Neil and Bree are living in a small town with their aunts while their father is off finding himself as an actor and their mother is in a hospital recuperating from depression. Things are not much fun until Neil meets Wesley and finds out about the abandoned asylum near town, Graylock Hall. There are all sorts of horrible local tales about it; three children died horrible deaths by drowning in a pond near the facility. Local children all have hear tales about Nurse Janet, who is implicated in these. Neil and Bree have a weird experience when they venture into the hospital with Wesley and his older brother (whom Bree rather likes); in one of the rooms, they feel unable to move, the flashlight batteries die, and they are scared and injured. A friend of their aunts', Andy, picks them up and takes them to the local doctor, warning them never to go near the hospital again. They don't need to be at the hospital to be haunted by the ghost of Rebecca, however-- she invades their dreams, showing them how she died and insisting on help. Neil and Bree find out some things about her-- she was a good student until her mother was killed in an accident, and then she descended into mental illness. Soon, they uncover the real circumstances, which put them in peril.
Strengths: Creepy stuff! Poblocki does such excellent horror, and the covers are just right. Should have ordered two copies! This will never be on the shelf.
Weaknesses: The print is somewhat small, and I knew about halfway through the book who the killer was. I wonder if students will guess so quickly.
Broach, Elise. Missing on Superstition Mountain.
21 June 2011
When you move, you've got to be careful about local creepy legends! Simon, Henry and Jack move to Arizona to take over their eccentric uncle's home and business, and are rather bored. Their cat Josie escapes and runs up into Superstition Mountain, and when they follow, they find three skulls! Josie eventually shows up at Delilah's house, and the four start investigating. They uncover years and years of accidental deaths in the mountains, including three teeage boys who disappeared in the 1950s. With the help of a local library (and a creepy-for-no-good-reason librarian; maybe the next book will have more), they find out some information about the Lost Dutchman's Mine, get in trouble for lying to their parents, and get ready for another adventure-- Treasure on Superstition Mountain comes out 5 February 2013.
Strengths: Good local color, wilderness adventure as well as mystery, engagin characters, capable writing-- a solid middle grade novel.
Weaknesses: There seemed to be a lot of loose ends, and sometimes the inclusion of Delilah, as well as the youngest brother (who was in first grade) seemed forced.
Because this blog is aimed at librarians and patrons of school libraries, I will not review books that are published solely in e-book formats or that are self published. Books should be available in hardcover or library binding through library suppliers such as Baker and Taylor or Follett. Books should fall within the target demographics of this blog.