The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing

Book review by
Sally Engelfried, Common Sense Media
The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing Book Poster Image
Small-town mystery sequel charming but doesn't cut as deep.

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Readers may learn something about small-town rural life in the South, where high-speed Internet is available only on First Street, and everyone in town knows your name and history.

Positive Messages

Your first instincts about a person may not always be right; don't be afraid to change your mind. If someone is being cranky with you, treating him with kindness will go further than trying to get even.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mo's a smart girl who loves school, but that doesn't always translate into her doing her homework as instructed by her teacher. A creative and unconventional thinker, Mo wants above all to protect the people she loves, and she'll go to great lengths to do so. Mo can be cocky and has a tendency to be overly blunt with people, but she's not afraid to admit she's wrong and that she's working on her social skills. Mo's friends are loyal and tolerant of one another's faults.

Violence

The ghost of a young girl killed in a long-ago auto accident haunts the inn. Dale's father is in jail for hitting his wife and son.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Brand names mentioned include Cadillac, Piggly Wiggly, Sears, and Duesenberg (an antique luxury car).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A client hires Mo and Dale's detective agency to discover a long-hidden moonshine still. Dale's dad, who doesn't come into the story much, is described as an alcoholic.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, the sequel to Newbery Honor-winning ​Three Times Luckyhas a ghostly character, a little girl who died in an automobile accident in the 1920s because someone cut the brake lines. One grown-up who was a boy at the time feels responsible for her death. Another boy, abandoned by his family, isn't sure if his grandpa will take him in. Narrator Mo and her friends lie and steal to solve the mystery of the ghost and, in their minds, to protect the people they love, but they must confess and face the consequences of their actions. One boy visits his father, who's in jail for domestic violence. 

User Reviews

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Kid, 9 years old December 17, 2017

A Good Sequel, But At Times Boring

This book was good and I read it in a day (partly because I just wanted to start something else), but it didn’t have all the mystery I had yearned for after rea... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE GHOSTS OF TUPELO LANDING picks up a couple of months after the events of Three Times Lucky. As narrator Mo says, one of the rules of living in a small town such as Tupelo Landing is "you got to stay who you are no matter how many murders you solve." But when her adoptive mother, Miss Lana, accidentally buys a haunted inn, Mo decides to interview the alleged ghost for her history project and volunteers her best friend Dale to assist. The two uncover a historic town mystery that involves moonshine, betrayal, and a tragic automobile accident. Along the way they make a new friend and resolve an old family feud.

Is it any good?

Narrator Mo LoBeau (accent on the second syllable) is as entertaining as ever as she and her best friend, Dale, set out to solve yet another town mystery. Readers of Three Times Lucky might be surprised to find a real ghost in The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, since there were no supernatural elements in the first novel. Though the emotional thrust doesn't cut as deeply in this sequel -- Mo's letters to the "upstream mother" she's never met seem a bit forced this time around -- the town of Tupelo Landing and its colorful characters remain as charming as ever. Mo's tendency to speak her mind and her friends' willingness to overlook her insults are sure to amuse, as are Dale's forays into learning social niceties. The action moves along at a nice, steady pace.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing compares with Three Times Lucky, the first book about Mo. What do you like better about the first one? What's better in the second? 

  • Mo lives in a town where high-speed Internet isn't available to most of the town and where no one owns a cell phone. How would living in a town like that change what you do for fun? Do you think it would be better or worse?

  • Have you ever solved a mystery? Do you think you could? 

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