Mild goose bumps for readers who prefer their ectoplasm served up in buckets.

THE TITANIC LOCKET

From the Haunted Museum series , Vol. 1

Spectral voyagers practically outnumber the living ones on a re-enactment of the Titanic’s cruise in this ghost-happy series opener.

A visit to a creepy museum just before boarding a replica of the famous liner leaves sisters Samantha and Jessica saddled with a locket salvaged from the original ship that keeps coming back despite their increasingly frantic efforts to get rid of it. Worse yet, they begin to notice sudden chills, scratching and whimpering sounds in the walls and a weirdly mutable number on their cabin door. Frequent encounters with supernatural figures (some historical, such as John Jacob Astor’s dog, Kitty) escalate until Jessica is nearly drowned in the bath by a poltergeist, Samantha is trapped in the elegant ballroom with dancers who rot before her eyes, and both sisters are forcibly possessed by the spirits of former passengers with personal scores to settle. Weyn ratchets up the eeriness by pairing off several of her living characters with strangely similar dead ones and quickly builds to a stormy climax that the sisters narrowly survive thanks to timely intervention by a powerful medium. After that, it’s smooth sailing—at least until the next episode.

Mild goose bumps for readers who prefer their ectoplasm served up in buckets. (Horror. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-58842-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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A bit disjointed and episodic, but Tristan is a likable companion.

THE DOUGHNUT FIX

From the Doughnut Fix series , Vol. 1

Tristan’s family has always loved living in New York City, but all that is about to change.

Dad announces that they are moving to a dilapidated, purple house on a hill on the outskirts of the very small town of Petersville in upstate New York. Baby sister Zoe is frightened and confused. Jeanine, two years younger than Tristan and a math genius in gifted and talented classes, is appalled and worried about her educational prospects. Tristan is devastated, for he is a city kid through and through. Because they won’t be starting school for several months, their parents tell Jeanine and Tristan they must complete a project. Jeanine selects a complicated scientific and mathematical study that allows her to remain uninvolved with people. Tristan, who loves to cook, like his chef mom, decides to start a business making and selling the supposedly mind-blowing chocolate-cream doughnuts once famous in Petersville but now no longer made. His business plan leads to adventures, new friends, and a sense of acceptance. Tristan is a charmer; he’s earnest, loving, wistful, and practical, and he narrates his own tale without guile. But he is the only character so well defined—next to him, the supporting cast feels flat. The family is described as Jewish early on, but their Judaism is kept well to the background; the people of Petersville are white by default.

A bit disjointed and episodic, but Tristan is a likable companion. (recipes, business plan, acknowledgements) (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5541-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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An approachable lead-in that serves to fill in the background both for confirmed fans and readers new to the series.

THE BOXCAR CHILDREN BEGINNING

THE ALDENS OF FAIR MEADOW FARM

From the Boxcar Children Mysteries series

This prelude slips neatly into the classic series with a rural idyll that comes to a sudden, tragic end.

Spring brings not only fresh rounds of games and chores (“Chores are fun,” says Meg) for the four Alden children, but new friends too after the Clark family—fleeing frequently mentioned “hard times” in the city—arrives in a storm to stay until their car can be repaired. Indulging occasionally in foreshadowing and artfully incorporating details that will figure in later events, MacLachlan chronicles encounters and minor adventures on the farm in simple, straightforward language. The season changes, the children put on a summer circus, and the Clarks depart at last with a fond “[n]ot good-bye.” Then comes an offstage auto accident that orphans Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny and forces them to flee the farm even before the funeral lest they be separated. “The four lambs were on their way.” Interest in the classic Boxcar Children Mysteries remains strong, and this prequel should find eager readers.

An approachable lead-in that serves to fill in the background both for confirmed fans and readers new to the series. (finished illustrations, afterword and resource list not seen) (Historical fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8075-6616-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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