Thursday, November 09, 2017

Devil in Ohio

33158550Polatin, Daria. Devil in Ohio
November 7th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Jules tries to quietly get through high school in her vintage clothes with her friend Isaac by her side, but when her mother brings home a patient from the hospital psychiatric ward where she works, things get complicated. Mae has been abused by her family in the nearby town of Tisdale, Ohio. A sign of Satan has been carved on her back, and the sheriff has come to the hospital looking for her, which is why Jules' mother has broken protocol and brought Mae home. Since the Mathis family are certified foster parents, Mae is able to stay with them and attend Jules' high school. When classmates find out that she is from Tisdale, where Satan worship goes on even though people know about it, she becomes "cool", and Jules does by association. However, Mae accepts a date from Jules' crush, Sebastian, and Jules starts to resent the problems that Mae is causing her family. These intensify; the parents are fighting, Jules' younger sister is attacked by a dog left on the doorstep, Jules is almost kidnapped, and the mother is in a suspicious auto accident. While the mother has her own reasons for saving Mae, it's a very dangerous game. Will the Mathis family be able to save Mae... and themselves?
Strengths: Abuse, devil worship, creepy towns? For some reason, my 6th graders want to read this kind of book, so the topic would be very popular. The odd, retro cover is appealing in a creepy way. This did keep me turning the pages because the characters did so many things that they shouldn't have! This claims to be based on a true story, which is very sad. A definite must read for Young Adult horror fans.
Weaknesses: This is definitely for older readers. Aside from alcohol drinking and other inappropriate behaviors, there is too much discussion of sex for me to ever hand this book to a middle school student. Jules was not a pleasant character, but her development, and well as the ending of the book, could have been written more effectively.
What I really think: I'm not a fan of horror books, but understand my students enjoy them. It's just tricky finding one that has murders, abuse, blood, and gore and is still appropriate for eleven year olds!
Ms. Yingling

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