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From the Monster Itch series, volume 2

by David Lubar ; illustrated by Karl West

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-545-87349-9
Publisher: Scholastic

Following Ghost Attack (2017), a new spooky encounter triggers Alex’s allergies.

White Alex is on the verge of setting a new kickball home-run record. But there’s a new (exceptionally pale) recess monitor that the kids nickname Gloomy Girl, and suddenly Alex can’t stop sneezing—explosions so big they don’t just impede his kickball game, but also bring on massive, sequential humiliations. Field day is coming up, and Alex’s plan to win a trophy with his kickball skills is jeopardized by his allergies. His white cousin Sarah attempts to talk to the monitor to straighten things out only to learn that Gloomy Girl can speak directly into minds and controls an army of rats. The cousins consult The Big Book of Monsters and follow up with internet research (there’s a savvy subplot on how to evaluate online sources), determining that she’s a vampire capable of being outside on cloudy days. But they need to solve the allergy fast—Alex’s parents want to come watch field day, and if his allergist mother sees him sneezing she could pull him from all sports. Lubar’s second in his horror-lite chapter-book series features a likable protagonist whose loopy problem is, though exaggerated, similar enough to real-world ones suffered by many kids to make him easy to connect to. The agreeably zany plot winds its way to a conclusion that even includes reconciliation with a school bully.

Mild monster exposure for kids just dipping their toes in creepy.

(Fantasy. 6-9)