Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ghost stories

I've never been a fan of scary stories because I get scared easily, really! The cover of The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein (2008) intrigued me as well as the title-everyone's been at a crossroads before in their life. The inside flap says this:
Meet Zack Jennings. Average kid. He has a hard-working father.
A new stepmother. A new house. Even a new dog, Zipper.

Things are looking up for Zach.
Except there is this ghost. This really nasty ghost.

A ghost who kills

And Zach is on his list.

Wow! Just reading that creeps me out. I had to give it a try though-I had ordered it for my school library based on the reviews but I had to see if it was good scary or just too much!! I was not disappointed and I pleasantly have not had any nightmares involving Zach or his ghosts.

Zach and his dad live in NYC and they are getting ready to move out of the city away from their memories of Zach's chain-smoking mom, who seemed fairly evil in Zach's flashback memories of her. Now Zach's dad is remarrying a lively, young children's author and moving to Connecticut. Zach is already freaked out cuz' he thinks his mom is haunting him so when weird stuff starts happening in CT it just seems like normal now. The back plot of the story is this 50-year-old tragedy involving a bus load of folks, a creep in a Thunderbird and a bitter old woman, who thinks she owns the town. This tale is intricatilly-woven and a joy to read-even the haunting parts just because you want Zach to make it through all this. He has a happy life waiting for him. As I poked around Chris Grabenstein's home page I noticed a sequel is out, The Hanging Hill. I'm going to put it on my Christmas list!! Click here for more Chris Grabenstein information.
P.S. Another great thing about this book is there is a friendly librarian character (Mrs. Emerson) who helps solve the mystery! Grabenstein adds many happy references to how helpful librarians, libraries are to everyone like this one:
"What do you know about the greyhound bus accident of June 21, 1958?" (asks Judy)
"I know how to find out more. After all, dear, I am a librarian." (says Mrs. Emerson)
p. 164
Ever so helpful, those librarians!!
Be Peaceful-Michelle


Chris Grabenstein said...

I'm glad you liked THE CROSSROADS. The character of the librarian Jeanette Emerson is a bit of a homage to my late mother-in-law, a librarian named Jeanette.

Peaceful Reader said...


I'm so very excited to have a comment from you! Yes, I now love your writing and will seek out more to read and review, including the sequel to this one! It's nice to know Mrs. Emerson is based on a real person.