CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 22. . . .February 8, 2013
Poltergeeks. (Poltergeeks #1).
Long Island City, NY: Strange Chemistry (Distributed in Canada by Random House Canada), 2012.
285 pp., trade pbk., EBook, $10.99 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-908844-10-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-908844-11-8 (EBook).
Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.
Review by Rachel Steen.
I couldn't scream. It was as if the very sight of the monster sucked out the air from my lungs. Every muscle in my body was paralyzed with fear as the undead creature smashed through a granite crypt like a freight train. Marcus didn't waste any time and he instinctively grabbed my arm and hurled me from my father's grave with all his strength. Oh, and the copper bracelet decided all of a sudden to start glowing with a blinding white light. You know, because the twenty-foot tall creature comprised of body parts from nearby graves and bound together by the same spectral energy I'd felt at school actually needed help finding us. We tore across the crest of the hill until I spotted my father materialize beside a large crypt that resembled a gothic bungalow. He motioned for us to follow him just as the creature started running. Yeah, it ran.
When 15-year-old Julie Richardson and Marcus, her best friend, witness an elderly lady literally being thrown out of the front door of her home, it becomes obvious to Julie that there's something supernatural at work. After a large-scale paranormal assault on Julie's high school, her mother falls victim to the "Endless Night Spell" and lies comatose in the hospital. Now it's a race against time to find out who is responsible - or Julie won't just lose her mother's soul, she'll lose her life!
The first book in this new paranormal series from Saskatoon author Sean Cummings is fast-paced, full of action, and features a unique and likeable heroine. Julie is a witch, and though she's been instructed by her mother not to practice magic alone, she, being a typical teenager, is anxious to prove that she can handle herself, and she disobeys her mother's wishes by trying to exorcise the poltergeist from her neighbour's house. Julie soon discovers that they are dealing with something far more complex than a simple ghost, and this sets the stage for the rest of the story.
Cummings' writing style has a natural and easy tone and an authenticity that will grab readers immediately. Julie is smart and capable, and readers will enjoy her outspokenness and her wit. She acts and speaks like a real teenager, and her personality shines through the text.
Marcus, Julie's best friend and burgeoning love interest, provides Julie with a voice of reason. He initially tries to inject scientific reason into the impossible things happening around him, but he is eventually able to at least partially accept the existence of magic.
There is some exclamatory swearing, but it doesn't detract from the story, and the content is otherwise tame enough for tween readers who enjoy paranormal novels. Add in a fun cast of secondary characters, including a talking dad and a ghost dad, as well as numerous twists and turns, and they all add up to an extremely entertaining and highly readable novel.
Rachel Steen is the Elementary/YA selection manager at S&B Books in Mississauga, ON.
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