The Ghost of Fossil Glen

by Cynthia DeFelice
Reading level: Ages 9-12


Allie Nichols is being pursued by a ghost. Her friend Karen calls Allie a liar and doesn’t want to hear “stuff like that.” But her old pal, Dub, listens eagerly as Allie tells him about the voice that guides her down a steep cliff side, the girl she imagines who begs, “Help me,” and a terrible nightmare in which that girl falls to her death. Who is that girl? Is she the ghost? And what does the ghost want from Allie?


Winner of the Texas Bluebonnet Award
Winner of The Golden Sower Nebraska State Children’s Choice Award
Winner of The William Allen White Kansas State Children’s Award
Winner of the Sunshine State (Florida) Children’s Choice Award
School Library Journal Best Books of 1998
Winner of the Children’s Choice Awards in Virginia, Maryland, and Iowa

A Note from the Author

I loved reading ghost stories when I was a kid—and I still do! So I thought it might be fun to write one. I was inspired by a place right near my house in Upstate New York called Kashong Glen. It’s a beautiful and mysterious place, perfect as the setting for a ghost story. It can be dangerous, too: a stream runs through the center of it, surrounded by steep, high cliffs that contain fossils of ancient marine creatures. Every year, it seems, someone is killed or has to be rescued from those cliffs or from the stream below.

One day a long-forgotten memory returned to me: when I was in fourth grade, my two “best friends” announced that they didn’t like me any more because I was a liar. I was devastated. I had thought they understood that I liked to imagine things. I thought they, too, liked to play “What If?” To me, life was so much more exciting if you tried to see beneath the surface, to what might lie hidden beneath. If you read the book, you’ll see how something similar happens to Allie Nichols.

Hoover, Mr. Henry’s golden retriever, is based on a real dog who belonged to friends of ours. Poor Hoover died of cancer when she was only six years old, and our friends were very, very sad. I had just begun writing “The Ghost of Fossil Glen,” and I thought that maybe Hoover could be part of the story. I hoped it would make them to feel better to know that Hoover would live forever, at least in the pages of a book. When the hardback first came out, they (and I) were thrilled to see that Hoover was a Cover Girl.


“A tense opening scene draws children right into this beautifully crafted thriller… DeFelice does a splendid job of unfolding the complicated plot, dispensing information in just the right amounts, and making connections. [The book is] an expertly paced, dynamic page-turner that never gives readers the chance to become distracted or lose interest. It’s another fine title from a fine author.” – Booklist

“[A] ghost out for revenge, a sinister real-estate deal, a child who knows about a murder, but no one believes her… [DeFelice] deftly combines the supernatural aspects of the piece with subplots about a class project and Karen, a scornful sixth grader who gets her comeuppance.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Fans of ghost stories by Betty Ren Wright and Mary Downing Hahn will find this excellent book difficult to put down.” – School Library Journal, Starred Review

The Ghost of Fossil Glen by Cynthia DeFelice
Hardcover – 176 pages 1 Ed edition (April 1998)
Farrar Straus & Giroux (Juv); ISBN: 0374317879
Paperback – 154 pages (October 5, 1999)
Camelot; ISBN: 0380731754