Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Ally Malinenko

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-06-313657-1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

A tale of survival, friendship, and the strength that comes from overcoming fears.

Middle schooler Jac is dealing with the fallout of a real-life nightmare: childhood cancer. But it’s not just the fear of recurrence that she has to handle, but the reality of surviving and carrying the burden of her mom’s constant worry. When Jac discovers a large house that wasn’t there before looming at the end of a street in her suburban New Jersey neighborhood, she worries it’s a hallucination, which could mean a recurrence of her illness. But after her best friend, a boy named Hazel, sees the house too, her sense of adventure takes over. Provoked by a couple of bullies who dare them to enter and then follow them inside, Jac and Hazel explore the house and are met with surprises—like a key with Jac’s likeness on it—that suggest her connection to this strange and terrifying place is personal. Before long, the kids realize they are trapped inside. Shocks follow with every new door they open as they search for an exit and discover ever increasing frights. Delightfully nightmarish visions chase Jac, offering the feel of a thrilling game with twisted and terrifying imagery, as she navigates the house, seeking to understand her connection to this unusual place in this emotionally resonant story. Characters seem to default to White.

Offers a hauntingly truthful view of secrets and strength.

(Paranormal. 8-12)