The Ghosts of Rose Hill
R. M. Romero
Published May 10, 2022
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About The Ghosts of Rose Hill
Magic will burn you up.
Sent to stay with her aunt in Prague and witness the humble life of an artist, Ilana Lopez—a biracial Jewish girl—finds herself torn between her dream of becoming a violinist and her immigrant parents’ desire for her to pursue a more stable career.
When she discovers a forgotten Jewish cemetery behind her aunt’s cottage, she meets the ghost of a kindhearted boy named Benjamin, who died over a century ago. As Ilana restores Benjamin’s grave, he introduces her to the enchanted side of Prague, where ghosts walk the streets and their kisses have warmth.
But Benjamin isn’t the only one interested in Ilana. Rudolph Wassermann, a man with no shadow, has become fascinated with her and the music she plays. He offers to share his magic, so Ilana can be with Benjamin and pursue her passion for violin. But after Ilana discovers the truth about Wassermann and how Benjamin became bound to the city, she resolves to save the boy she loves, even if it means losing him—forever.
With spellbinding verse prose, R.M. Romero channels the spirit of myth into a brilliantly original tale, inspired by her experiences restoring Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe.
What an amazing novel-in-verse. It’s part fairy-tale, part love story, part celebration of history and culture and faith. I fell into this book right from the first chapter and didn’t surface until the last page. I loved the Prague setting and the way Ilana cared for the graveyard out of reverence for her faith and the impact that it had on the people around her.
Lots of things about the story surprised me– in good ways. I loved Ilana’s relationship with her aunt. I didn’t expect some of the conversations they had, and I loved the ways her aunt shared her own stories.
And Benjamin. I loved him, too. I knew he was going to break my heart, and he did, but I loved the journey anyway.
THE GHOSTS OF ROSE HILL is the kind of book that’s going to stick with me awhile. I already want to go back and read it again. It reminds me a little bit of THE BOOK THIEF in its other-worldly-ness. Or VASILISA by Julie Mathison. I think it’s a perfect fit for readers who are aging out of middle grade but not ready for upper YA just yet. And perfect for anyone who enjoys a modern fairytale.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Ilana is Jewish and Cuban American. Other characters are Czech.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Kissing between boy and girl.
Ilana meets a boy who is a ghost. He lives with three other ghost children and a man who has some magic abilities.
Ilana learns of a monster that eats memories.
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