Allison reviewed the first Gilda Joyce awhile back and I picked up the second book in the series "Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake" at the library last month. Even though I started with this one instead of the first in the series, I really didn't feel like I was missing much. It worked fine as a stand-alone book.
Gilda decides to take advantage of an opportunity to attend an all-girls private school thanks to a recommendation from her mother's boyfriend. He had an 'in' with the school's headmistress as her car salesman. After hemming and hawing, Gilda decides to attend when she discovers an interesting ghost story at the school. A few years before, a freshman drowned in the lake by the school. There is a rumor that her ghost is now haunting the school. Instead of taking her studies seriously, Gilda takes on the case and starts snooping around. She diligently records all of her observations and findings in letters to her father typed on an old typewriter. He passed away and she writes to him as a way to still feel connected to him.
I enjoyed Gilda quite a bit. And thought the mystery was quite fun. I felt it was a bit long for what it was and perhaps some of Gilda's journaling could have been edited down. I will read the others in the series at some point, though, I'm not jumping to get to them as fast as I can. Small random side note for you: Although, I like the cover of the book in and of itself, the image of Gilda kind of bugs me. She appears so elfish looking on the cover. And that is just not how I pictured her in the book. In discussing this annoyance with Allison, she pointed out that this elfish/waifish look seems to be a trend in middle-grade fiction lately. Please reference the covers of Theodosia, Joy of Spooking, and Suddenly Supernatural as further proof. Hmm...wonder why this is? Do elfish-looking female characters sell more books?
Susan at Bloggin' 'bout Books also wrote an extensive review recently of the entire Gilda series.
I can't believe I forgot to review Ladies of the Lake and The Ghost Sonata! I'll just add a bit here.
Ladies of the Lake: I liked this entry in Gilda's adventures quite a bit. It's a good standalone, but it also develops Gilda a but further. The typewriter connection to her dad is very sweet. The first book had more of a Harriet the Spy feel--Gilda has outrageous costumes and spies on the neighbors--that this one was missing, because Gilda is already undercover in her school uniform.
The Ghost Sonata is the third in the series, and it's the creepiest. Gilda's best friend, Wendy Choy, is invited to participate in an international piano competition, and Gilda manages to join the group as Wendy's page-turner. Once in Oxford, Wendy is haunted by a strange melody, mysterious tarot cards, and nightmares about a ghostly boy. The girls discover that a previous participant in the program died years ago; could he be haunting Wendy through music? Backstabbing competitors and a grueling practice schedule complicate matters, but rest assured that Gilda will get to the truth while spouting outdated British slang in hilarious fashion and maybe even flirting with a British boy.