A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
A few facts about the history of the Philippines. Some Filipino cultural mythologies and legends are used and explained as well.
Strong positive messages of courage, empathy, and gratitude. Characters work together, fight for what's right, and try to help those who need it. You can't change the past, but you can work to make the present and future better. Lost friends and family can live on in our memories, thoughts, and feelings.
Positive Role Models
Corazon is a brave, compassionate, and strong girl lead who shows empathy for the stories of other people. While she has her own goals, she does many things during her journey that are not for herself. Despite many obstacles, she perseveres, communicates positively, and feels gratitude for her family and friends. Other characters are also loving, supportive, and helpful in various ways, often offering moments of teamwork and friendship during difficult times.
The lead is a strong Filipino 12-year-old girl. Her aunt, Tina, ghost friend Leo, and (deceased) parents are Filipino as well. All the mythological creatures, spirits, ghosts, and monsters are from Filipino mythology. The adult romantic relationships are all between men and women, with many tales told of "men fighting for maidens" and fathers disapproving of their daughters' choices for husbands.
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Violence & Scariness
Corazon's parents visit her as ghosts once a week, which isn't written as scary, but might be spooky. Other more scary ghost characters appear sometimes, like a woman whose face isn't all there, is missing an eye, and has loose and missing pieces of skin. Characters see ghostly dead faces in a river, feel "corpse fingers," and meet ghost spirits that "sometimes eat children." Stories are told of men fighting and dying, young lovers being killed for who they love, and a creepy man stalking a young woman. One very sad story is told about a family (mother, father, and little boy) who are burned to death in their home by an angry mob.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man asks a woman out for a date but gets rejected.
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Products & Purchases
References to King Kong, the films, The Curse of Nosferatu and Young Frankenstein, and Skittles candy.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A giant spirit monster that is a tree often smokes a cigar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Spirit Glass by Roshani Chokshi (Aru Shah series) is a stand-alone middle grade fantasy novel published by Rick Riordan Presents. Eleven-year-old Corazon Lopez is a babaylan (Filipino mystical healer and spirit guide) in training. She hopes to use her magic to bring her deceased parents back to life, but before she learns how, her soul key, which she needs to bring back her parents -- oh, and also to keep the balance between the human and spirit worlds -- is stolen. Expect many encounters with ghosts and spirit monsters, some of which may be scary (ghoulish faces missing eyeballs, skin falling off, "they eat children") and some action scenes that depict peril and danger. Old stories are told about young men dying while fighting in battle, a creepy man stalking a woman because he wants to marry her, and a family being burned to death in their home by an angry mob. A large tree spirit always has a cigar in his mouth.
Is It Any Good?
This magical tale of family and friendship is inventive and fun. There are, however, many ghosts, ghouls, and spirits in The Spirit Glass, some of which may scare some younger tween readers. One particular kind, called manananggals, are said to "eat children" and are described as ghoulish and vampiric. There is also a terribly sad story of a young family tormented by a bad man and angry mob. They burn down the family's house with them in it, and their little boy dies also. The bad man is described as a sexual predator who was stalking the mother and got increasingly enraged about her rejections. So there are plenty of dark elements to be aware of.
But if these themes and ghostly elements aren't too intense, there is a great adventure story here full of creativity, hilarious characters, fun action, challenging missions, and some fantastic twists that will surprise and satisfy. This story is rooted in and inspired by Filipino culture and tradition. The magic, creatures, spirits, environments, and mythology are all inventively used here, and the creatures, ghosts, and spirits have fun and unique personalities. A strong entry into the middle grade fantasy genre, this novel will thrill fans of Chokshi's previous books and any intrepid reader looking for a magical read.
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