RULES FOR GHOSTING combines the humor, fraught-but-loving family dynamics, and obsession with death seen in books like Mostly Dead Things, One Last Stop, and Fun Home. It is the gay, Jewish, Six Feet Under we’ve all been waiting for.
RULES FOR GHOSTING
by Shelly Jay Shore
Ballantine, Summer 2024
(via Frances Goldin Literary)
Twenty-eight-year-old Ezra Friedman is only a little bit clairvoyant, but enough to make growing up in a funeral home miserable. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if his Zayde’s ghost didn’t keep giving him this look of betrayal and disapproval as he went through an HRT-induced second puberty, or if the dead’s hands weren’t so cold. But, it’s no wonder that Ezra would want to get as far away as possible from the family business.
With his parents’ marriage imploding, Ezra finds himself pulled back into the effort to help save the Friedman Family Memorial Chapel from financial ruin. That means long days of puzzling out his mom’s cryptic filing systems while surrounded by the ghosts no one else can see, while balancing his role as referee between the warring factions of his family. Add in his unfortunate crush on the cute funeral home volunteer who just happens to live downstairs from where Ezra and his ex are now living together as friends, and the new ghost who keeps breaking every spectral rule Ezra’s managed to figure out about the dead, and Ezra’s more than ready to make another run for the hills.
The more Ezra learns about the tangled web of secrets that haunt the Chapel’s halls, the harder it is to maintain the distance that (he thought) kept him sane. As the pressure mounts to figure out how to keep the funeral home from being snapped up by a corporate “body farm”, Ezra is forced to do something he never thought possible.
Shelly Jay Shore (she/they) is a writer, digital strategist, and nonprofit fundraiser. Their writing on queer Jewish identity has been published by Autostraddle, Alma, and the Bi Resource Center. RULES FOR GHOSTING is her debut novel.