Thursday, October 05, 2017

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street

27395333Currie, Lindsay. The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street
October 10th 2017 by Aladdin
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Tessa's family moves from Florida to an older home in Chicago so her father can accept a position in the symphony. Tessa misses her best friend, and strange things keep happening-- lights flicker, doors slam, and her little brother's super creepy ventriloquists dummy, Reno, appears to be crying! Her mother blames it all on the older home and the stress of moving. Tessa is glad to get outside, and enjoys North Pond, where she meets a neighbor, Andrew. She discusses the oddities with him, and with his friend Nina, they investigate. Clues lead them to nearby Graceland Cemetery, and they  begin to suspect that the ghost who is haunting them is a little girl named Inez Clarke, who is said to have died either of a lightning strike or diphtheria. Small sketches appear with Tessa's drawings with the initials "IB", a small, musty box of mementos is retrieved from a crawl space, and the children use local history resources to unravel the mystery and free the ghost.
Strengths: I definitely liked Tessa, and thought that she handled the move better than other fictional characters! She reaches out to children she meets in order to make friends, and even asks her parents for a cell phone in a very mature and reasoned way.The descriptions of the neighborhood are vivid and add a lot to the story. The ghost has good enough reason to haunt the house, and is just the right amount of creepy. Well plotted, nicely paced, pleasant characters; a very winning debut book.
Weaknesses: What parents in their right minds would buy a ventriloquist's dummy for a four year old? Creepy. That said, my brother had a Charlie McCarthy one back in the 1970s. Also, had trouble believing that a musician and artist could afford to buy a house in the neighborhood described!
What I really think: Definitely putting a copy on my order list! The nicely creepy cover will make this one that readers of Ellen Oh's new Spirit Hunters, Peg Kehret, Betty Ren Wright, Mary Downing Hahn, and Joan Lowery Nixon will gladly pick up. Bonus points for the comments that Shady Street sounded like something out of an R. L. Stine novel!
Ms. Yingling

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