Parents' Guide to

Riley's Ghost

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Creepy middle school tale has bullies, ghosts, zombie frog.

Riley's Ghost Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 1 parent review

age 13+

Inappropriate language for recommended age group

I have to admit, I only got through about 5 pages with my 8 year old son. We read novels together at night. There were several instances to inappropriate adult humor within those first few pages and I stopped. The story line may be okay for 8-12 but the language is not.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

There's a lot going on in this creepy tale of a seventh-grader locked in a haunted middle school -- a bullied, angry teen, a friend's betrayal, mean girls, a half-dissected frog possessed by a ghost. There are many relatable moments, as author John David Anderson excels at conjuring the turbulent emotions of flawed but determined kids learning life lessons and dealing with their flawed but determined loved ones. But his venture into the ghost-story genre doesn't really come together as a satisfying whole, and some may find the resolution unsatisfying or inauthentic. Still, there are relatable moments aplenty in Riley's Ghost. Also funny ones, as the undead frog, formerly a middle-aged man, tells his story to Riley, who says, "You're telling me you died and went to middle school?"

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate