Delectable hints of age-appropriate, Lovecraftian Otherness…with none of the purple prose.

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PROFESSOR GARGOYLE

From the Tales From Lovecraft Middle School series , Vol. 1

Can unnameable forces of ancient evil be recycled?

Eleven-year-old Robert Arthur has been redistricted. While his friends in Dunwich, Mass., attend Franklin Middle School, he has to attend Lovecraft Middle School. Lovecraft is brand new (though some fixtures and other building materials came from a demolished, possibly haunted local mansion), and everything in the school is state of the art, but Robert is totally alone…except for Glenn Torkells, who daily extorts a dweeb tax from Robert (just like he did all through elementary school). Strange occurrences start on day one, when every student finds a rat in their locker. A trip to the school library lands Robert in a strange, dusty attic, where he acquires a two-headed stowaway in his backpack. Pip and Squeak (the polycephalic rat) infuriates the science teacher, Professor Garfield Goyle, who turns out to be much more (scary) than he at first appears. Can Robert and his new friend Karina solve enough of the mysteries surrounding their school to survive? Gilman’s debut and series kick-off will be great fun for fans of light horror. The changing image on the cover will snag interest, and the spookily realistic black-and-white illustrations throughout complete this slick, scary, funny package.

Delectable hints of age-appropriate, Lovecraftian Otherness…with none of the purple prose. (Humorous horror. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59474-591-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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Few will make it to the monster’s first mention, nearly halfway through. (Horror. 9-12)

THE MURK

Is there a secret in the swamp that can cure all ills? Piper’s banking on it.

Piper Canfield wished for a baby sister when she learned her parents couldn’t have any more children. She promised to watch over the baby if it came. Miraculously, baby Grace arrived, and Piper has made good on her promise, but one lapse puts Grace in danger when a rabid wolverine threatens her in her bassinet while the family is camping. Grace is fine, but Piper blames her best friend, Tad, and freezes him out. She starts running with the popular, pretty crowd until baby Grace comes down with Alpers syndrome, a virtual death sentence…and Tad suggests they use his ancestor’s notes to search the Okefenokee Swamp for a fabled silver flower that cures all diseases. Piper, Tad, Monty (aka Creeper, Piper’s little brother) and swamp-boat driver Perch head out on what they think will be a one-day excursion, but the wildlife is attacking when it shouldn’t—and something deeper in the swamp is even more dangerous. Readers drawn in by the Goosebumps-like cover will quickly set aside Lettrick’s second animals-attack tale (Frenzy, 2014). The kid characters have an unfortunate tendency to speak like college professors, hampering their development significantly. Also hindering the story’s effectiveness are interspersed excerpts from Tad’s ancestor’s 19th-century diary, rendered in florid prose.

Few will make it to the monster’s first mention, nearly halfway through. (Horror. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8695-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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After fighting the evil Blouts in The Otherworldlies (2008), Fern must now face a deadlier menace: rooming with the school's...

THE SIREN'S CRY

Twelve-year-old Fern is an Otherworldly, a vampire—though why a non–blood-drinking, non-immortal, naturally born, teleporting telekinetic is called a “vampire” is left as an exercise to the reader.

After fighting the evil Blouts in The Otherworldlies (2008), Fern must now face a deadlier menace: rooming with the school's mean girls on a class trip to Washington, D.C. Fern's only distraction from the bullies tormenting her is her vision of a boy in a cage. The boy, she discovers, is Miles Zapo, a kidnapped Otherworldly just Fern's age. Fern suspects Miles, like her, is one of the Unusuals, destined to do something or other. (It's not clear what’s so Unusual, and it doesn't really matter; as long as there's a prophecy it's important, right?) The kidnapper is the dastardly Silver Tooth, also known as Haryle (“Hair-uh-Lee”) Laffar, brother of evil Vlad from Fern's previous adventure, and possessed of even more mysterious and evil secrets. The Smithsonian, the Hope diamond, moon rocks and mohawked, scaled, monstrous birds all play a part in Haryle's villainous plans for Miles and Fern. A firmly middle-school adventure (despite packaging attempting to capitalize on the paranormal craze among older teens) composed of cartoon villains, unconvincing heroes and a muddled, nonsensical plot.

Pub Date: June 28, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-199443-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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