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Published by Brown Barn Books

My daughter Ming drew this picture of Allie

Eighth grade goes from fun to disaster when Allie’s best friend Marissa dumps her for the popular crowd. In a moment of frustration, Allie flings Marissa’s friendship necklace into the pool, and to her surprise the ghost of Dorothy May, the ancestor she’s been researching for English class appears. Problem is, Dorothy May is as depressed as Allie because she fell off the Mayflower 400 years ago. But is it possible that Dorothy May is exactly who Allie needs to help her fit into eighth grade?

The Origin of the Ghost


The story of The Ghost in Allie’s Pool came from something my mother, an ardent genealogist, told me about Mayflower pilgrim Dorothy May Bradford, who was related

to us through marriage. Mom created many binders full of old photographs, 

newspaper clippings and facts about our ancestors. Once for a class assignment, my daughter used some of my mother’s research, and wrote this account:


“This is a photograph that was taken of my great-grandmother Ruth Sears. When she was a teenager. She was in a club called the Octagon Club with seven of her friends. In this picture, they dressed up as little girls for a party. This is a primary source* because it was taken in 1910 at the time of the party. My great-grandmother is third from the right.”










*Primary sources come from someone who had firsthand knowledge of an event that happened in the past.

My Family Tree


In The Ghost in Allie’s Pool, Allie is descended from Alice Carpenter and William Bradford, the first governor of the Plymouth colony.


My own family tree is slightly different. Although my ancestor is Alice Carpenter,

I am related to her through her son Constant, who she had with her first husband, Edward Southworth. Alice married William Bradford after her first husband died.

“Sari Bodi’s affecting debut novel balances a familiar fictional theme with an inventive historical premise.”

 -Publishers Weekly


 “Just wait until you meet Allie and her mysterious friend in this imaginative, satisfying story. Heart stopping and unusual, I couldn’t put it down. You won’t be able to either.”

 -Patricia Reilly Giff, two-time winner of the Newbery Honor for Lily’s Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Wood


“The novel sheds new light on how learning history can be a delight.”

-ALAN, The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents


“Looking for a good book for reluctant middle school readers? Try The Ghost in Allie’s Pool.”

-The University of Central Florida, College of Education

Reviews for The Ghost in Allie's Pool

Bodi's affecting debut novel balances a familiar fictional theme with an inventive historical premise. When Marissa abandons Allie for two new best friends, Allie muses, "They're beautiful and great lacrosse players. They're also kind of mean. In our school, you can't get any cooler than that." Hurt, Allie throws out her window her half of the best-friends charm she shared with Marissa and it lands in the swimming pool. When she decides to rescue it from the water, she hears a voice imploring her not to jump. She looks up to find Dorothy May, who jumped off the Mayflower to her death because her husband, William Bradford, did not love her. She tells Allie, who is descended from Bradford and his second wife, "I am a friend come to be of assistance to thee." Through her research for a family-tree project and her conversations with Dorothy (who reappears repeatedly, each time summoned by an image of water), Allie learns a great deal about the harrowing crossing of the Mayflower, about 17th-century life and about the anguish and desperation of Dorothy, who was forced to leave her young son behind in England. Dorothy also provides Allie with friendship that she desperately needs, particularly when she discovers just how mean Marissa's new friends can be. Allie's crisp narrative lends credibility to both strains of plot, each of which comes to a satisfying conclusion. An intriguing postscript: Bodi is a descendant of Bradford's second wife and her first husband. Ages 10-up.

Adolescent Novels Teachers Should Know About

The Ghost in Allie’s Pool by Sari Bodi (Brown Barn Books)

Looking for a good book for reluctant middle school readers? Try The Ghost in Allie’s Pool. Eighth grader Allie Toth has no interest in history. Things change, though, when Allie meets a ghost - yes, a ghost - one Dorothy May Bradford, a true-life person who in 1620, along with her husband, William, the future governor of Plymouth colony, sailed on the Mayflower. Turns out this ghostly historical figure – the very one Allie’s eighth grade teacher wants her to research – is just the person to help her cope with the daily ups and downs of a confused and lonely eighth grader.

Bill’s Best Books

Content with life-long friend Marissa, Allie Toth has no interest in her mother’s obsession with family history. That is until while working on a class project, Allie stumbles upon the ghost of Dorothy May, a true-life person who reportedly committed suicide by jumping into the icy waters from the Mayflower. Dorothy only wants to find her son who she was forced to leave behind when she and her husband boarded ship and headed off to the New World.

Allie is torn between helping Dorothy find peace and struggling to regain favor in Marissa’s eyes after the latter dumps her for new friends who may not be good for her. Events climax at a party, when these new friends endanger Allie’s safety and Marissa does nothing to help. Allie learns the hard way that life isn’t about having just one friend. But before she starts anew she must learn to like herself. The novel sheds new light on how learning history can be a delight. (M, RR)

-Review by Linda Provence.

For as long as Allie could remember, she has been at her best friend, Marissa's side. But 8th grade is here. Soon Allie finds that she is becoming farther and farther from Marissa. While at the same time, coming closer to her Pilgrim Ancestry. When Dorothy May (the wife of her great- great-great-great grandfather who jumped overboard), appears at Allie's side, Allie and Dorothy become friends. 8th Grade is hard, what with bullies, no best friend, and a wacky teacher. But Allie finds her way through it all with just a little help from Dorothy. She may even find a potential boyfriend!

This book is really good! I really enjoyed the fact that the author portrayed what really happens in Junior High. No one really knows for sure what it's like losing a best friend. But it all worked out in the end. Even if there were a few rough bumps in the road. It was also very interesting to see how the Pilgrims were tied into the story. You get a bit of history and modern 8th graders all at the same time. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a bit of history, and life lessons.

-Flamingnet Student Book Reviewer  JRam, age 12, llinois U.S.A

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