Jane-Emily, by Patricia Clapp
A homeschooling cyber-friend of mine recommended Jane-Emily to me a few weeks ago. I missed out on this book as a kid, but I would have loved it! OK, I did enjoy it as an old grownup too. I gave it to my daughter and she thought it was great.
Louisa takes her young orphaned cousin Jane to spend the summer in the country at grandmother's house, but Jane becomes unnaturally preoccupied with Emily, a young girl who died years ago. Emily was both frighteningly demanding and spoiled by her over-fond father, and she still wants what she wants. It's a good spooky ghost story that is just the right level of scary.
One particular element of the story caught my attention; none of the characters really keep secrets from each other. At no point does anyone think "I'm not going to tell the others about this because [insert silly reason here]." Keeping secrets for no reason other than to keep the plot going is so endemic to thrillers that not doing it struck me as original and refreshing!
The friend who recommended this book to me is a writer herself, and used to publish a wonderful magazine called Secular Homeschooling. Her most famous piece is The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List (warning: she may be a little bitter), and you should definitely read some of her things at the website! You can do that by clicking individual issues--each one has a couple of free articles.