Ghost Cat (An Apple Paperback)
Like I'd pass up something called 'Ghost Cat'.
Thank you 'Ghost Cat' for justifying my picking up these weird preteen books, because, against all evidence to the contrary, this was pretty good.
After her widowed mother starts getting serious with a new boyfriend, Annabel is sent to stay with her father's relatives on the family farm in Wisconsin. She resents being shuttled off and not being "enough" for her mother the way she had been since her dad died. She doesn't know her relatives at all and so things get to a rocky start as she offends her bully of a cousin (a favorite of her great aunt and uncle) and accidentally dredges up some bad family history.
The mystery of the ghost itself is simple and most authors wouldn't have bothered to flesh out the other aspects of the story, but Butler spends a good amount of time developing Annabel's relationship with her family, the good and the bad. The main story may wrap up nicely, but the complicated family matters don't. A welcome touch of realism in a book that, for all the cover advertises, should have just been about a lonely girl child finding a ghost cat of her very own!