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Old-fashioned spooky fun.

Midnight Reynolds has always felt like an outsider: from her unusual name and her family’s poverty to her obsessive reliance on spreadsheets to keep her life organized.

When Midnight moves to a new town and becomes friends with the two most popular girls in school, she finally feels welcome. The only problem: the 12-year-old white girl’s privileged new friends like to shop, and they’ll likely dump Midnight if they find out she’s broke. Midnight gets a job assisting sweet Miss Appleby. But Miss Appleby doesn’t need help with household chores; the middle-aged white woman wants Midnight to help her hunt ghosts. Because she was born at midnight on Oct. 31, Midnight has a supernatural gift: she can see ghosts—spectral energy. When someone dies, their spectral energy passes to the Afterglow, but an insidious phenomenon called a black stream is transferring the energy to inanimate objects. Armed with a device called a spectral transformer, Midnight retrieves the trapped energy so it can be safely disposed of. The job isn’t as straightforward as it seems, and Midnight soon faces a problem even the most sophisticated spreadsheet can’t fix. Hunting and trapping spectral energy fills the highly likable Midnight with a sense of pride and bravado she’s never felt before, easing her struggles to fit in at school and to cope with her mother’s impending remarriage.

Old-fashioned spooky fun. (Supernatural mystery. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8075-5125-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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From the Lockwood & Co. series , Vol. 1

A heartily satisfying string of entertaining near-catastrophes, replete with narrow squeaks and spectral howls.

Three young ghost trappers take on deadly wraiths and solve an old murder case in the bargain to kick off Stroud’s new post-Bartimaeus series.

Narrator Lucy Carlyle hopes to put her unusual sensitivity to supernatural sounds to good use by joining Lockwood & Co.—one of several firms that have risen to cope with the serious ghost Problem that has afflicted England in recent years. As its third member, she teams with glib, ambitious Anthony Lockwood and slovenly-but-capable scholar George Cubbins to entrap malign spirits for hire. The work is fraught with peril, not only because a ghost’s merest touch is generally fatal, but also, as it turns out, as none of the three is particularly good at careful planning and preparation. All are, however, resourceful and quick on their feet, which stands them in good stead when they inadvertently set fire to a house while discovering a murder victim’s desiccated corpse. It comes in handy again when they later rashly agree to clear Combe Carey Hall, renowned for centuries of sudden deaths and regarded as one of England’s most haunted manors. Despite being well-stocked with scream-worthy ghastlies, this lively opener makes a light alternative for readers who find the likes of Joseph Delaney’s Last Apprentice series too grim and creepy for comfort.

A heartily satisfying string of entertaining near-catastrophes, replete with narrow squeaks and spectral howls. (Ghost adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4231-6491-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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From the Small Spaces series , Vol. 4

A thrilling and chilling end to a standard-setting series.

Arden’s quartet of seasonal horrors concludes with sinister clowns at a carnival.

A dry summer in East Evansburg sends friends Brian, Coco, and Phil to Lethe Creek to cool off. But there’s been an Ollie-shaped hole in everyone’s lives since the dastardly “smiling man” took her. The smiling man releases one of his other trapped children to deliver a message: they’ll need three hidden keys to win Ollie back. Meanwhile, Ollie—traveling with the smiling man and his carnival—tries to figure out a way to escape him on her own. When the carnival moves to East Evansburg, the stage is set for the final showdown. By day, it’s a fun-filled paradise. By night, the carnival’s clowns hunt wayward children to turn into dolls. Without the keys, Ollie and friends will be next. While predatory clowns and humans-turned-dolls are far from new territory, Arden once again flexes her gift for atmospheric writing to envelop readers in the story’s eerie mist. The expert use of pacing and sensory cues—sights, sounds, and smells—helps heighten the genuinely terrifying chase scenes. Chess matches and conversations between Ollie and the smiling man humanize the shape-shifting villain, exposing just enough of his motives to wrap up unanswered questions. Earlier volumes establish that most characters are White and Brian is Black.

A thrilling and chilling end to a standard-setting series. (Horror. 9-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-10918-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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