THE SACRIFICE BOX by Martin Stewart


Age Range: 13 & up
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Five Scottish teens tied together by a childhood summer are haunted by a broken promise and an ancient ritual.

In 1982, brainy Sep, who is deaf in one ear, had one glorious summer with sporty Lamb and Mack, mouthy Arkle, and oddball Hadley (Lamb and Hadley are girls). After discovering a mysterious stone box, they cemented their friendship by each placing a sacrifice inside, inspired by a ritual that came to Sep in a dream. At the start of school, they return to their old friends (or lack thereof, in Sep’s case) and forget their promise to one another. Four years later, Sep, bullied by Arkle and his friends, is close to finally achieving his dream of escaping their small island community via a boarding school scholarship when the others return to him. Strange, scary things are happening—things related to the box, possibly because someone has broken one of the three cardinal rules. The third-person narration primarily follows Sep but includes moments focusing on other characters to show the powerful reach of the box as the horror and violence escalate (sensitive animal lovers in particular should take caution). For the teens to set things right, first they must come to terms with all the ways they went wrong. Diversity in the community includes Hadley’s Korean mother and an Italian fish-and-chip shop owner.

Moody and atmospheric, with sardonic humor; a meaty slice of horror. (Horror. 13-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 28th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-425-28953-2
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2018


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