Rules for Ghosting

Rules for Ghosting

A Novel

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August 20, 2024 | ISBN 9780593948118

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About the Book

To save his family's failing funeral home—and his own chance at a queer love story—a reluctant clairvoyant must embrace the gift he long ignored in this poignant and tender debut.

“Part romance, part ghost story, part Jewish family epic, Rules for Ghosting is a meditation on life, death, and healing that is at turns bitingly funny and deeply moving. Shelly Jay Shore is an immense talent.”—Anita Kelly, author of Love & Other Disasters

Ezra Friedman sees ghosts, which made growing up in a funeral home complicated. It might have been easier if his grandfather’s ghost didn’t give him scathing looks of disapproval as he went through a second, HRT-induced puberty, or if he didn’t have the pressure of all those relatives—living and dead—judging every choice he makes. It’s no wonder that Ezra runs as far away from the family business as humanly possible.

But when the floor of his dream job drops out from under him and his mother uses the family Passover seder to tell everyone she’s running off with the rabbi’s wife, Ezra finds himself back in the thick of it. With his parents’ marriage imploding and the Friedman Family Memorial Chapel on the brink of financial ruin, Ezra agrees to step into his mother’s shoes and help out . . . which means long days surrounded by ghosts that no one else can see.

And then there’s his unfortunate crush on Jonathan, the handsome funeral home volunteer . . . who just happens to live downstairs from Ezra’s new apartment . . . and the appearance of the ghost of Jonathan’s gone-too-soon husband, Ben, who is breaking every spectral rule that Ezra knows.

Because Ben can speak. He can move. And as Ezra tries to keep his family together and his heart from getting broken, he realizes that there’s more than one way to be haunted—and more than one way to become a ghost.
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Praise for Rules for Ghosting

“A tender, heart-filled novel, Rules for Ghosting is a beautiful story about identity, family, faith, community, and first love. . . . A breathtaking debut.”—Ashley Herring Blake, author of Delilah Green Doesn’t Care

Rules for Ghosting has everything: a family funeral home and a main character who can see ghosts, an adorable pit bull named Sappho, a mother coming out at seder dinner, a trans love story, a fiery climax that brings everything to a head, humor, heart, and so much more. It’s about finding your place in the world, in your family, in partnership and, finally, within yourself. It was a joy to read, and I can't wait to see what’s next from Shelly Jay Shore.”—Celia Laskey, author of So Happy for You

“Fully immersive from the first page, Shore’s writing grabbed me by the throat and never let go. Part ghost story, part Jewish family epic, part romance, Rules for Ghosting is a meditation on life, death, and healing, told through a queer and trans lens that is at turns bitingly funny and deeply moving. Shore is an immense talent. Ezra’s world will live in my heart for a long time.”—Anita Kelly, author of Love & Other Disasters

“As unabashedly queer as it is loudly and beautifully Jewish, Rules for Ghosting is one of the most unique, poignant novels I’ve read in a long, long time. Ezra’s journey through self, complicated family dynamics, and opening up to new love was one I’ll never forget. Throw in a looming ghost or two and this book truly has it all.”—Carlyn Greenwald, author of Sizzle Reel

“A movingly wrought story about the ways queerness, Jewishness, grief, and joy intersect in messy, painful, and beautiful ways.”—Lev AC Rosen, author of Lavender House

Rules for Ghosting is the kind of book you want to live in. This gorgeous debut marvels at new life and does not shy away from life lost. It cracks open the meaning of the word ‘haunting’—whether that be of discarded identity, hidden yearning, or literal ghosts. Best of all, Shelly Jay Shore has written the soft-Jewish-trans-boy-who-sees-dead-people of our literary dreams. I’d read a million pages about Ezra Friedman and still be left wanting more.”—Haley Jakobson, author of Old Enough

Rules for Ghosting is fun as hell. It’s giving TJ Klune, but instead of supernatural children we’ve got dead people. Same sexy queer longing, though (and honestly, also some supernatural children). I’m sure you can even read it if you aren’t trans, but I don’t even care to think of the cis people right now. Because this is fun and it’s for me.”—A. E. Osworth, author of We Are Watching Eliza Bright
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About the Author

Shelly Jay Shore
Shelly Jay Shore is a writer, digital strategist, and nonprofit fundraiser. Her writing on queer Jewish identity has been published by Autostraddle, Hey Alma, and the Bisexual Resource Center. She lives in New York with her partner, where she attempts to wrangle two large dogs and two small children. Rules for Ghosting is her debut novel. More by Shelly Jay Shore
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