Ghost Collector, The Share this with a friend

by Allison Mills

Best Books List, CBC Books

Ghosts aren’t meant to stick around forever . . .

Ghosts are everywhere in Shelly’s life. Recently passed people, pets, and a boy who lives in the local graveyard and lends her Smiths tapes are all part of spirit world she and her grandmother are privy to. In the tradition of their Cree ancestors, Shelly and her grandmother help these lost souls transition to the next world by catching them in their hair. But when Shelly’s mom dies, her relationship to ghosts—and death—changes. Instead of helping spirits move on, she starts bringing them home and hiding them in her room. But no matter how many ghosts she collects, Shelly can’t ignore the one that’s missing. Why hasn’t her mom’s ghost come home yet?

Rooted in a Cree worldview and inspired by the author’s great-grandmother’s stories, The Ghost Collector delves into questions of grief, loss, and the many ways people can linger after death.


“Mills has created a gentle, understated story about grief and loss through a paranormal lens. This is a necessary book that is sure to have readers. Highly recommended.”
—School Library Journal, *starred review, 08/19

“Mills’s spare prose is poignant and never heavy-handed, culturally specific yet universally resonant.”
—The Horn Book Magazine, 11/19

“Perfectly balances suspense and the supernatural . . . [A] powerful and moving story about coming to terms with the death of a loved one. It’s an auspicious debut that is sure to delight middle-grade readers.”
—The Globe and Mail, 08/25/19

“Simple language makes The Ghost Collector accessible to its tween audience while introducing sophisticated concepts. In Shelly, Mills has created a believable, likeable character who learns important life lessons about the future in the rich context of her cultural past.”
—CM Reviews, 09/20/19

“Poignantly haunting.”
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, 09/19

“[An] original paranormal tale.”
—Kirkus Reviews, 06/12/19

“Mills explores the confusion and anger loss can bring, as well as the difficulties of being different in middle school. It’s a quiet, contemplative read.”
—Booklist, 09/10/19

“Offers readers a gentle and interesting lesson on ghost lore — as well as a refreshing challenge to assumptions about traditional knowledge.”
—Toronto Star, 11/06/19

“A moving, compassionate story.”
—Falling Letters, 01/08/2020