Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega

by Megan Northcote

Looking for a light-hearted, spooky read this fall? Claribel Ortega’s debut novel, Ghost Squad, is a perfect choice for preteens.

Drawing from the author’s Dominican heritage, this action-packed novel is filled with cultural flavor. Lucely Luna has a deep love for family, particularly her father, whose ghost tour business is on the rocks, and her deceased relatives who live as fireflies (or cocuyos) in her backyard and morph into humans when she needs them most. When she learns from one of these cocuyos, Mama Teresa, that an evil force is descending upon St. Augustine, Lucely forms a “ghost squad” with her best friend Syd and Syd’s grandmother, Babette, a witch and occult store owner. But Syd's and Lucely’s first ghost spell goes wrong, releasing even more evil spirits! With the Halloween Festival quickly approaching, will the ghost squad have enough time and witchy superpowers to save Lucely’s hometown, her father’s business, and her firefly relatives whose lights are fading fast?

Creepy catacombs, fun-loving cats, and enchanted books are just a few of the elements readers will encounter in this page-turning mystery. Check out the author’s website,, for a plethora of teaching resources, including a Spanish glossary, launch party video, discussion guides, and more. 

For more preteen mysteries with a cultural flair, try:

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier 

Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh 

Mañanaland by Pam Munoz Ryan