Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Missing (Shadow House #4)

39776369Poblocki, Dan. The Missing (Shadow House #4)
August 28th 2018 by Scholastic Inc.
Copy provided by the publisher

Jason and Louise's parents are fighting over the creepy dollhouse that was supposed to be donated, but has mysteriously worked its way back to their home, where it is locked in the basement. When a call comes in from the children's aunt that their cousin, Marcus, is missing, the mother goes from California to Ohio with Lou to help the family. Unfortunately, Lou goes missing! Jason is drawn to the dollhouse, and when he investigates, he finds a small version of Lou among the dolls. He knows he must get her out, and when Connie appears and claims that the house was originally hers, and that her father was involved in a weird secret society that cursed some of the objects in the original Larkspur house, he has a place to start. Lou, trapped in the dollhouse, at least finds friends and helpers in Cal and Sadie. Jason is also accompanied by Rufus and Nina. Marcus is the creepy key to why the Jason and Lou are in the house, and after fighting lots of monsters and having super creepy portals open, stinky goo dropped on them, and a number of other horrendous things, the children manage to find some ways to release people from the dollhouse's grasp and get them back home. The terror seems to be over... or is it?
Strengths: I do not EVER want to be in Mr. Poblocki's nightmares. He has a real talent for scenes that are ooky but not too much for the average 11-year-old. Slimy monsters grabbing ankles, screeching walls of the house, transparent shadow dogs biting at the air.... *shudder*. This seemed to tie together several of the other books, although its been a while since I've read them. There could be another book, but this could also be the conclusion. John Bellairs is mentioned! I have great hope for the resurgence of his books in the fall.
Weaknesses: Creepy dolls, yes. Creepy dollhouses... I'm conflicted. I always really wanted a dollhouse, so creepy ones don't make me happy! Ah, Betty Ren Wright's The Dollhouse Murders(1983). I should see if I can get a student to check that out after reading this series.
What I really think: This series is okay, but I absolutely adore this author's stand alone horror books. It's so much easier to get stand alone books to circulate, but it seems like half my book orders consist of books in a series.

Ms. Yingling

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