Rose and the Silver Ghost by Holly Webb. Sourcebooks Jaberwocky, 2015. Originally published in the UK by Orchard Books, 2011.
In this last book, Rose and Mr. Fountain are now home from Venice, bringing with them the elderly Miss Fell. Miss Fell is both encouraging and intimidating to Rose, as she has very high expectations for her and expects her to behave like the well-bred lady Rose is quite sure she isn’t and never will be. She has quite the identity crisis when Miss Fell insists that being a magician’s apprentice is quite enough work, and that Rose must stop her work as a maid. But then, Miss Fell’s special mirror turns out to be haunted by a ghost with knowledge of Rose’s mother… and suddenly, the Rose who’d given up on imagining a family for herself as a fairy tale would do anything to find out just who her parents are and what happened to them.
This is one of my most-recommended series of late, particularly to young fantasy readers who come in having already read all of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and (with a gulp on my part, in the case of an eight-year-old I recently helped), Hunger Games. (I am also recommending Jinx and Kat, Incorrigible, among others, but they seem rarely on the shelves these days, which is a happy thing, really.) There’s plenty of action and suspense here – the characters don’t feel safe, but very few actually die – and good character development. This is just what I’m looking for in addictive middle grade fantasy series, and the book in particular is a satisfying end to the series.