The Presence by Eve Bunting
After the car crash that killed Catherine’s best friend, her parents send her to stay for Christmas with her grandmother in California. Little do they know that in her grandmother’s church lurks… (cue ominous music) the presence of the title. Which is, of course, evil. The lurking ghost promises to connect her with her dead friend, but of course, has a much more sinister motive.
The ghost story, while possessing (no pun intended) enough suspense and clever plotting to keep me reading to the end, wasn’t what really stuck out for me, however. Instead, it was the backstory about the dead friend. The two girls were best friends who met online, and the one who died was visiting from Scotland when the accident happened. The emotional intensity of their friendship was incredibly strong even in the few scenes of it that we got. Will appeal if you want something creepy with sympathetic characters, a bit of romance, and a touch of tragedy.