Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication date: September 2010
Source: Library (for Cybils)
When Teddy moves into a new neighborhood, he is nervous about starting over making new friends. But making friends is the least of his problems, when he is being scared to death by the creepy old house next door and its enormous old tree. The kids he does meet seem a bit strange and they keep disappearing in mysterious ways. Can Teddy figure out what is going on before he himself disappears?
Things I Liked:
This was a deliciously creepy story. I'm not a fan of horror or scary stories generally, but this one was quite good. I loved the disturbing situation that Buckingham created for Teddy and especially the evil tree force. It is an imaginative and really vivid story that will have you breaking out in goosebumps and watching out for trees over your shoulder. A perfect Halloween read, I'd say (too bad I read it in January). Here are some atmospheric parts:
Teddy backed away from the old house, a little spooked that he'd been so drawn to its rickety porch. He felt for the steps behind him with his foot, but when he eased down off the porch, his shoe caught on something. As he fell, he made a grab for the rail, but his hand glanced off and dragged across a loose nail instead. In the hot sun, the rusty metal felt strangely cold slicing into his wrist. p 8
The branch quivered behind the nightstand, making Teddy's heart pound as he imagined a rattlesnake curled around the end that was beneath his bed, shaking with its eagerness to strike. Or maybe a swarm of scorpions or black widow spiders pouring in on the branch from outside to scatter across his floor, creep up the walls, and crawl over his mattress. Or could it be something even worse? p 27Things I Didn't Like:
The fantasy element in the story was not very clear to me. I struggled to understand parts of the story and how it would work. Also, many of the characters were very flat, particularly the adults. I felt like one character made an appearance early on and then sort of dropped out of the story all together, without much explanation. I also felt like the prologue kind of ruined the mystery of the book by essentially telling us what was happening right away. It was still good and creepy, but not quite Neil Gaiman.
Coraline and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Spellbinder by Helen Stringer
BOOK CONTENT RATINGS:
that I recall
definitely some creepiness and also a bit of gore
Overall rating: ***
How much creep-factor do you like in a book?
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