Jessica's Ghost by Andrew Norriss
What starts out as a gentle, funny ghost story turns into something breathtaking, beautiful and important. Recently (and very deservedly) nominated for the Carnegie Medal and the Costa Book Award, we're also holding up Jessica's Ghost as one of our Junior Books of the Year.
Jessica has been dead for over a year now, but the only person who can see her is an unassuming boy called Francis. Francis loves fashion, and has an attic full of fabrics and dressmaker's dummies that has become his world. Unfortunately, his talent and passion earns him a hard time from other boys at school and he is becoming deeply unhappy. Gradually his friendship with Jessica starts to lift his spirits (no pun intended.) Then they find that another child, Andi, a tomboy with lots of energy but lots of anger, can see Jessica too. Why them? Are there others? Just what really happened to Jessica?
Shot through with humour characteristic of the author Andrew Norriss (the Archie series, genuinely some of our favourite early reader books), this is pretty near a perfect novel and one that could mean so much to any child or adult who's ever had a hard time fitting in.