About the Books
When twelve-year-old Theresa Martinez’s mom dies, money problems force her family to move into her dead grandmother’s creepy old mansion. Immediately, strange things start to happen. The powdered sugar she’s been searching the kitchen for suddenly falls out of a cupboard. Closed curtains are mysteriously open—all fun stuff for Theresa’s new ghost-obsessed friend Kerry.
When they find out the reality show, Ghosters, is hosting a contest for the best paranormal recording, Theresa remembers Dad’s money problems and vows to win the contest. Along with Joey, her little brother who has Asperger’s, the girls use Kerry’s ghost-chasing equipment to hopefully capture prizewinning evidence. They soon discover that ghosts are just tip of the stunning mysteries the old house holds.
For Readers and Book Clubs:
In the News
“A creaky old house, ghost sightings, and the forbidden third floor will engage young readers all the way through to the unexpected ending. An exciting debut novel full of mystery and humor. Diana Corbitt is a terrific writer. ”—Carrie Bedford, author of the Kate Benedict paranormal mystery series
“Be prepared for a wild ride as Theresa, Kerry and Joey explore their new home, a rundown Victorian mansion. Get ready for what they find when they get up the nerve to go into the basement. And hang onto your seat when they venture upstairs and through the door Teresa’s Dad forbade her to go through. Ghosters is great fun. It is well paced with wonderful quirky characters that readers will love.”—J.P. Shaw, author of The Drazil House Mystery
“Ghosters is an exciting, on the edge of your seat novel, from author Diana Corbitt. Expertly tying in the mystery genre that most middle graders love with reality TV, thrills and chills abound as Theresa and her friend Kerry attempt to capture the image of a ghost with their ghost hunting equipment and win a big cash prize in a contest put on by the Ghosters television show. Like all good mystery stories, the twists and turns will keep kids up reading way past their bedtime as they beg their parents for just one more chapter. Like a ghost gliding through the air, Ghosters is sure to fly off of library shelves!”—Sharon Cowan, Library Media Technician, Travis USD, California
LIFE IS WEIRD. When my mom died six months ago, I didn’t even know what my grandparents looked like. Now, I’m getting ready to bake cookies in their hundred-something-year-old mansion with their photos looking down on me in almost every room.
Like the rest of the house, my grandmother’s kitchen is huge, twice as big as our old one. Because Mom never bothered to clean the place out after Grandma died, the cabinets are still stocked with all kinds of bowls, spoons, and pans. Obviously, Grandma Carmen was majorly into cooking, a lot like Mom who ran her own catering business back in Crescent City.
Ever since I found Grandma Carmen’s rosquillos recipe in one of the drawers yesterday, I’ve been dying to try it. So what if they’re Christmas cookies, and this is only September?
I gather my supplies. Mom taught me to be super clean when I cook, so I squeeze my thick and annoyingly curly brown hair into a Scrunchy and wash my hands. All set except for one thing. I can’t find the powdered sugar, and we just bought it this morning.
It’s supposed to be in the walk-in pantry. There’s no light, so I leave the door open. Standing in the center, I turn in slow circles and check all the shelves for the second time. Dad threw out all of Grandma’s old cans and boxes, so everything in here is new. Since Joey and I have both inherited Dad’s huge sweet tooth, we’re all stocked up on baking powder, flour, everything I need to keep us supplied with cakes and cookies. Besides the baking stuff, the shelves now hold rice, noodles, a case of Pepsi, a family-sized bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos, and three kinds of cereal, among other things. When I realize I only know this because I recognize their colors and shapes, I take off my glasses and use my shirt to clean them.
Amazing. I was blind, but now I see.
Fuzzy vision magically cured, I move everything around looking for the powdered sugar. No luck.
After snagging a handful of Doritos, I step back into the kitchen to do another search, this time with clear lenses. Five minutes later, I still haven’t found the sugar.
There’s a staircase in the corner. Unlike the main stairs, which is all hand-carved wood, this one is plain since it was only for servants, a luxury I can’t imagine. Joey, my nine-year-old brother, trots down the steps as I’m about to check the pantry for the fifth time.
“Theresa, you said you were going to bake rosquillos.”
“I am going to bake rosquillos.”
“When?” His eyes fix on the teapot-shaped clock on the wall above the stove. “You said that seventeen minutes and twenty-three seconds ago.”
I’ve laid out some utensils on Grandma’s old butcher-block table. Joey saunters over and eyes the empty bowl. “Have you been eating Doritos this whole time?”
“What? No.” I lick my lips, and the taste of nacho dust comes back. Geez, does he see everything? “Look, I didn’t come in here to stuff my face. I haven’t made the cookies yet because I can’t find the powdered sugar.”
“Are your lenses clean?”
He reaches for my glasses, but I brush aside his hand before he can snatch them. Since people with Asperger’s aren’t always good at reading expressions, I put on an angry face and point at it. “See this look?” I push my eyebrows together for dramatic effect.
“What’s it mean?”
I nod hard. “Grabbing someone’s glasses is rude.” How do you say rude in Spanish? When I can’t come up with it, I settle for very bad, or Muy malo.
Once he’s got the idea, I drop the act and hold out my newly wiped specs so he can see them.
“At first I didn’t realize they were smudgy, but . . .” My words trail off as he strolls across the kitchen, opens the ancient avocado-green refrigerator, and pulls out a jar. The kid’s not even listening.
Well, I can be annoying too. “Did you open up all the windows like Dad told you?”
He fishes out a huge dill pickle, his favorite food. “Not yet. I haven’t finished watching the DVD on poisonous spiders.”
Just as I suspected. “Weren’t you the one complaining about the moldy smell? If you want it to go away, you’re gonna have to open this place up.”
“Do it while it’s still warm out. Dad likes it when he doesn’t have to tell you twice.”
“I’ll do it after I watch the part about brown recluse spiders.”
I cross my arms like Mom used to.
“But it’s my favorite part.”
“You’ve seen that a hundred times, Jojo. Do it now.”
“Oh, all right.” He takes a huge bite and mumbles, “Let me know when the rosquillos are ready,” through a mouthful of pickle. With that, he trots back up the stairs. Across the room, the pickle jar sits open on the counter. Big help he is.
I put Joey’s pickles away and head back into the pantry.
Uggghhhh . . . what color is that stupid powdered sugar box? Red? Blue?
There’s a case of bottled water on the top shelf, an easy reach for Dad but not for somebody who’s barely five feet tall. Lucky for me, the shelves are sturdy. I climb onto the lowest and shove the bottled water aside to check behind. Nothing.
The noise comes from the kitchen, so I step out of the pantry. “Thanks for coming back, Jojo. Maybe you can find the . . .” Nobody’s there. Not Joey. Not Dad. Just me and the blue-and-white box lying on the white tiled counter across the room.
Above it, the cupboard door slowly swings shut with the same eerie creaking sound that drew me out there. What the heck?
Ignoring the goose bumps that have popped up on my arms, I creep over and turn the box face up. Yup, it’s the powdered sugar, all right. I yank open the cupboard door. Coffee cups.
A ghostly cold finger seems to press against the base of my spine, and I shiver as I remember what happened at the grocery store this morning.
“So it was you and your kids that moved into the old Ramos House?” The old poofy haired cashier looked at Dad as if he just tore open one of our cereal boxes and poured Fruit Loops over his head. “But that place has been haunted ever since—you do know it’s haunted . . . don’t you?”
Later, in the car, we chuckled at the old woman’s wacky stories. But now . . .