Title: Whispering Pines
Author: Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror, Science Fiction
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: September 1, 2020
A young boy and girl who must protect their small town from otherworldly forces threatening to destroy it.
Rae’s father vanished without a trace—and Rae knows what happened to him. But no one believes her when she says that her father didn’t run off, that he was actually taken. Now, a year of therapy later, Rae’s mother decides they need a fresh start, and so they move to a new town in the hope that life can return to normal.
The problem is, there is nothing normal about the town of Whispering Pines.
No one knows this better than Caden. He’s lived in Whispering Pines his entire life, and he’s seen more than his fair share of weird—starting with his own family, as the town is the perfect home base for his mother’s ghost hunting business.
When several kids go missing and then show up like zombies with their eyes removed, many locals brush it off. Just another day in Whispering Pines. But Caden has a dark secret, one that may explain why someone is stealing eyes. And Rae, who knows how it feels to not be believed, may be just the person Caden needs to help him put things right.
Rae’s father disappeared after making a disturbing discovery at his job. Her mother moved her and her older sister across the country to a small town called Whispering Pines after her father’s disappearance. Whispering Pines is a strange town that has people who walk goats, and a rule at the school that you can’t walk around with garlic around your neck. Rae moves in across the street from Caden, whose family has a ghost hunting business. Caden’s brother also disappeared, during a ghost hunting mission. Now more students are disappearing, and the ones who return are missing their eyes. Rae and Caden investigate what is happening in their town, before they disappear too.
This story reminded me a lot of Stranger Things. There is a large science laboratory in the town. One of the men who works there, Patrick, always seems to show up just when something goes wrong in the town. There seemed to be something supernatural happening, as well as some science experiments gone wrong.
I loved the quirky town of Whispering Pines. This setting was a character itself. It was named after the woods, that make a whispering sound in the wind. There were odd rules for the town, such as no wearing garlic. It was known for people walking their goats, which was also odd. These elements were strange but also funny.
I was so surprised at the ending. The epilogue started a new storyline for the next book, which sounds even more exciting than this one. I’m going to have a hard time waiting for the next book!
Thank you Margaret K. McElderry Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Last Pick by Jason Walz
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
About the authors:
Heidi Lang managed to stumble upon the two best jobs in the world: writing for kids and walking dogs. If she’s not out on the trails surrounded by wagging tails and puppy kisses, she’s probably hunched over her laptop working on her next book. She lives in northern California with her husband and two adventure-loving dogs, and she is the coauthor of the Mystic Cooking Chronicles and Whispering Pines. Find her on Twitter @HidLang, or visit the website she shares with her writing partner at HeidiandKatiWrite.com.
Kati Bartkowski was originally drawn to illustration before she got swept up in the world of words. Nowadays she’s a fan of creating fantastical creatures and feisty heroines in both mediums. If she’s not reading, writing, or drawing, she’s probably chasing after her high energy little girl. She lives in northern California and is the coauthor of the Mystic Cooking Chronicles and Whispering Pines. Find her on Twitter @KTBartkowski, or visit the website she shares with her writing partner at HeidiandKatiWrite.com.
Blog tour schedule:
- Monday, 10/26: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
- Tuesday, 10/27: Jill’s Book Blog
- Wednesday, 10/28: Little Red Reads
- Thursday, 10/29: Word Spelunking
- Friday, 10/30: YA Books Central
Have you read Whispering Pines? What did you think of it?