A ghost is a kind of time traveller, don't you think? And if you travel back in time and play with someone who you meet there, then that makes you the ghost. And if the playmate comes forward into your own time, that makes her the ghost. Of course, if you meet the ghost on the beach, or among the sand dunes, it might be quite difficult to decide which of you is the real ghost:
This is a dream, thought Anna. I'm imagining her, so it doesn't matter if I don't say anything. And she went on staring and staring as if she were looking at a ghost. But the strange girl was looking at her in the same way.
"Are you real?" Anna whispered at last.
"Yes, are you?"
They laughed and touched each other to make sure. Yes, the girl was real, her dress was made of a light, silky stuff, and her arm, where Anna touched it, was warm and firm.
Apparently the girl, too, had accepted Anna's reality.
"Your hand's sticky," she said, rubbing her own down the side of her dress. "It doesn't matter, but it is."
I think it might be easy to feel lonely in the desolate landscape of the quiet Norfolk coast. There are acres of spreading salt marsh and sand dunes and marram grass, and a whistling wind over all.
Both Anna and Marnie live rather lonely lives, so it is a huge adventure for them both to share a secret friendship. Anna, you see, does not have any real family of her own, and although Marnie does have a family, she is neglected.
Marnie is Anna's first real friend, so perhaps we can understand how let down she feels when Marnie goes away suddenly. But because she has now had some practice at making friends, Anna is better able to play with the Lindsay children, when she finally meets the new family at The Marsh House.
This is a lovely story. I'm still not sure whether it is a ghost story, or a time travel story, or simply a trick of an imaginative memory? See what you think. I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
Mia, girl, age 15, from Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, Tohoku, Japan, on 29th June 2008. Rating:
I felt very happy when I read "When Marnie was there" first. Because its story cured my heart which was tired. I am not good at communicating my feelings and always feel "I`m different from others". So I understood Anna. At last,Anna realize that she is not only one and can accept other thanks to Marnie. And Manie also cuted wounds was owing to her lonely childhood. In Japanese the story named "Omoide-no-Marnie",mean "Manie is in my memories"...? Japanese is difficult for japanese like me. So it may improper. But the title called "Omoideno..." is imaged by us tender atmosphere.
Ken, boy, age 44, from Victoria, Australia, on 4th October 2007. Rating: 10/10
This ranks among my favorite books of all time. I was probably around 13 or 14 when my mother handed it to me and said I'd probably enjoy it as I was into time travel stories. I did. Many years later I was able to locate another copy and frequently re-read it. My understanding of the story has changed somewhat, and I now see no time-travel, or as some put it "supernatural" element to the story, but rather a lonely girl's trip through her own emotionally damaged mind and its scrambled memories, and into freedom and peace beyond. Well worth reading, and re-reading.
Lizzi, girl, age 46, from Kent, United Kingdom, on 4th July 2007. Rating: 10/10
I read this book when I was about 10/11 and had moved house where there was an old gypsy caravan in one of the fields and used to imagine I was Marnie. I was mesmorised by this book and want to purchase the issue with the blonde haired girl on the front cover. I now have a daughter with blonde hair and would love her to read the story too.The story was more thought provoking than any of the other stories I had read and will always remember reading it in the school holidays.
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If you like the rather strange mixture of ghosts and time travel, you could look at this one by Philippa Pearce:
For a slightly older reader, Melvin Burgess has written a brilliant time travel story which I thoroughly recommend: