New Orleans—graveyards, ghosts, Mardi Gras, ancient curses, tarot cards, death, murder—Rebecca had expected none of it, but once she’d seen a ghost, there was no escape.

It wasn’t the way Rebecca wanted to spend her sophomore year, but her father didn’t give her any choice. He was going to China for six months on business, and that was far too long to pay someone to take care of her. She was going to New Orleans to stay with one of her father’s best friends, Claudia, and her daughter Aurelia.  They lived in the French Quarter, and he’d arranged for Rebecca to go to the same private girls’ school that Aurelia did.

But he didn’t tell her Claudia read tarot cards for a living, that her house was small and looked like it was about to fall down, or that the girls who went to Temple Mead Academy were rich, pretentious, and not about to befriend a Yankee. Rebecca soon realized that her only friend was Lisette, a black girl she met in the cemetery across the street from Claudia’s house. There was only one problem—Lisette was a 150-year-old ghost.

The longer Rebecca was in New Orleans, the more she began to think that there were secrets all around her, things she wasn’t supposed to know. Claudia, Lisette, and even the girls at school were hiding things from her. 

Why did her dad send her to New Orleans, when there were so many other places she could have gone? Was there something she was supposed to do? To say? And what was the Bowman curse that had haunted the family for generations? Where did she fit in? What role was she destined to play?

This booktalk was written by Joni Richards Bodart, university professor, writer, librarian, consultant and booktalking expert.