Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Jane Kelley

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Aug. 9th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-375-86220-5
Publisher: Random House

It takes a haunted house to break the bond of identical twins.

If Hannah and Anna’s older sister, Selena, had tested high enough to place into a good school in their Brooklyn neighborhood, their parents wouldn’t be building a home in the suburbs and the 11-year-olds certainly wouldn’t be living temporarily in the decrepit old house on Hemlock Road, where locals have claimed to see a peculiar set of green eyes peering back at them. The sisters notice oddities immediately, from an unidentifiable horrid smell to bats in the attic to unexplained breezes. What Hannah and Anna, who have always been close enough to read each other’s minds, don’t notice right away is how they not only don’t understand each other anymore, but often don’t even like each other. Readers observe the twins’ changes through a seemingly third-person narration that subtly morphs into a first-person narration. Is the vengeful narrator the house itself, a monstrous beast or an angry inhabitant from the past? Readers slowly discover the narrator’s identity as it, seizing on Hannah’s separation from her sister, tries to manipulate her into a supernatural friendship, and Hannah uncovers information about a shell-shocked solider from World War I, a jealous sister’s rivalry and a tragedy from 80 years ago.

Mounting creepiness with well-placed spine-tingling moments make this scary story perfect for fans of Mary Downing Hahn. (Ghost story. 9-12)