It's 1961, Grady, Oklahoma, population 103. Fifteen-year-old Jacob Leeds lives in a modest house on Hooper Circle. His world includes a wily sister, provincial parents, a grandfather named Woody, and an obsession with superheroes. Peel back one layer, though, and find a very different Hooper Circle--one teeming with lies, a family cover-up, and a secret that will change Jake forever.
The summer of 1961 begins with a teenage initiation rite for Jake, delivered by his best friend, Mikey Savage: "Initiation into Manhood--sleep on bare ground in the old baseball diamond. No sleeping bag, no shoes, no blanket." How difficult could it be?
Pirate songs and funny stories accompany him in the darkness, until he hears the first of the screams. As he approaches the sound, he sees an apparition of a young woman, brutally beaten. He tries to run away, but finds he's running toward her. When Jake tells Mikey the story, he learns the legend of Mary McCann--a murdered Grady girl who to this day haunts the Oklahoma prairie in search of her killer. For Jake, this sighting marks the end of his childhood and the beginning of his quest to find the truth of her story.
"During a beastly-hot Oklahoma summer, on a hard-scrabble farm, Jake Leeds makes the emotional journey from easy boyhood to complicated adolescence when he uncovers a mystery that points to shattered truths and stunning secrets. Lisa Polisar's moving story and elegant prose bring vitality and wonder to an ages-old theme, turning The Ghost of Mary Prairie into a contemporary masterpiece."--Pari Noskin Taichert, two-time Agatha Award finalist