The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing Book Poster Image

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing



Small-town mystery sequel charming but doesn't cut as deep.

What parents need to know

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

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.


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.

Not applicable
Not applicable

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.

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. 

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.

Families can talk 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? 

Book details

Author:Sheila Turnage
Topics:Adventures, Friendship, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Kathy Dawson Books
Publication date:February 4, 2014
Number of pages:368
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 18
Available on:Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing was written by

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


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • This poignant novel is one of the best around.
  • In taut, unforgettable drama, nothing is simple.
  • Zany adventure in the Florida Everglades spoofs reality TV.

Top advice and articles

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

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


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?