moves into Susie's house and soon learns the true legend of Susie from her next-door neighboor Shannon. This is a truly award winning book. Thank you Peni R. Griffin!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book stinks
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KKPP More than 1 year ago
Should i get the free preview? Or should I not? By the looks of it I think I'll try it. I am rating it a 1 star because i dont know if its good or bad.