Ghosts I Have Been

Book review by
Norah Caroline Piehl, Common Sense Media
Ghosts I Have Been Book Poster Image
Peck combines shivery horror with slapstick humor.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Blossom makes several wisecracks about boys' lack of intelligence. Blossom and Alexander break into a locked building. Blossom uses her cleverness to trick people.


A somewhat graphic scene of suicide by hanging. A minor character fires a rifle twice. A boy beats a girl up on the playground. Blossom sees several ghosts. She witnesses people dying on the Titanic. Blossom tells a scary story. Blossom's father abandone


Few and mild.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although there are definitely some darker moments here (a scene involving a hanging comes to mind), rest assured that they're presented in a non-threatening, age-appropriate manner.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 16 years old Written bysup red December 4, 2009
It's a cute story. The banter between Alexander and Blossom is sure to bring a smile, and despite her slight disregard for the rules, Blossom's wit, c... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 29, 2009



What's the story?

Blossom Culp used to get her kicks by dressing up as a ghost. When she starts seeing real ghosts, though, Blossom discovers her supernatural powers aren't just fun and games. Richard Peck combines shivery horror with slapstick humor in a thoroughly engrossing story centered on a spunky, unforgettable heroine.


Is it any good?

It's a rare book that could include a ghost who hangs herself and then serves tea, but this novel pulls it off; Blossom's unique voice frequently sets this skillful balance. Wryly observant of early 20th-century manners, fiercely independent but secretly eager to belong, Blossom tells her story as she lives her life, with common sense and humor. Neither a knife-throwing ghost nor the sudden fame that follows her Titanic vision fazes Blossom. The episodic plot filled with endearing supporting characters is similar to novels written a hundred years ago. The language is old-fashioned, too ("Whether you be born with the Gift or attain it is often debated"), and is an excellent stepping-stone for kids ready to jump into classic literature.

Just as Beverly Cleary did with Ramona (who appeared in Henry Huggins), Richard Peck makes Blossom Culp, a supporting character in The Ghost Belonged to Me, the heroine of its sequel. It's a wise choice, too; Blossom stole many scenes in the earlier novel, and her funny, matter-of-fact narration enables GHOSTS I HAVE BEEN to include scarier moments without losing its lightheartedness.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Blossom's appeal as a heroine. What makes her so likeable? Are there any particular traits of Blossom's personality that you can relate to?

Book details

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