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by J.A. White

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: July 24th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-06-256008-7
Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Imprisoned by a real-life witch, horror addict Alex’s only hope for survival lies in his ability to spin his own nightly tales of terror.

Alex Mosher knows that there is something wrong with him. Normal kids don’t obsess over creepy things, and they certainly don’t keep “nightbooks” full of their own scary stories. In an attempt to lose the label “weirdo,” Alex sneaks out of his own apartment in the middle of the night, down the elevator to the basement boiler in order to destroy his work. But when the elevator stops on the fourth floor, Alex is beckoned into a bespelled apartment and trapped by the witch Natacha. Aided by fellow prisoner Yasmin, Alex is given the task of storyteller, reading nightly from his nightbooks for the witch’s pleasure. He spends his days exploring the apartment and planning an escape even as he begrudgingly finds that he enjoys having an appreciative audience. When Alex discovers that his stories serve to appease an ancient evil that even Natacha fears, escape becomes even more urgent. White (the Thickety series) presents an engrossing and creepy tale that blends elements of “Hansel and Gretel” and The 1,001 Arabian Nights, explores the storytelling craft, and addresses perceptions of normalcy. Interwoven tales will thrill middle-grade horror fans. Alex is white, and clues indicate that Yasmin is Arab-American, while Natacha is depicted as having dark skin and spiky hair.

A thrilling tale of magic that is just scary enough. (Horror. 9-12)