Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Collector

Alexander, K.R. The Collector
Published August 28th 2018 by Scholastic Press
Public Library Copy

Josie's mother has lost her job in the city, and her grandmother is slipping further into dementia, so the family moves to the country to take care of her. The grandmother has some odd rules, such as not opening the windows at night or having dolls in the house, and insists that Josie and her younger sister do not visit the house near them in the woods. Josie has a hard time at school, but there is one girl, Vanessa, who is nice to her. Vanessa lives with her aunt, and invites Josie to come for a visit... but she lives in the house Josie is forbidden to enter. Preferring a friend to her grandmother's rules, Josie does visit, but the house leaves her feeling anxious. When Vanessa gives Josie a doll for her sister, who is having bad dreams, Josie is willing to do anything to help her sister. Josie's grandmother becomes agitated, and claims that children will soon go missing, and this does come to pass. Several school mates are missing, and Josie begins to feel that perhaps Vanessa and her aunt are behind the disappearances. Will she be able to figure out the mystery before she and her sister become victims?
Strengths: Nicely creepy, and plays on the ever present middle grade fear of not making friends. The setting is increasingly creepy, and the cover will scare off anyone who cannot read tales about creepy dolls. Those who enjoy books like this will find this to be deliciously creepy.
Weaknesses: I feel like I've read this before, but with a more Southern setting. The idea of children moving to a new house and being haunted is tried and true, which doesn't bother students but is beginning to get old for me. See this 2010 post about Betty Ren Wright's work!
What I really think: It's only available in paperback and Follett Bound, but I am definitely purchasing. I need a lot more creepy books!

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