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Question: Read in 2003 or earlier - School class gets lost in a forest during a storm - one of the characters is a boy who sees ghosts, including the one of his mother

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Asked by sweetgums on Wed 30, Aug 2017 10:24am :
So I read this book when I was still in elementary school, no older than 12
years old, meaning this book couldn't have been published after 2003.
Sadly, I cannot recall anything about the title or author, only that the
cover, if I remember correctly, featured a boy with a lady ghost on his
left side, with black and white colors.

So the story is about a school class that somehow ends up lost in a forest
during a bad storm, I believe they were all in a school bus for a trip but
it crashed. As far as I recall, no one died, but everyone ended up being
separated. The story is linear but there are a some flashblacks we get to
see while the characters are lost in the woods.

Speaking of characters, these are the people I recall:

1. A boy whose mother died and the text implies he can see ghosts,
including the ghost of his mother; he might have been the protagonist, but
I don't think the book narrated from his point of view often, if at all.
2. Another boy called Alvin (or at least I think it was Alvin, I distinctly
remember being distracted by his name because I always thought of Alvin and
the chipmunks, so it's either that or Theodore or Simon) who was implied to
be involved with some shady business people. He had a briefcase that he
carried around, though we never get to know what the contents are. If I
recall correctly, he owed money (or something else) to these said shady
people, and two men in suits are after him and manage to find him while
he's lost in the woods.
3. The suits, the two men (might have been more though, but I'm nearly
certain it was two) that are going after Alvin. The impression I got is
that they were trying to kill him.
5. The class teacher, who was a woman.
4. An unnamed boy and girl who were part of the class.

And these are the scenes that I remember involving said characters.

1. The class teacher has a flashback while she's lost about the boy who can
see ghosts, she recalls a poem that they wrote on class, and how reading
the poem of this one kid worried the teacher because it either implied that
he could see ghosts, or that he wanted to die following the death of his
mother, or both.
2. The unnamed boy and girl are 'regular' kids who were friends, might have
been love interests too, and while lost they have a scene where they
reunite and fiercely embrace each other under the rain, I remember thinking
the description was very heavy with emotions, even a little dramatic (in a
good way though).
3. Towards the end of the book, Alvin is found by the two suits, and have
him cornered under an old/abandoned tunnel. Either that or Alvin tricks
them into thinking he went to the tunnel while he hid. Either way, the
suits end up meeting with the boy who sees ghosts instead, threaten him,
but the ghost of his mom appears and I believe it was implied the ghost got
rid of the men, or at least that's how I understood it.
4. The next morning (I believe they were lost during nighttime) the whole
class reunites, Alvin made it out safe; I remember a classmate asks about
his briefcase he always carried around (cause he was so defensive about it)
saying he was leaving it behind, but Alvin replies that he doesn't need it
anymore. I believe the text also implied that the boy who can see ghosts no
longer can see his mother after the tunnel incident, but gets closure
somehow as a result.

That's all I can recall... I believe the book was illustrated too, with
some pictures (black and white too) every chapter or so, but here's the
catch. I'm from a Spanish-speaking country, so I'm not certain if what I
read was a book originally written in Spanish, or a book that was
translated from English to Spanish. Given that the Alvin name is not a
common one in my language, I'm leaning towards it originally being in
English, but I'm not 100% sure.

I hope all this helps, this book has been haunting me for years and I just
want to get closure somehow haha.
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