by Faith Erin Hicks, 219 pages
After years of homeschooling with her three older brothers, Maggie's finally starting her first day at a public high school. She struggles to fit in, find friends, understand the cliques and pressures and personal histories, deal with teachers who aren't her mom, and do homework. Plus, there's her mom's conspicuous absence, for which Maggie feels responsible. To top it off, there's the ghost.
This is a sweet, funny, memoir-ish story of family bonds, awkward adolescence, and friendship that anybody can identify with, even if they weren't homeschooled or haunted. Hicks's characters are relatable both physically and emotionally, with nobody "perfect," and her tone is a mix of melancholy, wit, and hope as her characters learn to move past their hurts and look forward to the inevitable challenges ahead with more confidence and the support of one another.