For three 12-year-old ghost hunters, family can be scarier than ghosts

In 1958 Pineville, Kentucky, young Chopper Sweeney sees a ghost in his bedroom, kicking off a summer of supernatural investigations. But while Chopper and his friends root through haunted houses and chase down mysterious dogs, they're dealing with their own losses and pain.

After the death of his police officer father, Chopper, the narrator of Sara Turner's webcomic The Ghosts of Pineville, is the new "man of the house" among his mother and three sisters, a role he's not sure he's prepared for. He spends most of his summer hanging out with his best friend, Hank, doing his paper route, and watching scary movies. Pineville is a place where kids stay out late, trying to spook each other with ghost stories. Chopper doesn't believe in ghosts—at least not until one shows up in his bedroom, asking for his help.

Chopper and Hank recruit Glory, Chopper's tomboy neighbor, and the three of them become a crack ghost investigation team. But Turner never forgets that Pineville is filled with living, breathing people aside from our trio, among them Glory's abrasively protective older brother J.T. and Chopper's sister Doris, who thinks that ghost hunting is a healthy outlet for kids who have very real sadness in their lives.

The Ghosts of Pineville has the feel of a very classic coming-of-age story, one with independent children feeling the first flashes of the larger, stranger world. Currently, Turner has two complete Pineville stories up, with a third due in 2014. But the first two stories feel very complete by themselves, a movie's worth of story that brings our heroes from kids playing ghost hunter to three individuals learning about themselves and their own power.

[The Ghosts of Pineville]