Sunday, August 26, 2012

Middle Grade Monday-- Local Legends

The Ghost of GraylockPoblocki, Dan. The Ghost of Graylock.
1 August 2012
Reviewed at Young Adult Books Central

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.

Missing on Superstition Mountain (Missing on Superstition Mountain, #1)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.

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts. Both sites have lots of links to reviews about books that are great for the 4th through 8th grade range.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Good to review these two together. They both sound creepy but good. Thanks for sharing about them

Freya Morris said...

I like the sound of that first one!

Katya said...

Those both sound creepy. Good books to keep in mind when kids come in looking for a scary read.

Lorna Wheaton said...

Missing on Superstition Mountain has caught my eye before . . . I need to check it out!

Barbara Watson said...

You have knowledge of books I've never heard about--wish you were *my* librarian! :-)

Tara said...

As Katya said, creepy books - which will be much enjoyed by my sixth graders. Thanks for sharing!

Kellee Moye said...

I love Elise Broach's Shakespeare's Secret, but haven't read anything else by her- this one sounds intriguing.

Happy reading this week! :)

DMS said...

Oooohh- I love the cover of The Ghost of Graylock and it sounds like a good book. I am sure kids will be grabbing it off the shelves. I am curious if they will figure out whodunnit. :)

The second book also looks good!

Deb Marshall said...

Will check out both of these. Really like the sound of the bad about the smallish print. MIght be a good October bookclub pick,though.

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