Although pitched as a paranormal adventure, the story’s slightly different approach to the nuclear family steals the...

SPOOKYGIRL

PARANORMAL INVESTIGATOR

Packed with ghosts, poltergeists and even a half-vampire, this book provides a fun ride for teens interested in the supernatural.

At age 6, Violet began learning about her ability to see and communicate with ghosts—a talent inherited from her mother, the leader of a paranormal investigative team with Violet’s dad. However, her mother’s accidental death abruptly ended Violet’s training, leaving her with a dad determined to ignore her paranormal abilities and without the knowledge to safely control them. Violet’s truncated training isn’t problematic until she starts at a new high school with more than its fair share of haunted happenings. Normally Violet has lain low at school, but shortly after her first day here, she gets the nickname SpookyGirl, in part because her dad is a mortician and they live above their funeral home, but also because her school’s ghosts, which range from benevolent to deadly, can’t seem to leave her alone. Determined to follow in her mother’s path, Violet attempts to understand these spirits and finds herself deadlocked in spiritual communication way beyond her abilities. Violet narrates the tale in a straightforward, easygoing past tense that balances humor with suspense.

Although pitched as a paranormal adventure, the story’s slightly different approach to the nuclear family steals the spotlight with well-defined characters, both living and not-so living. (Paranormal suspense. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-42584-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

Characters to love, quips to snort at, insights to ponder: typical Spinelli.

DEAD WEDNESDAY

For two teenagers, a small town’s annual cautionary ritual becomes both a life- and a death-changing experience.

On the second Wednesday in June, every eighth grader in Amber Springs, Pennsylvania, gets a black shirt, the name and picture of a teen killed the previous year through reckless behavior—and the silent treatment from everyone in town. Like many of his classmates, shy, self-conscious Robbie “Worm” Tarnauer has been looking forward to Dead Wed as a day for cutting loose rather than sober reflection…until he finds himself talking to a strange girl or, as she would have it, “spectral maiden,” only he can see or touch. Becca Finch is as surprised and confused as Worm, only remembering losing control of her car on an icy slope that past Christmas Eve. But being (or having been, anyway) a more outgoing sort, she sees their encounter as a sign that she’s got a mission. What follows, in a long conversational ramble through town and beyond, is a day at once ordinary yet rich in discovery and self-discovery—not just for Worm, but for Becca too, with a climactic twist that leaves both ready, or readier, for whatever may come next. Spinelli shines at setting a tongue-in-cheek tone for a tale with serious underpinnings, and as in Stargirl (2000), readers will be swept into the relationship that develops between this adolescent odd couple. Characters follow a White default.

Characters to love, quips to snort at, insights to ponder: typical Spinelli. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30667-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more