________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 16 . . . . April 4, 2008


Behind the Door. (HIP Edge).            

Paul Kropp.
Toronto, ON: HIP Books, 2008.
109 pp., pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-897039-26-7.

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Georgie Perigny.

**** /4


Behind the Door Teacher's Guide.

Lori Jamison.
Toronto, ON: HIP Books, 2008.
20 pp., stapled, $5.95.

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Georgie Perigny.

**** /4


They were all coming at me. I could see them, floating in the air. They had bodies but no bodies, faces but no faces. The ghouls floated up over me, their teeth shining white in the dark.

Then I heard a voice from somewhere over my head. "We want you, too, Jamal. Your friends are with us. Now we want you." I screamed. I ran back to the exit door, trying to get out, but it didn't work. There was no handle, and there was nothing to hold onto. The door didn't budge. And then I got freezing cold, just like the basement all around me. The ghouls came closer. I could see their breath, white in the air. I could see their teeth, their sharp pointy teeth, getting closer to me. I pulled back. I tried to put one arm up to hold them back, but it was hopeless. I was trapped against the door. The ghouls kept coming at me. It was dark, pitch dark, and all I could see was their teeth.


Jamal, Amos and Delmar have been friends since forever. Well, actually not forever, but ever since Delmar moved to the inner-city neighborhood called the Edge. Their favorite hangout was in the basement of an old warehouse where they just liked to chill. They discovered the warehouse one day when they were playing basketball and some guys started to harass them. Since none of the three boys were fighters, they took off running and accidentally came upon the secret hide-out.

     The warehouse wasn't much of a place with its bare concrete walls and a couple of small windows, but sometimes it was better than being at home. Sure, it wasn't as fancy as the rich-kids' clubhouse, but it was a place where they could hang-out together and talk about teen issues such as teachers, girls and life in general. Things were cool until a strange door appeared on an inside wall and the three boys could not resist the temptation to look behind the door. That is when the horror begins, and their discovery is so out of this world that it feels like something out of a ghost story. Are the boys' imaginations taking over their minds, or are the ghostly ghouls really out to get them? How will they get out of the horrifying situations they encounter?

     Behind the Door is part of a hi-lo series for reluctant and striving teen readers. The series all takes place in Edgemont, a typical inner-city neighborhood, and deals with real teen issues that captivate the reader's attention. The book consists of short, easy to read chapters which build the problem or adds a new crisis. The book also includes illustrations that allow readers to visualize the story. The dialogue in the book is easy to follow as the characters talk like typical teenagers while the design of the text enhances fluent reading and provides control of the reading levels.

     Behind the Door is a spine-tingling young adult hi-lo novel that will have readers sitting on the edge of their seats. The suspense and adventure will fascinate readers and persuade them to continue reading. I applaud Kropp's writing style and his efforts in responding to the need to write novels for teenagers who are not passionate about reading. I especially liked the fact that, although both genders would appreciate reading Behind the Door, it is a book that would be extremely fascinating to young male readers. 

     A teacher's guide by Lori Jamison is also provided to support the book. The guide includes information about the author, a plot synopsis, notes, and comprehension and discussion questions. Graphic organizers and reading activities are also integrated to assist readers in organizing their thinking. The guide offers information about the "HIP Edge" series of high interest/low vocabulary novels and incorporates strategies that can be used to enhance reading development.    

     Behind the Door and other titles in the "HIP" series are highly recommended in all middle school classrooms as they are a remarkable resource both for striving and ordinary readers. As a middle school teacher, I personally find it a challenge to motivate reluctant readers. However "HIP" series novels are an inspiring way to encourage students to read and to increase confidence in their reading ability and development.

Highly Recommended.

Georgie Perigny is a teacher at River Valley School in Sundre, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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