Shivers aplenty; just the ticket for a cold autumn night.

THE PECULIAR INCIDENT ON SHADY STREET

A preteen overcomes fear to solve a century-old mystery.

Tessa Woodward and her family have moved from warm, sunny Florida to chilly, gray Chicago. It’s bad enough that she had to leave behind her best friend and beloved beach, but as soon as the white girl moves into the eerie, rambling Victorian on Shady Street, myriad unexplainable things begin to happen. Lights flicker and doors lock on their own; mysterious crying and phantom footsteps echo throughout the house in the middle of the night; perfectly executed drawings appear in artist Tessa’s sketchbook; and her 4-year-old brother’s perennially creepy ventriloquist dummy cries actual tears. There can be no other explanation: this house is haunted. Who, or more likely what, has targeted Tessa, and why? The terrified seventh-grader enlists her new friends—skeptic Andrew and graveyard expert Nina, both evidently white—to follow a trail of clues in order to find out what happened in the house on Shady Street all those years ago. Refreshingly, Tessa isn’t an angry kid determined to make her parents’ lives miserable in retaliation for uprooting her from the familiar. Instead, she resolves to make the best of things and to take her free-spirited parents’ advice that she keep her eyes wide open and explore the unknown. And that she does.

Shivers aplenty; just the ticket for a cold autumn night. (Paranormal mystery. 8-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7704-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...

HOLES

Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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