A chilling debut—like the Seeker, a tale that doesn’t let you go.

HIDE AND SEEKER

Justin and his friends play their last game of hide-and-seek at their friend Zee’s not-so-welcome–home party.

Zee had gone missing one week after Justin’s mother passed away just one year ago, and the party is celebrating his return. But the emaciated Zee is acting strangely, mumbling rhymes about a Seeker that will take them all. Shortly after the party, one by one, Justin’s other friends begin to disappear. It doesn’t take long for the remaining members of the crew to figure out that Zee’s strange behavior may be connected to the disappearances. Justin, Nia, and Lyric set out on a trail of clues and possible suspects, hoping to find their missing peers. No sooner do the details of the mystery begin to come to light than Justin, the last of the group, is unwillingly transported into the realm of Nowhere. In this parallel universe, the Seeker keeps children hostage, feeding off of their fears. This dark nail-biter, set in a small Tennessee town and featuring a largely African American cast (Lyric is the only white kid), weaves a creepy spin on a childhood game that quickly slips into a Stephen King–esque tale of horror. Can the children trapped in Nowhere gather as allies to evade the Seeker and get home?

A chilling debut—like the Seeker, a tale that doesn’t let you go. (Horror. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-58362-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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Ghost-story fans won’t be disappointed in the end, if they can slog that far through all the low-wattage civil-service...

THE MINISTRY OF GHOSTS

The threat of imminent shutdown prompts a small government agency to hire a pair of young independent contractors to capture a ghost in this British import.

On the way to a pleasantly tidy ending, Shearer delivers some comical chills and twists, but he takes too long to set them up. Driven by a blustering government cost-cutter’s ultimatum, the four (or five, counting the cat) remaining members of the antique Ministry of Ghosts—originally founded in 1792 to determine whether spirits are bunkum or real—decide a fresh approach is needed. The “help wanted” card they place in the dusty window of their ramshackle building draws two students from the local school: strong-minded Thruppence Coddley, daughter of a fishmonger, and timorous but game classmate Tim Legge, both white. The author salts his tale liberally with subtle clues and oddly quaint characters, and he eventually arrives at some startling (for unobservant readers, at least) revelations. But aside from brief mentions in a prologue, the two young people don’t even show up to get the ghost hunting under way until seven wordy introductory chapters have trundled slowly by, filled with eye-glazing exchanges and daily routines in an office where nothing much has changed in decades.

Ghost-story fans won’t be disappointed in the end, if they can slog that far through all the low-wattage civil-service satire. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5107-0473-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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With Volume 2, this series hits its stride.

THE BEAST

From the Darkdeep series , Vol. 2

This Halloween is not about trick-or-treating for the Torchbearers.

A team forged during their original adventure at Still Cove in series opener The Darkdeep (2018), Opal, Emma, Tyler, Nico, and Logan are not quite done with the creatures of that terrifying place. Along with the gremlins and other wild “figments” causing havoc in the small, Pacific Northwest town of Timbers, new apparitions are on the loose, and it is the team’s job to catch whatever escapes the Darkdeep. Validating what was thought to be a harmless local legend, there’s been a sighting of an actual Beast, a demon that has crossed from another dimension. With their parents conveniently absent, these seventh graders decide to investigate. The peculiar green blob in the jar has been speaking to both Opal and Nico psychically. This disembodied being from another realm, whom the kids call Thing, tells the story of the origins of the Darkdeep and the connected realm of the Rift and offers to help the Torchbearers seal the Rift. Now that the series is underway, this second installment offers more actualized characters and a darker backstory than the first book, setting a more engaging pace. With an early October release date, this will make a rousing Halloween read. Tyler has dark skin and Opal and Logan, ambiguous black hair, but the book adheres to a white default.

With Volume 2, this series hits its stride. (Paranormal suspense. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0203-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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