Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Scare Me

Alexander, K.R. Scare Me
July 7th 2019 by Scholastic Inc.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Kevin loves scary things, and his very favorite time of the year is October, when local Corvidon Mansion allows four groups of students to set up rooms in the history museum, which serves as a haunted house during this spooky time of year. Last year, Kevin's group, the Banshees, lost to a group with more financial resources, and he's determined to win and rub it in their faces. Along with friends Tanesha and Julie, and with the help of his dads, Kevin sets out to make the basement of Corvidon a scary cemetery. The caretaker apologizes that there are museum pieces left in the basement, but Kevin is okay with that, since one of them is a skeleton in a wedding dress that was worn by the daughter of the owners back in the 1940s. Legend has it that after her fiance passed away, Anna drowned herself in a nearby pond, and now haunts the area. Her family, unable to move past her loss, kept her dress in the house after the mother retrieved it from her grave! Even though it's against the rules, Kevin intends to use the skeleton in his competition piece, but the skeleton is not having it. Kevin starts to hear Anna's voice while he is awake  but also in his dreams. The house comes alive, and all manner of creepy, horrible things happen to the competitors. There are zombies that attack the house, the mannequins come to life and attack, and even creepy clowns. Will the groups all be able to band together, defeat the evil forces, and put Anna to rest?
Strengths: I like that this starts with something that is scary, but not really scary. Haunted Houses are by their nature make believe, even if they do induce real adrenaline rushes. The drama with Patricia and the rival group is a nice way to take a break from the zombies and focus on a very real tween fear. I'm not a fan of spooky books or movies, but this has all the elements that my students who do like these books request. I may actually prefer the style in which these are written to R.L. Stine; they are more literary and have less of the cliffhanger-at-every-chapter effect. That said, R.L. Stine writes crackerjack historical scenes, and his books are still very popular in my library, if falling apart.
Weaknesses: Only in paperback, Scholastic. Shame, shame, shame. These need to be in hardcover, or in thirty years, my students will still want to read them, but they will be rapidly disintegrating prebinds. Oh, well. In thirty years, I will have disintegrated entirely!
What I really think: Like this author's The Collector and The Fear Zone, this is a great, creepy, fast read that my students adore. It strikes just the right note for middle grade scary books, and would also be perfect for elementary students in 3rd-5th who like to read about older characters in stories a bit more realistic that Stine's Goosebumps. Let's hope for a LOT more stories from Happy Hills. (What a great name for a setting for scary stories!) Buy a couple in case someone loses one!

Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. My granddaughter would love this. She loves to be scared. Me, not so much. Thanks for telling me about this.