Thursday, August 31, 2017

What Waits in the Water

34229824Scott, Kieran. What Waits in the Water
August 29th 2017 by Point
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Hannha is excited to spend some time at her best friend Jacob's lake house. She's been crushing on him forever, so finding out that he likes her annoying new step sister Katie is crushing, but she figures she can make it work out. Hannah is a great swimmer, but when she is out in the lake, she is sure that she feels hands trying to pull her under the water and drown her. There are rumors that the lake is haunted by the spirit of a girl who committed suicide there, but most of her friends discount her worries. She finds that local boy Collin has an interest in her, but when one of their group gets dragged into the water and doesn't surface, things go bad quickly, and soon Hannah is fighting for her life.
Strengths: The title is AWESOME, and the cover very atmospheric. This is the sort of book my readers frequently reques. (Oddly, murder mysteries but not books about children grieving dead relatives. I blame CSI-type shows.) This read very much like an R.L. Stine Fear Street book, although the chapters didn't end with the suspenseful twists that the Stine ones do. (Everyone's dead. Oh, wait. It was just a trick of the light.)
Weaknesses: A lot of romance and friend drama, as well as the step sister issues. This gets the book off to a slow start. Scott knows her audience, though-- I'd say a good 15 girls in my 8th grade adore this sort of book.
What I really think: Will buy a copy for my creepy mystery fans, but it wasn't my favorite Scott title. Won't see a lot of heavy use, but will last a long time!

French, Gillian. The Door to January
September 5th 2017 by Islandport Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Natalie moved from her hometown in Maine after an incident where one of her friends was shot, but no one could prove who did the shooting. She comes back for the summer to help her aunt out at her cafe, and also to investigate the nightmares that she is having. Her cousin Todd goes with her to a creepy house that is the setting of these dreams, and the two actually catch some "ghost" conversation on a voice recorder. More than that, Natalie gets sucked into the past and witnesses atrocities that happened to three young girls in the 1940s. She somehow feels that the girls want her to avenge their deaths, but she is in even more danger from the group of friends from the shooting incident. While one of them, Lowell, seems to have grown up, several of them are even more dysfunctional and scary. Will Natalie be able to figure out both the historical and current mysteries?
Strengths: I liked how the older and more current mysteries were presented together, and how one of them involved ghosts and the other involved friend drama. I would definitely buy this for a high school collection.
Weaknesses: Too much human-on-human violence. Girls are kidnapped, kept captive, and killed.
What I really think: I don't think I will buy this one. The kidnapping scenes were a bit much for middle school students.

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