Thursday, January 05, 2023

You're Invited to a Creepover Graphic Novels

Night, P.J. Truth or Dare 
You're Invited to a Creepover Graphic Novels #1
September 6, 2022 by Simon and Schuster
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Abby Miller likes Jake, and tells her friends, including Leah, at a sleepover. Jake has a tragic past, however; the girl he loved, Sara, was killed about a year ago when a car jumped the curb and killed her right after she said goodbye to Jake. There is a dance coming up at school, and Leah encourages Abby to go out with Jake, who is her neighbor, but strange things are happening to Abby and she fears that they are caused by the ghost of Sara, come back to avenge her death. There are odd power surges, ghostly flickerings outside her window, and even texts from an anonymous number telling her to leave Jake alone. Leah and her other friends think that she is exaggerating, but when the blouse her mother has gotten her for the dance is returned to her closet shredded and ruined, what other explanation is there? It's got to be an evil ghost. Is it safe to go with Jake to the dance? And if that's okay, then clearly going to the cemetery where Sara is buried when a text instructs Abby to do this is perfectly fine. Will Abby and Jake meet a violent, horror movie end, or is there a more realistic explanation for all of the eerie happenings? 

There aren't a lot of horror graphic novels, although Hahn's Took and Wait 'Til Helen Comes have recent graphic novel adaptations, so I was glad to see adaptations of the Creepover series. The novels themselves are fairly short, and I'm hoping that after one or two of the graphic novels, my readers will pick up some of the 22 chapter books that have already been published (2011-2017). 

The illustrations have a shadowy, creepy vibe to them, and I was glad to see that not all of the characters are white, as they seem to read in the originals. There's a lot of use of dark tones, swirling backgrounds, and eerie, glowing lights. The outside is always especially foreboding at night, and Abby's imagination makes everything appear darker and more threatening than it really is. 

There is a good amount of friend drama that will appeal to middle grade readers, and romance is always a big draw as well. I thought it was fun that parents make an appearance in these, since most of the story is set at home rather than at school. Hand these to elementary and middle school readers who want a story that is scary but not TOO scary!

Night, P.J. You Can't Come in Here
You're Invited to a Creepover Graphic Novels #1
September 6, 2022 by Simon and Schuster
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Emily doesn't have a lot of friends, but she enjoys hanging out with neighbors Drew and Vicky. They are home schooled and don't get out much, so haven't visited her home, but she spends a lot of time at their house, although she has never met their parents. The house is run down in the extreme, but they have a great rec room with games where they spend a lot of time. Emily's parents are concerned that they haven't met the parents either, and allow Emily to have a party so that her friends from school can met Drew and Vicky. There are lots of creepy things going on in the neighborhood that seem to center around the siblings, but whenever Emily points them out, her friends are happy to investigate, and what seems like a creepy killer wolf often ends up being racoons or owls. It is a little concerning that when Emily visits the house during the day to try to talk to Drew and Vicky's parents, she finds no one home, a tape recorder with the parents' voices, and three coffins just under the floorboards. Never mind, let's have a sleepover anyway. It goes well, but Emily doesn't feel comfortable inviting Drew and Vicky into her house. Do they manage to come in anyway, and what does this mean for Emily's future?

I don't think that it's too much of a spoiler to say that this is a good twist on a vampire tale, and also the reason that I hesitated to invite my school staff to my house for dinner on open house night-- if I issued a blanket invitation and someone was a vampire, had I just invited them in? Gives one pause, does it not? This is a great vampire book for readers who aren't quite ready for the length or emotional complexity of Twilight or similar weighty vampire tomes, and a rather chilling read even though the series does have a little bit of goofiness to it. 

The illustrations are appropriately dark, and Drew and Vicky's house is so creepy and run down that I just wanted to tell Emily to run away! Her parents want the house to be fixed up, but this is cleary more run down than anything should be in suburbia! 

There is a new R.L. Stine series of Just Beyond horror graphic novels that have some similarities to the Creepover series; I read one of these where 1950s horror movie monsters were set on the loose, and this seems in keeping with the somewhat scary but somewhat cheesy feel to this story. Hand these to readers who enjoyed Terry's Graveyard Shakes, Sedita's Pathfinders, or Steinkellner's The Okay Witch

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