Synopsis (from Goodreads):
When Miss Lana makes an Accidental Bid at the Tupelo auction and winds up the mortified owner of an old inn, she doesn't realize there's a ghost in the fine print. Naturally, Desperado Detective Agency (aka Mo and Dale) opens a paranormal division to solve the mystery of the ghost's identity. They've got to figure out who the ghost is so they can interview it for their history assignment (extra credit). But Mo and Dale start to realize that the Inn isn't the only haunted place in Tupelo Landing. People can also be haunted by their own past. As Mo and Dale handily track down the truth about the ghost (with some help from the new kid in town), they discover the truth about a great many other people, too.
Two years ago, I was six feet away from meeting Ms. Turnage. She was on an author panel along with some other authors, but I had never heard of her. I did not buy her book or get in line to meet her, but I did go home and request her then-new book, Three Times Lucky. Three chapters in, I was already regretting not buying a copy at the event and getting it autographed. That book was gold. It was hilarious, and fun, and quirky, and I absolutely loved it. Now, I just discovered that there is a sequel. As soon as I saw Becky's review of Ghosts, I knew I had to get my hands on it.
I loved this book just as much as its prequel. It was hilarious, quirky, fun, and strangely touching at the same time - just like the first book. Most of this is because of the characters. Not just the main characters (although their characterization is amazing), but also the minor characters. There's the girl who will do any service for you online for the cost of a quarter. There's the boy who is an expert on all things weather. There's the school teacher who you can tell thinks Mo is cute, but keeps up a firm persona.
Speaking of Mo, she is such a hoot! The thing I love about these books is that Mo (short for Moses, because they found her as a baby floating down the stream) can get away with anything. She says the most outrageous things at the most outrageous times, and it's not awkward or stilted. Everyone knows her, so no one is offended. She has decided she is going to marry the nineteen-year-old brother of her best friend Dale, and so she is constantly making semi-rude remarks about his dates and openly telling Lavender (Dale's brother) that he should ask her to the dance. Lavender always laughs and turns her down, but not in a "wow you're weird" way. More of a "that's Mo for you" kind of way.
Mo is outrageous. She cooks up crazy plots, tells people things straight to their faces, but always seems to end up on top. For example, Dale's father is in jail for the millionth time. Dale's mother, Rose, is divorcing him. Several times in the book, Mo straight-out tells Rose that she is better off without her loser of a husband. In any other book, that would be so awkward and forward it would be horrible. In this one, Rose just kind of changes the subject and the story moves on. No one gets offended, no one calls Mo out. Mo's hilarious.
As for her best friend Dale, he's so funny! He has a hard time with rhetorical questions and Mo clarifies for him: "that one was rhetorical," "not rhetorical," etc, throughout the whole book - so cute! There's been a thread through both books showing his struggle with his father's criminal lifestyle. At the end of the first book Dale's mom Rose decides to divorce Dale's dad, and you see some of the emotions Dale and his family are going through but things still stay light. This book never once gets slow or depressing: it's always zany and fun. But at the same time, Turnage manages to bring across some pretty powerful emotions. I have no idea how she does it, but I absolutely love it.
I could go on about every one of the many characters in the book, but I'm sure you don't want to read about that. All I can say is, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone and everyone. And I'll leave it at that, because I'm really not doing this book justice.