Ghosts, Toast, and Other Hazards (Hardcover)
"Susan Tan's writing is funny, fun, and hits straight to the heart."—Christina Soontorvat, two-time Newbery Honor recipient
From APALA Honor award-winning author Susan Tan, a middle-grade novel about a girl who must overcome her worries to find the truth behind her town's urban legend.
Mo is not afraid of toast. Just to be clear. She is afraid of fires, though. Which can be caused by everyday appliances, like toasters. So toast isn’t the problem, but you could say it’s the start of a slippery slope. Since her family's recent move, Mo's been eating oatmeal for breakfast.
Moving to a new town is never easy, but it’s even harder when you’re dealing with a stepdad who just left and a mom who can’t get out of bed long enough to find a new a job.
But Mo doesn’t have time to dwell on these things. Because it’s her job to keep her family together. To keep them safe.
So when an elephant starts to haunt her dreams—and a mysterious spirit attacks her home—Mo knows it’s up to her to intervene before things get too dangerous.
With her new friend, Nathaniel, she embarks on an investigation, searching for the truth about the town, its people, and their history. But things are much more complicated and tangled than she thought.
To find out what’s really going on, Mo might have to live a little dangerously after all.
About the Author
Susan Tan has lived many places in her life, but calls Concord, Massachusetts, home. She grew up in a mixed-race family, and, like Cilla Lee-Jenkins, had very little hair until the age of five. After studying at Williams College, she earned her PhD from the University of Cambridge, where she studied children's literature. She currently lives in Somerville, enjoys frequent trips to Chinatown to eat tzuck sang, and teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire is her first book.
"A realistic and deeply moving portrayal of a family’s journey through a challenging life transition." —Kirkus, starred review
"Tan’s detailed narrative employs rich sensory details that immediately hook readers and don’t let go until the very last sentence." —Horn Book, starred review
"Mo’s sincere first-person narrative portrays the way that finding emotional safety—via attending therapy, and bonding with Uncle Ray over music—gives way to a feeling of peace." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Mo's challenges are many, but Tan deftly, realistically includes unexpected kindness and surprising allyship (librarians rule!), which help clear the many stumbling blocks. Tan dexterously navigates resonating topics—anxiety, grief, family dynamics, racism--with patient empathy and gentle humor." —School Library Journal
"[An] engaging, multilayered story about family history, community, and nefarious ghosts will find plenty of appeal for middle-graders who like just fantasies grounded in reality." —Booklist
"[E]ffective and emotional" —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"This book honors the bravery that every kid holds inside them. As always, Susan Tan's writing is funny, fun, and hits straight to the heart." —Christina Soontorvat, two-time Newbery Honor recipient
"A thoughtful book that combines gentle humor with a compelling ghost mystery. Young readers will relate to Mo as she navigates family and friendships, confronts history and loss, and contends with the scariest thing of all: her emotions." —Rajani LaRocca, Newbery Honor author of Red, White, and Whole
"An absolutely heartwarming and sweet story with an incredibly relatable character you can't help but love. I LOVED this irresistible mystery!" —Ellen Oh, author of Finding Junie Kim
"Susan Tan weaves emotion into this dazzling mystery. In this story, Mo’s voice rings true as she is confronted with a mystery of ghosts, music, and righting the wrongs of the past. Beautiful, heartfelt, and truly unique, this is an uplifting tale you won’t soon forget." —Angela Dominguez, author of Stella Díaz
“Author Susan Tan, in her best work yet, conjures a beautiful story with insight and humor that has Mo learning how to destroy the bad, obliterate fear, and find connections to make herself whole.” —Debbi Michiko Florence, author of Keep It Together, Keiko Carter