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An entertaining, fright-filled geographical tour.

Shiver your way across the United States of fear in this collection of paranormal stories by a diverse range of authors, including Dusti Bowling, Ellen Hopkins, and Padma Venkatraman.

It’s dark. Maybe it’s Halloween. Something isn’t right. Are those glowing lights? Strange sounds—screams, moans, whimpers, or more subtly ominous noises—float on the air. Your cellphone is useless. You’re impelled to do something you know you shouldn’t. Finally, the dramatic climax arrives, and you’re saved—or perhaps not. Variations on these elements with fearsome flavorings from every state, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., confirm that whatever the setting, humans can find scares. Camping is risky, whether you’re in Washington state or in Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, or Wyoming. Readers will certainly want to avoid haunted Seven Bridges, Wisconsin, and after reading the Arizona entry, they’ll never look at a cactus the same way again. The entries offer frights for a variety of tastes: Many of the stories are good for a mild frisson; a few are truly creepy and chilling. Among the most accomplished narratives are Chris Eboch’s “The Ghost in the Gold Creek Mine,” a ghost story set in Alaska, Freeman Ng’s “The Ghost of Angel Island,” a paranormal tale set in California, Giselle Anatol’s historical Pennsylvania entry, “The Jockey’s Ghost,” and Rae Rose’s “Hand and Sica Hollow’s Haunted Trail on a Blue Moon Night,” which takes place in South Dakota. Final art not seen.

An entertaining, fright-filled geographical tour. (Anthology. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781250819413

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Godwin Books

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

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A didactic blueprint disguised as a supernatural treasure map.

A girl who delights in the macabre harnesses her inherited supernatural ability.

It’s not just her stark white hair that makes 11-year-old Zee Puckett stand out in nowheresville Knobb’s Ferry. She’s a storyteller, a Mary Shelley fangirl, and is being raised by her 21-year-old high school dropout sister while their father looks for work upstate (cue the wayward glances from the affluent demography). Don’t pity her, because Zee doesn’t acquiesce to snobbery, bullying, or pretty much anything that confronts her. But a dog with bleeding eyes in a cemetery gives her pause—momentarily—because the beast is just the tip of the wicked that has this way come to town. Time to get some help from ghosts. The creepy supernatural current continues throughout, intermingled with very real forays into bullying (Zee won’t stand for it or for the notion that good girls need to act nice), body positivity, socio-economic status and social hierarchy, and mental health. This debut from a promising writer involves a navigation of caste systems, self-esteem, and villainy that exists in an interesting world with intriguing characters, but they receive a flat, two-dimensional treatment that ultimately makes the book feel like one is learning a ho-hum lesson in morality. Zee is presumably White (as is her rich-girl nemesis–cum-comrade, Nellie). Her best friend, Elijah, is cued as Black. Warning: this just might spur frenzied requests for Frankenstein.

A didactic blueprint disguised as a supernatural treasure map. (Supernatural. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-304460-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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From the Blight Harbor series , Vol. 2

Deliciously dark and gripping.

Evie enters the otherworldly place called the Dark Sun Side, searching for Blight Harbor’s missing ghosts in this sequel to 2022’s The Clackity.

Twelve-year-old Evie Von Rathe returns, this time following the trail of missing ghost Florence and finding herself lured to the Dark Sun Side by ghoulish, evil Portia. Once there, Evie learns about the Radix, a swirling, black, oceanlike expanse of unforgiving magical power. In exchange for Evie’s return to the land of the living, Portia tasks her with retrieving the soul light from the center lantern of the Nighthouse. With the help of Bird, her tattooed sidekick who moves about her body at will, and a girl she meets on her journey named Lark, who is neither ghost nor human, Evie is pushed to her limits as she navigates this terrifying world on her important, soul-saving mission. Senf’s nightmarish, well-imagined supernatural landscape is original and compelling. Evie and Lark’s friendship is believably close and trusting, their shared pain and fear binding them together. Bird continues to be a scene-stealing companion, a necessary voice of reason and encouragement for Evie and readers alike. More than just a battle between good and supernatural evil, this story shows the ultimate power of empathy and tenacity. Readers will be left both satisfied by the ending and wanting more. Evie is cued white.

Deliciously dark and gripping. (Horror. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2023

ISBN: 9781665934633

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023

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