(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Haunting of Cassie Palmer explores the mysterious world of the supernatural, arousing reader apprehension and fear. Ghost stories give many people a safe opportunity to enjoy such emotions and to delight in the resulting goosebumps and the satisfying escape into fantasy. Cassie's unusual encounter with the raised spirit, Deverill, who most frequently appears to her when she is in need of an understanding friend, fulfills our desire for a vicarious journey through the land of the unknown.

Knowledge about the world of the supernatural can provide satisfactory explanations about paranormal events, but in Alcock's book, Cassie's mother misuses her psychic gift, resorting to deceptive practices to strengthen her unprosperous career. Her hopes for the future lie with Cassie, her youngest daughter, the seventh child of a seventh child, and fated to have great psychic powers. Unfortunately, Cassie has no interest in her supposed capabilities or in the spirit world. Her views about the "Other Side" contribute to an interesting mother-daughter conflict similar to conflicts many young readers themselves face. Eventually, Cassie and Mrs. Palmer resolve their differences, with both making concessions, and preserve their love for each other.

Thirteen-year-old Cassie also demonstrates how difficult it can be for a maturing adolescent to accept what many adults have already realized: that everyone has faults, and that major life decisions are not...

(The entire section is 277 words.)