Abandoned by her mother and neglected by her scientist father, timid Elizabeth Murmur has only her fearless friend, Zenobia, for company. And Zenobia’s company can be very trying! When Elizabeth’s father takes them to live in his family home, Witheringe House, Zenobia becomes obsessed with finding a ghost in the creepy old mansion and forces Elizabeth to hold séances and wander the rooms at night. With Zenobia’s constant pushing, Elizabeth investigates the history of the house and learns that it does hold a terrible secret: Her father’s younger sister disappeared from the grounds without a trace years ago.
Elizabeth and Zenobia is a wonderfully compelling middle-grade story about friendship, courage, and the power of the imagination.
"Miller's painstaking crafting of language and attention to atmospheric detail create a clever story where nothing is as it seems."
"Spare, evocative language and direct sentences contribute to the suspenseful pacing...Comical characters, ghost story tropes, and a lively pair of intrepid protagonists help keep this spooky novel from getting too scary, and Brykenskova's faux-naive illustrations contribute."
"...an ideal mix of eerie gothic mysticism and realistic interpersonal dynamics, and fans of Auxier’s chilling The Night Gardener (BCCB 3/16) will find an excellent readalike here, right down to the eerie plant involvement in all that’s going wrong."Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
**STARRED REVIEW**The Horn Book
"A vaguely Victorian setting, the snootily funny exchanges between the title characters, and the frequent references to other, cozier works of literature may lull readers into a false sense of security. Zenobia’s love of Poe gives a better idea of the story’s direction, as do the Gothic-feeling black-and-white illustrations."
"Miller’s novel is spooky and inviting...Give this debut novel to readers looking for an accessible read and a bit of a scare."School Library Journal
"Zenobia’s voice is the best part of this novel. Her macabre sensibility and world view make for a highly entertaining, sometimes hilarious, read."VOYA Magazine
"Bryksenkova’s stark b&w spot illustrations add to the overall creepiness. Readers will be absorbed by Elizabeth and Zenobia’s conversations, the complex and chilling plot, Elizabeth’s transformation from meek to brave—and the mystery of what, exactly, Zenobia is."Publishers Weekly