Monday, November 10, 2014

Book of Bad Things by Dan Poblocki

Ursula Chambers was a witch or so people of Whitechapel believed. She chased away anyone who approached her scary old house hidden mostly from sight by trees.  Seeing the witch, finding out if she really was seemed like the perfect summer challenge for friends Joey and Cassidy so with Joey's dog along they went up the stairs to the old house only to be chased away in fright.  Unfortunately Lucky grabbed a piece of trash hanging from a low window and later choked to death.  That summer ended badly.  When Cassidy returns next summer, things begin badly.  She is seeing the ghost of Lucky and perhaps other ghosts as well.  Joey won't talk to her.  But there is a new kid in the neighborhood who has also seen the ghost dog.  Talk goes to ley lined and standing stones and other supernatural things.  Joey has also been seeing Lucky but the adults won't believe him.  It takes a bit of convincing for the girls to get Joey to understand that they do believe him.  When Ursula dies, her home is cleared of mountains of trash and a few interesting items.  Anyone who took an item from the dumpster outside the home later was haunted and if they did not return the item they died and became ghostly as well.  Now the kids are seeing more, or perhaps zombies, those of their dead neighbors.  So the trio plus Hal, a teen who wisely returned his stolen item to the house start researching both how to stop the dying of more folks as the trash and stolen items become carried far and wide and and how to stop the haunted zombies.  This is a good stopping point.  What they discover and what they do is the best part of the story!  There are enough funny lines here to keep the story from being too scary for the middle school audience.  Many of us have had ghost houses or witch houses in our neighborhoods, places we were warned away from and we didn't know why.  Here is one possibility.   Enjoy.  

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