Despite a strong start, the book doesn't stick the landing, but it’s still suitably scary for fans.


From the Fear Street series

A teen babysitter encounters monstrous demons as the nightmares on Fear Street continue.

Lisa Brooks is new to Shadyside, but she's been able to make friends and form romantic entanglements pretty quickly. When a devastating car accident leaves her with nightmarish hallucinations, Lisa's world is turned upside down, her only respite her babysitting job. Her charge, Harry, is sweet and adorable. He only comes with one rule: Harry absolutely cannot stay up late. Unfortunately, Lisa's problems seem to follow her to the boy's house, with grisly murders and creepy creatures on her heels. Stine's macabre sensibility and threadbare narrative approach are on full display here. After a successful return to Shadyside with Party Games (2014), Stine wastes no time continuing to wreak havoc on the horrifying town he knows so well. Longtime readers will chuckle and squirm at all the right places, only rolling their eyes at the melodrama Stine seems to feel is obligatory. Why should readers care that Lisa kisses a boy who isn’t her boyfriend when her father is dead and a bloodthirsty animal is on the loose? Stine also stumbles a bit when it comes to the explanation for the monster, which is weird and gross but comes about 50 pages too late.

Despite a strong start, the book doesn't stick the landing, but it’s still suitably scary for fans. (Horror. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05162-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin’s Griffin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end.


From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 1

Riggs spins a gothic tale of strangely gifted children and the monsters that pursue them from a set of eerie, old trick photographs.

The brutal murder of his grandfather and a glimpse of a man with a mouth full of tentacles prompts months of nightmares and psychotherapy for 15-year-old Jacob, followed by a visit to a remote Welsh island where, his grandfather had always claimed, there lived children who could fly, lift boulders and display like weird abilities. The stories turn out to be true—but Jacob discovers that he has unwittingly exposed the sheltered “peculiar spirits” (of which he turns out to be one) and their werefalcon protector to a murderous hollowgast and its shape-changing servant wight. The interspersed photographs—gathered at flea markets and from collectors—nearly all seem to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th centuries and generally feature stone-faced figures, mostly children, in inscrutable costumes and situations. They are seen floating in the air, posing with a disreputable-looking Santa, covered in bees, dressed in rags and kneeling on a bomb, among other surreal images. Though Jacob’s overdeveloped back story gives the tale a slow start, the pictures add an eldritch element from the early going, and along with creepy bad guys, the author tucks in suspenseful chases and splashes of gore as he goes. He also whirls a major storm, flying bullets and a time loop into a wild climax that leaves Jacob poised for the sequel.

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end. (Horror/fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59474-476-1

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

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Who can't love a story about a Nigerian-American 12-year-old with albinism who discovers latent magical abilities and saves the world? Sunny lives in Nigeria after spending the first nine years of her life in New York. She can't play soccer with the boys because, as she says, "being albino made the sun my enemy," and she has only enemies at school. When a boy in her class, Orlu, rescues her from a beating, Sunny is drawn in to a magical world she's never known existed. Sunny, it seems, is a Leopard person, one of the magical folk who live in a world mostly populated by ignorant Lambs. Now she spends the day in mundane Lamb school and sneaks out at night to learn magic with her cadre of Leopard friends: a handsome American bad boy, an arrogant girl who is Orlu’s childhood friend and Orlu himself. Though Sunny's initiative is thin—she is pushed into most of her choices by her friends and by Leopard adults—the worldbuilding for Leopard society is stellar, packed with details that will enthrall readers bored with the same old magical worlds. Meanwhile, those looking for a touch of the familiar will find it in Sunny's biggest victories, which are entirely non-magical (the detailed dynamism of Sunny's soccer match is more thrilling than her magical world saving). Ebulliently original. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-670-01196-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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