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Ben Y and the Ghost in the Machine The Kids Under the Stairs


Ben Y and the Ghost in the Machine The Kids Under the Stairs

  • ISBN 13:


  • ISBN 10:


  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 08/15/2023
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books

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The second book in the Kids Under the Stairs series is now available in paperback! A heartwarming, laugh-out-loud novel-in-verse that tells an authentic story about friendship, family, and personal identity.

Ben Y’s just about had it with school. Every corner she turns, she’s being called “Benita,” getting Dress Coded by Mr. Mann for some supposedly inappropriate item of clothing, or running into the ineffable, inescapable, indefinable Ace—who makes her feel weird, weirdly seen, and strangely at peace, all at once. Even her best buds—Ben B, Jordan J, and Javier, the kids under the stairs—all seem far too content following the rules and making their school newspaper under the attentive direction of their beloved teacher, Ms. J. 

And home’s no better. Last year, Ben Y’s older brother died, and the family is still very much learning how to cope—if by coping you mean coming home to cry at lunch, or secretly building a friendship bracelet empire, or obsessively visiting a chatroom to talk to Benicio’s ghost. But when Benicio suddenly starts typing back, Ben Y must act—fast, hard, and now. What happens when those actions collide, buried family feelings are exposed, and Ben Y’s own deepest secrets become impossible to hide?

With a lovable cast of characters and full of raw emotion, this novel-in-verse celebrates different types of intelligence and shows how every kid deserves to become their own “divergent” self.

NEW UNDERSTANDING OF IDENTITY: The main character in this book is struggling to figure out how she defines herself, both on the inside and to others. It's a struggle many young readers will recognize from their own experiences.

FRIENDSHIP ISSUES: This book navigates the difficulty of changing friendships, particularly when a new friend joins the group. It's an issue nearly every kid goes through in middle school, and it will ring true with young readers.

POPULAR, TRUSTED AUTHOR: K.A. Holt’s books have been nominated for awards in more than 30 states. She is popular on the school speaking circuit and presents keynote speeches throughout the year all over the world, making her a trusted name and a favorite for middle grade readers.

PERFECT FOR RELUCTANT READERS: Fewer words on each page make this book engaging and approachable for all different types of readers, while the inclusion of chat logs, bullet-pointed lists, newspaper articles, and illustrations make for a dynamic visual reading experience.

CELEBRATES WRITING FOR KIDS: The kids in this story work on their school newspaper, turning their tech skills into something their teachers approve of—and something that allows them to stand up for what they believe in.

Perfect for:
  • Fans and players of Minecraft and video games in general
  • K.A. Holt fans
  • Reluctant readers
  • Readers of poetry and stories in verse
  • Teachers, educators, and librarians
  • Booksellers looking for something funny, lyrical, and markedly different from traditional middle grade novel formats

Author Biography

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