I am a huge history buff. I also love all things spooky, otherworldly, and magical. Oh, and book series. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard about this book, LINGERING ECHOES by Angie Smibert. It’s the second book in her middle grade Ghost of Ordinary Objects series, set in the 1940’s that centers around a girl who can see stories in objects. How interesting!
Wouldn’t it be neat to chat with this girl?
Well, we’re in luck. Bone, Lingering Echoes’ main character, is here to visit with you!
Hi Bone! It’s wonderful to have you here. Before we begin, let’s share the book with our readers.
Twelve-year-old Bone uses her Gift, which allows her to see the stories in everyday objects, to try to figure out why her best friend, Will Kincaid, suddenly lost his voice at age five. This supernatural historical mystery is the second title in the acclaimed and emotionally resonant Ghosts of Ordinary Objects series.
In a southern Virginia coal-mining town in October 1942, Bone Phillips is learning to control her Gift: Bone can see the history of a significant object when she touches it. When her best friend, Will Kincaid, asks Bone to “read” the history of his daddy’s jelly jar–the jelly jar that was buried alongside his father during the mine cave-in that killed him–Bone is afraid. Even before Bone touches it, she can feel that the jar has its own strange power. With her mother dead, her father gone to war, and Aunt Mattie’s assault looming over Bone, she can’t bear the idea of losing Will too. As Will’s obsession with the jelly jar becomes dangerous, Bone struggles to understand the truth behind the jar and save him Featuring a beautiful, compelling voice, this novel weaves a story of mystery, family, and ultimately, love.
Okay, Bone. You’re up! Tell us about yourself and what an average day is like for you.
I’m 12 years old. Daddy and me live in the boardinghouse in Big Vein; only Daddy is off to war.
Uncle Junior is living there now—for the duration, he likes to say. Mrs. Price and Miss Johnson live there, too. She’s my teacher. She slips me the National Geographic to read when she’s done with it.
My day is none too exciting. I walk to school up the mine road, sometimes stopping at the parsonage to pick up my cousin, Ruby. At school, I sit at the back with the rest of the seventh grade. Not too many of us left. All sorts of folks have left on account of the war. Or like my best friend Will, they’ve gone down the mines to work. At lunch, I usually get asked to tell a story, like Stingy Jack or Ashpet. I know just about all of the stories from hereabouts.
After supper, Will usually stops by—unless he obsessing about that dad blame jelly jar again. (Don’t worry. I help him figure out the mystery.)
I can’t wait to hear more about that. What was it like when you first discovered you had this Gift?
Well, it about knocked the breath plumb out of me. I touched this arrow head Ruby and me found down by the river. And, wham, all of a sudden, I’m seeing that arrow strike a deer.
Oh my goodness! #yucky
That poor deer stumbled into the river and… Let’s just say I saw and felt it die.
Of course, this is your second journey seeing stories within items, so you’ve already gotten your feet wet. But could you ever have imagined that your friend Will’s jelly jar was more than a simple story? Were you more frightened or curious about it?
I could feel right away that jar was different, like it had its own gift or power. It pulled at me. And it was so powerful I could see things without even touching it. So yes, it scared me—but I was curious, too. I didn’t touch it, though, until I felt like I had to—to help Will.
Will is lucky to have such a wonderful friend in you. And I want to say how sorry I am about your mother and that your father is off to war.
Daddy got himself drafted a couple months ago. He couldn’t say in his last letter where they were shipping him to. Uncle Junior thinks it’ll be North Africa or Italy. I keep having this nightmare about him wandering around lost in the woods—just like Stingy Jack. You know, the fellow the Jack O’Lanterns are named after.
Hmm . . . no, I don’t think I’ve heard this. Please, share.
Folks say he wanders the woods around Halloween with an ember from the coal fires of hell in his carved pumpkin.
Well, that explains a lot. Thank you. How would you describe friendship?
A friend is there for you through thick and thin. And you’re there for him or her, too. Even if he’s acting like an obsessed fool.
Can you share a story about you and Will?
He’s kind like one of those big rocks out in the middle of the river that I like to sun myself on. He’s always there, steady and strong, no matter how high the water is. He also listens to my stories—and is a lot smarter than folks give him credit for.
Sounds like you and Will have true friendship figured out. Thank you so much for stopping by to share your story with our readers. Looking forward to seeing what comes next for you!
Smibert is the author of the middle grade historical fantasy series, Ghosts of Ordinary Objects, which includes Bone’s Gift (2018), Lingering Echoes (2019), and The Truce (2020). She’s also written three young adult science fiction novels: Memento Nora, The Forgetting Curve, and The Meme Plague. In addition to numerous short stories, she’s published over two dozen science/technology books for kids. Smibert teaches young adult and speculative fiction for Southern New Hampshire University’s creative writing M.F.A. program as well as professional writing for Indiana University East. Before doing all this, she was a science writer and web developer at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. She lives in Roanoke with a goofy dog (named after a telescope) and two bickering cats (named after Tennessee Williams characters), and puts her vast store of useless knowledge to work at the weekly pub quiz. For more on Angie, follow her on social media: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
Be sure to check out BONE’S GIFT, book one of Bone’s story.
In this supernatural historical mystery, twelve-year-old Bone possesses a Gift that allows her to see the stories in everyday objects. When she receives a note that says her mother’s Gift killed her, Bone seeks to unravel the mysteries of her mother’s death, the schisms in her family, and the Gifts themselves.
In a southern Virginia coal-mining town in 1942, Bone Phillips has just reached the age when most members of her family discover their Gift. Bone has a Gift that disturbs her; she can sense stories when she touches an object that was important to someone. She sees both sad and happy–the death of a deer in an arrowhead, the pain of a beating in a baseball cap, and the sense of joy in a fiddle. There are also stories woven into her dead mama’s butter-yellow sweater–stories Bone yearns for and fears. When Bone receives a note that says her mama’s Gift is what killed her, Bone tries to uncover the truth. Could Bone’s Gift do the same? Here is a beautifully resonant coming-of-age tale about learning to trust the power of your own story.
The giveaway winner will be announced on Friday, April 19th via Twitter! Good luck!!!