The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki

Does an abandoned asylum hold the key to a frightful haunting?

Everyone’s heard the stories about Graylock Hall.

It was meant to be a place of healing – a hospital where children and teenagers with mental disorders would be cared for and perhaps even cured. But something went wrong. Several young patients died under mysterious circumstances. Eventually, the hospital was shut down, the building abandoned and left to rot deep in the woods.

As the new kid in town, Neil Cady wants to see Graylock for himself. Especially since rumor has it that the building is haunted. He’s got fresh batteries in his flashlight, a camera to document the adventure, and a new best friend watching his back.

Neil might think he’s prepared for what he’ll find in the dark and decrepit asylum. But he’s certainly not prepared for what follows him home. . . .

 

ghost
The Ghost of Graylock
is a must read for young horror fans that have graduated from books like R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series and looking for a more frightening read. But beware! Detailed descriptions of abandoned asylums, ghosts, and a shocking murder could potentially be nightmare inducing, especially for a middle schooler.  The plot surrounds the legend of Graylock Hall and the result of four kids breaking into the abandoned asylum.  I still have visions of Eric and Wesley hiding in the closet and Rebecca’s (the ghost) shadowy figure peeking in…terrifying!  However, I liked the ‘bread crumb’ aspect of Rebecca’s clues and how she helped Neil and Bree ultimately solve the mystery of her own tragic death.  Overall, short chapters (64 to be exact) and a fast paced story will take even the most reluctant readers on a thrilling adventure, filled with twists and turns!  You may just want to sleep with a nightlight…

Other recently reviewed MG spooky titles:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Advertisements

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?
shadow

After putting down three YA titles in a row, In the Shadows of Blackbirds rescued me from my reading slump! The cover, beautiful writing, and haunting photographs immediately drew me in and captured my interest. This historical fiction novel is set in 1918 during the Spanish Influenza and narrated by sixteen year old, Mary Shelley Black. Named after Frankenstein’s author, Mary Shelley is one brave, headstrong heroine- not even war or Death himself can stop her.

Throughout the novel, it is clear that Winters had done a fair amount of research into the time period.  The setting is described in detail and events historically accurate. Gauze masks, public health warnings, visible coffins and death in the streets are not overlooked. Not only was this an enjoyable read, but also an educational one.  I didn’t realize the extent of confusion and panic the flu created, and the many uses of onions! The inclusion of black and white pictures sprinkled throughout work as a dreary visual reminder of the damaging effects of war.  I now can understand the desperation of mourners seeking comfort from spirit photographers and séances.

The plot revolves around the haunting mystery of what happened to Mary Shelley’s ‘sweetheart’ Stephen.  Winters had me guessing along with Shelley, and I was surprised by the violent and brutal ending.  Despite this, a great cast of characters, historical details, romance , mystery and tragedy all amount to one fantastic recommended read!

If you liked the mystery and suspense of  In the Shadow of Blackbirds, check out The Diviners by Libba Bray.

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

8591107

I simply cannot begin this review without mentioning the beautiful cover.  It is one of my recent favourites. While I try not to choose my books by beautiful covers, I find myself visually swayed every time.  After the cover, I immediately read the synopsis. In this case, the synopsis didn’t give too much away (see below). However, I think it was just enough dark and creepy to persuade me to pick it up.

Synopsis:

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

Oooohh creepy! It gets even more fantastic with the handwritten note by ‘Mara’ in which she refers to murders and the use of a pseudonym for protection.   The eerie darkness is continued throughout storyline and plot. The plot itself had A LOT going on, including kidnapping, murder(s), alligators, hallucinations, and a dog rescue.  I really enjoyed piecing the puzzle together along with Mara.  However, one aspect I didn’t enjoy was the romance piece.  I’m sure many readers were swooning over the bad boy Noah, but I just couldn’t like someone accused of ‘using and discarding girls like condoms’.   Yuck.

The ending had me as confused as Mara.  HUH? HOW?  This allowed Hodkin to end with a very huge cliff hanger moment and clearly readers will want to pick up book two ‘The Evolution of Mara Dyer ‘immediately.

 

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Chapters synopsis: Legend holds that Glendower, a vanished Welsh king, sleeps  beneath the hills until he’s needed. The first person to find him  will be granted a wish-either by seeing him open his eyes, or by  cutting out his heart.

Gansey has it all-family money, a car, time for extracurriculars  and friends-but he’s always loved the tales of sleeping kings. He  thinks he’s found one, too, or at least the area where one might  be: in the town of Henrietta, Virginia. And the best way to be  there is to attend the prestigious Aglionby Academy for Boys.

Blue is the daughter of the town psychic in Henrietta, Virginia,  but is too practical to believe in things like spirits or true  love. Her policy is to stay away from Aglionby boys…but it may be  that one in particular can change her mind about magic, and maybe  even love.

What a disappointment. This book had the coolest premise and started off brilliantly.  Yet, with every turn of the page, I became less and less interested.  This was my second attempt to read the book. Back in July, I gave up on this book after a couple of chapters.  After continually hearing about how fabulous it is, I figured I must have missed something and picked it up again.  Unfortunately, I remain one of the few that just don’t understand the high praise!  I really pushed myself to finish this time and struggled to make it halfway through. With so many books on my to-read list, I am officially giving up.  I found the shifts in narration confusing, the amount of back and forth between history lesson and actual story annoying, the plot dull, and the writing style too descriptive (ultimately affecting the pacing of the story).  Most of the time, I struggled to piece everything together and understand what exactly was going on.

Overall, I remain one of the few that hoped for more. Although I didn’t enjoy The Raven Boys, this book was highly praised and received many starred reviews including, Publishers Weekly that raved, “It’s a tour de force of characterization, and while there is no lack of event or mystery, it is the way Stiefvater’s people live in the reader’s imagination that makes this such a memorable read.” Booklist praised-“[T]he book is marvelous, for not only is it filled with marvels, it is also a marvel of imagination and, more prosaically, structure. Rich, too, in characterization, this fantasy/mystery rises to the level of serious literature, leaving readers hungering for more.” Therefore, I still urge you to pick up Raven Boys and let me know what you think!

Blog Stats

  • 32,090 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 138 other followers

Goodreads

Check out my books on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3608158-brie