Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo; using potions and charms to evade evil and bring good luck. A mysterious Stranger comes to town bringing evil shadows and dark nightmares. He wants something from Hoodoo and threatens the entire town to get his ends. Everybody says that the little heart shaped birthmark under Hoodoo's eye is a sign. Can he find the courage, the magic and most of all the heart to save those he loves and himself? Hoodoo learns that "Having heart is being brave, even when everything looks dark as night....Having heart is believing in yourself, if you didn't know."
Tessa's Picks, 4th grade, Horror, 3rd&4th summer 2016, People of Color.
Rudger can be a bit shy but he's always willing to go on adventures with Amanda. Whether they're sailing the high seas on a pirate ship or exploring a jungle, Amanda knows Rudger will always be there by her side. That's why he's her best friend, even if he is imaginary. Rudger feels the same way about Amanda, but when a suspicious stranger who can actually see Rudger comes knocking and Amanda ends up in the hospital, Rudger is left to face real danger on his own. He finds a haven for imaginary friends where he discovers that he's not the only one who has encountered this monster in a Hawaiian shirt, and he has all of them terrified. But Amanda is a special girl and Rudger will do anything to save her, even if the other imaginaries warn him that to do so is to face certain death.
This surreal horror story about a monster that eats imaginary friends is utterly bizarre and fantastic. The mythology Harrold develops around imaginary friends and how they work is wonderfully creative. I particularly like how they hang out at a library in-between gigs because they're hot spots for imagination. The imaginary friends are hilarious and touching and the monster is actually quite creepy. The illustrations just make it all the more wonderful with their fanciful details. The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold, illustrated by Emily Gravett
Imagine a vampire outbreak occurs: what would you do? Hunt them down? Stock-pile canned goods? Or would you wall them all up in cities and turn them into fodder for reality TV? It's hard for the camera or the public to resist vampires' unnaturally good looks and outlandish antics. At first when vampires were revealed to society it was terrifying, but now people are used to them. Many are rabid fans of the live streams from cold towns where the vampires live. Tana knows more about the dangers of vampires than most of her peers: her mother was turned years ago and the disease caused her to attack her own daughter. Tana still bears the scars. But it isn't extra caution just pure, dumb luck that keeps Tana alive when she wakes up after a party to find all her friends slaughtered. She doesn't know how the vampires got in, but her ex-boyfriend is the only other person still alive, and he has been infected. She saves him with help from the most unlikely source and together they venture to the nearest cold town knowing they may never come back out again.
The characterization was great even for characters with minor roles. The way vampirism is handled in the novel is interesting from the way people turn to more philosophical questions of whether it changes a person's nature or simply exaggerates it. There's a lot of action and narrow escapes but the characters never lose their sense of humor. I'd give this to anyone looking for a new twist on vampire stories.
When Kara was six, her mother was executed for practicing witchcraft. Kara can still remember that terrible day. Now her father is a shadow of the man he was, and her family is ostracized by the community for the taint of sin upon them. They can just barely scrape by in their miserable lives. Then Kara follows a bird into the Thickety and she discovers a book of magic. The book could give her the power to make all their lives better, but if she is caught she'll suffer the same fate as her mother.
The basic concept of a witch being persecuted by a religious community is pretty well-trod, but the setting and the style of magic in this novel are completely original. The Thickety is an ominous presence full of unknown dangers and Kara's feelings of excitement and foreboding as she discovers her power are palpable. I'd give this to students looking for a fantasy adventure novel with strong characterization.
When Molly and her brother Kip enter sourwoods it is eerily silent and foreboding. Dire straits have forced them to accept work as servants at the manor house that stands within its confines. Approaching the crumbling mansion they notice a towering tree has intertwined its branches into and around the house. The inhabitants are not welcoming and the children soon find that the house is visited each night by a malevolent specter , the night gardener, who brings them bad dreams and steals their life force to feed the tree. As the humans grow pale and shadowy, the tree grants them their dearest wishes insuring that they never leave. Can the children break the spell and free them from the evil that has sent out roots to ensnare them all. A spooky tale from the masterful storyteller who brought us Peter Nibble and His Fantastic Eyes.
Bogles are good at hiding. The only hint of one might be that children keep disappearing. There are those as don't believe in bogles, but Birdie knows better. She's been a bogler's apprentice for quite some time and she's helped her master to catch many monsters. Bogles love children, so they make excellent bait. All Birdie has to do is stand in a circle of salt and sing. What could be simpler than that? It's a lot better than many of the other jobs orphans take. Except of course that a moment's hesitation or a stumble could mean that her apprenticeship will come to a swift and deadly end.
Birdie is strong-willed and independent as she fights to be recognized for the hero she is despite people constantly underestimating her. The other characters are fun to read about as well from the dodger-like Ned to the impressive Miss Eames. The bogle-catching episodes provide plenty of suspense while the bigger story provides a mystery to be solved. Jinks, as usual, finds ways to slip humor in throughout the story.
Juliet is a maid in King's College. She works at night, cleaning off the blood stains in the operating theatre when the halls are as dark and silent as a grave. It would bother many ladies and many men, but she is her father's daughter and she is made of stronger stuff. She grew up falling asleep to screams from his laboratory where he performed the experiments that disgraced him and led to Juliet's dreary circumstances. After believing herself an orphan for many years, she is shocked to discover that her father is alive and well--performing his experiments on an island far from the prying eyes of society. She is warned that it's no place for a lady, but when things turn from bad to worse she is forced to flee London and travel to the island of her father, Doctor Moreau.
This book was deliciously atmospheric. I could feel the gloomy London fog and the oppressive tropical heat. The hints about the full extent of her father's experiments keep the tension high and his secretive nature casts a shadow of doubt over everything. Juliet finds herself caught in a love triangle with high stakes as who she trusts may decide whether she lives or dies. Juliet is a wonderful heroine bold enough to do what needs to be done even when the men around her quail at the task. The Madman's Daughter is a thrilling gothic romance based on a classic Victorian science fiction story.
If you understand the basics of supply and demand, you can make a good life for yourself anywhere. Even in juvenile detention. In prison, supplies of everything are limited and demand is high. But there's one thing in particular the inmates crave: candy. Some like it sweet and some like it sour but everyone likes something. Shreve has the candy market cornered and is set to serve the rest of his sentence in comfort--until he gets a new cellmate. Right away, Shreve can tell there's something off about Jack. Then he finds out that he has twelve fingers and twelve toes. That's only the tip of the bizarre iceberg. Soon Shreve and Jack are on the run and caught in a plot straight from an X-Men comic. The people chasing them want much more than to just throw them back in prison. But how can they hide from someone who can invade people's minds?
The plot is absolutely relentless and Shreve's voice adds humor to the story even in its darker corners. The villains are delightfully sinister and the heroes brave and resourceful. The story isn't entirely black and white though. The plot keeps twisting leaving the motives of even the villains in question. In addition to these acts of mutant violence the story sheds light on some harsh realities of the non-supernatural variety. Jacobs does a great job balancing a fast-paced plot with thought-provoking elements.
The Lady Lamorna wants a beautifully hideous new dress. A dress with skulls all along the hem and a motif of poison ivy with blood-red petticoats. There is only one problem: her supply of gold is running a bit low. So she conceives of a wonderfully awful plan to turn the princes of the neighboring kingdoms into frogs and then charge their parents for her potions to return them to their royal selves. But people keep messing up her perfect plan: trueheart Gracie Gillypot, Gracie's evil stepsister, a fast-talking bat, and even one of the princes. Lamorna will make them regret interfering.
I love the dark humour of this book and its fairy tale feel. Fans of Lemony Snicket will love this funny, fantastic series
Are you musically talented? Harold Knishke isn't. In fact, he’s terrible. So terrible that one summer day his flute teacher asks him to quit, and even offers to buy his instrument. With money in his pocket and free time Harold hits the streets of Chicago in search of some entertainment. He ends up at the Art Institute where he decides to become an artist. Chicago in the 1960's is an exciting time for aspiring artists and Harold soon blends in with the beatnik crowd where he learns that not everyone is as crazy as they seem, and some are even crazier.
This book is full of a wonderful, dry humor and a strong absurdist sensibility. Harold wanders around Chicago running into one bizarre character after another. They're not entirely realistic but they are highly entertaining and they teach him real lessons. I'd give this to fans of comedy and art who are willing to suspend disbelief.