The Haunted House Project by Tricia Clasen
I truly loved this book, but I'm going to warn you to get some tissues because it had me close to tears several times.
Thirteen year old Andie's world fell apart the day she lost her mother in a terrible car accident. Paige, her big sister, takes on extra shifts at her waitress job in order to help make ends meet because their father can't hold a job due to his drinking and gambling which he fell into as a way to deal with his grief. The three of them become completely lost without Mom, who was the glue that held the family together.
Then Andie gets an idea to help save her family when she pairs up with the class nerd, Isaiah, for a science project. They decide to study paranormal activity as Andie has always been a fan of ghost stories. Andie decides to convince her family that her mother's ghost is still around watching them and she doesn't like what she sees. Andie starts to see small glimpses of the family she had when her mom was around and she wants more. Meanwhile, her supposed friends start making fun of her for spending time with Isaiah, and she starts to pull away from them. She starts to learn who her true friends are and what's really important to her in life, like saving her family.
The Haunted House Project is full of emotions. The skillful writing of Tricia Clasen allows the reader to experience the pain and grief that accompanies loss as well as how hard it can be to be a middle schooler. As I said before, the story had me close to tears several times and made me angry with several of the adults in the book. The amount of effort Andie puts forth to keep her mother's memory alive not only for herself but her family as well, makes you want to cheer her on but also take her into your arms and just hug her for a long time. The message in this book will teach you to appreciate what you have and remember that your loved ones matter more than anything else in the world.