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Young Adult Fiction Mysteries & Detective Stories

Why Are You Still Here?

A Lillian Mystery

by (author) Lynda Partridge

Durvile Publications
Initial publish date
Dec 2022
Mysteries & Detective Stories, Ghost Stories, Aboriginal & Indigenous
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 7 to 11
  • Grade: 2 to 6


Why Are You Still Here? is from the author of the award-winning Lillian & Kokomis. In this new book in the Lillian mystery series, Lillian discovers her connection with a surprising spirit that returns her to traditional ways, legends, and Indigenous ways of knowledge. She and her buddies also uncover the mystery of ghosts and spirits that live behind a window at the family farm.

About the author

Lynda Partridge is a member of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation. She grew up in the child welfare system and spent her childhood in numerous non-Indigenous foster homes. At a later age, she obtained an Honours Bachelor of Social Work (Native Human Services), followed by a Masters of Social Work Degree. It was while obtaining her undergraduate degree that she found her birth family and reconnected to her Indigenous culture. This experience led her to the field of Indigenous child welfare.

Lynda Partridge's profile page

Excerpt: Why Are You Still Here?: A Lillian Mystery (by (author) Lynda Partridge)

Chapter 1


Grace swore there was a window in that darn old barn. Every time she looked through her cousin Chloe’s old camera she saw a window. When she looked with just her eyes she didn’t.

“There’s nothing on the lens,” she muttered, “and it’s not on a weird setting.” She handed the camera back to Chloe. “Look again, do you still see it?” she asked

“Holy crap. Yep, I see it too. That’s just too weird.”

They passed the camera back and forth, both trying to figure out how there was a light coming from a window that didn’t exist in the old barn. They stared at the barn trying to see it with just their eyes, but all they saw was the dark barn board against the slowly darkening sky. They passed the camera back and forth a few more times. They looked at the barn from different angles just in case the light was reflecting somehow from the ground or the pond, or from anywhere, really.

“Your camera is awfully beat up,” Grace mused. “Maybe there’s something on the lens?”

When Grace asked Chloe where she had gotten the camera, Chloe had to stop and think for a minute. She remembered that she had found it while playing around in the old part of the barn that had once been an office for her family’s chicken business.

“I found it on a shelf buried under a bunch of old empty egg cartons,” said Chloe. They both looked over the camera again. It wasn’t dirty and didn’t have any cracks or anything. It looked like one of the very first digital cameras ever made. Grace pulled out her phone and used the camera setting to look at the barn instead. Nope. There was no window that time. They were starting to get goose bumps.

“Let’s go in the house,” Grace said, “and don’t tell your mom about this. She’ll think we’re both eating too much sugar again. She thinks it warps our mind.”

Chloe nodded and shoved the old camera into her knapsack to hide it.

Grace loved her Aunt Bernie, Chloe’s mom, but Aunt Bernie could be a real pain when it came to excessive anything and that included video games, movies, and candy. They really didn’t want to lose their treats for the summer. Grace loved her Uncle Leroy too, who was her mom Sandra’s brother, even though Uncle Leroy seemed more distracted and sad every summer she saw him.


It was nice and warm when they went inside. Grace thought her cousin was so lucky to live on a big ol’ farm. Her house was what was called a Heritage House. The plaque on the house said it was from 1853 but Uncle Leroy said it was probably at least ten years older than that. A Heritage House meant that they couldn’t do anything to change the way the outside of the house looked. Grace couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to. It was a huge two-story stone house with big wooden doors and old wooden floors that creaked, and had not just one, but two staircases that lead upstairs. Grace and Chloe’s bedroom took up the back part of the upper floor. The rickety old staircase from the kitchen went straight up into their room. There was a smaller room as well that was Chloe’s little brother Wally’s room. Mostly they just ignored him. After all, they were almost twelve and he was only eight and a royal pain in the behind as far as they were concerned.

They raced by Grace’s Aunt Bernie, Chloe’s mom, and ran up the rickety stairs to Chloe’s room that was also Grace’s room in the summertime. It had a big bay window that faced out from the back of the house and stared straight at that barn wall where they saw the window that didn’t really exist. From that vantage point they could also see the pond and the wharf at the edge of the meadow. They stared with bare eyes at the barn through the bay window, thinking this new angle might make a difference.

“Holy catfish,” said Grace in amazement. “I don’t see the window from here either.” She turned to Chloe and asked, “How about you?”

“Me neither,” whispered Chloe, totally stunned.

“’K, Chloe, give me the camera and let me look through it again.” Grace felt tingles up her back and neck and across her arms. “Oh man, you’re not going to believe this, Chloe. It’s there again. The window and the light.” She handed the camera back to Chloe.

“Okay. I’m weirding out,” she said. “I see it again too. I’m gonna take some pictures and see what happens.” Chloe took five pictures. When they looked at the pictures there was a fuzzy white spot in the picture but nothing like a window. They couldn’t really tell what it was.

“Grace, what are we going to do?” asked Chloe.

“I don’t know,” Grace replied. “But let’s not tell your mom yet till we figure this out. I don’t want her to cut us off sweets all summer.”



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