Iris just couldn’t help it. The snow was white, crisp, and inviting. Besides, what harm could making one little snow angel do? A lot, it turns out. In making that snow angel, she accidentally unearths the forgotten grave of Avery Moore, and suddenly Iris starts seeing a little girl, eyes as black as the void. This little girl wants nothing more than to be remembered, but it turns out that her version of remembered is a little different than everyone else’s.
The Forgotten Girl follows 11-year-old Iris and her best friend Daniel as they try to find the truth about the abandoned graveyard across the street. What they find out is definitely not what anyone could have expected, and leads them to uncover a tale of regret, danger, and segregation in both life and death. They’re determined to restore the graveyard and have the proper respect afforded to everyone buried there, but a vengeful and possessive ghost has different ideas for them. She wants a friend, and is willing to do whatever she has to so that Iris will stay with her – forever.
India Hill Brown has created a perfect blend of creepy, suspenseful, and intriguing. She seamlessly integrated a narrative of racism and segregation into a thrillingly spooky ghost story, making the social issues every bit as important as any vengeful spirit. Iris wants to be recognized as captain of the step team, but her white classmates keep pushing her to the sidelines, while they get the front page photos and television spots. It’s a story that closely mirrors that of Avery Moore, who helped desegregate the local middle school, but was reduced to a footnote and buried in a throwaway cemetary.
Beyond the spirits and spooks, this is a tale of love, friendship, and family. It’s a story of righting past wrongs, and appreciating your family, no matter how much they might get on your nerves. It tells the unfortunately all-too-common narrative of minorities being marginalized and forgotten in a way that tugs at your heartstrings.
Iris is an extremely relatable character. Brown does an excellent job with giving her typical issues that can help connect the readers to what is going on in the book. She puts a face to the victims of bias and racism, making it more emotionally impactful when these issues are brought up.
All things considered, I would give this book a 10/10 for the engaging narrative, emotional descriptions, and poignant message. This is definitely something younger children should read, as it provides a narrative introduction to real-world issues and how they affect real-world people. It’s also a good book for people as old as 14, so I would recommend this book for ages 8-14. The Forgotten Girl goes on sale November 5, 2019, and is absolutely worth a read.