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Readers Advisory: The Book of Bad Things by Dan Poblocki

Scholastic Press, $16.99 hardbound, ISBN-10 0545645530, August 2014

When Cassidy Bean leaves New York to spend the summer upstate, she’s disappointed to find that Whitechapel is not the quiet, pleasant suburb she remembers. Ursula Chambers, the strange old hermit at the end of the cul-de-sac, has passed away under mysterious circumstances. And the townspeople are shocked to discover that Ursula was a hoarder: Her farmhouse is teeming with stacks of newspapers, piles of furniture, mounds of antique dolls and taxidermy animals. Cassidy watches as the people of Whitechapel descend upon Ursula’s farmhouse, claiming her abandoned treasures for their own. She listens as rumors spread that Ursula’s vengeful ghost is stalking the town with a warning from beyond the grave. And when Cassidy resolves to uncover the truth behind the strangeness, she learns there are more bad things in the world than she ever suspected. . . .

TRASH ZOMBIES.

Okay, I needed to get that off my chest.

I can’t guarantee kids are going to find this story scary. What scares one person silly just makes the next person laugh. However, since I read the book while staying in a guest room that had entirely too much stuff in it, I found it awfully creepy and only read it during the daytime. Character development is minimal, but scary/gross plot development is plentiful. As a creepy bonus, heroine Cassidy writes in her “Book of Bad Things” and the entries appear between chapters. Anything she considers bad is fair game: home invasion, curses, and so on. The entries add depth and soften the reader up for more terror.

Recommend to: Horror fans of the tween and young teen variety

To buy or not to buy: A solid choice for public library middle grade/young teen collections

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