The Ghosts of Spiritwood by Martine Noël-Maw Review

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A group of teens caught in a storm after an accident stumble upon something strange and unexplainable in an abandoned school in the woods in author Martine Noël-Maw’s “The Ghosts of Spiritwood”.


The Synopsis

The first English edition of the popular young adult novel Les fantômes de Spiritwood, originally published in French by Éditions de la nouvelle plume, translated by the author

One summer night, Ethan and four friends are heading north of Spiritwood, Saskatchewan, for a weekend of camping to watch the northern lights, but their car swerves off the road and ends up in the ditch. The teenagers head back to Spiritwood on foot, but a severe thunderstorm strikes before they reach the town, forcing them to break into an abandoned country school to take shelter. After exchanging scary stories for a while, they fall asleep. When they wake a few hours later, the storm is over and the sky is filled with bright-coloured northern lights.

Ethan recounts the legend of the northern lights. “Those lights are produced by the spirits of the departed. It’s a sign that they want to communicate with the living. To establish contact, we just have to whistle at them.” Then, Ethan produces a spirit whistle that he had bought at Wanuskewin, and he starts to whistle at the sky.

Moments later, weird things begin to happen…

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The Review

This was a gripping and fast-paced paranormal YA thriller. The author did an amazing job of balancing the rich story of the novel with captivating character development. The lightheartedness of the character’s interactions with one another blended with the heartfelt and emotional beats of the story and the suspenseful nature of the mystery the teens stumble across at the abandoned school made this a compelling read.

Yet for me, the themes the author explores in this book were quietly profound in their delivery. The way author explored everything from how people process death and our perceptions of what “ghosts” can be, to the way people themselves can become “haunted” in life by their actions or their mistakes, becoming ghosts to the people in their life. The profound depth that these themes struck in the reader elevated the narrative to all new heights.

The Verdict

Entertaining, thrilling, and captivating, author Martine Noël-Maw’s “The Ghosts of Spiritwood” is a must-read YA paranormal thriller. The twists and turns in the narrative and the emotional finale of these teens and their adventure with the dead will not only stay with the reader long after the book is finished but will leave readers eager for more from the author in what could be a series of narratives exploring the paranormal. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Born and raised in Québec, Martine Noël-Maw has called Saskatchewan home since 1993. A French literature graduate from the Université de Montréal, she has authored sixteen books and a number of plays for both adults and youth. Her work has earned her many honours, including two Saskatchewan Book Awards and a SATAward. She was longlisted for the Prix de la nouvelle Radio-Canada (French CBC Short Story Prize) and shortlisted for the Prix du récit Radio-Canada (French CBC Nonfiction Prize). Martine is also an editor, publisher, and translator. Find her online at


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