Review: 1-2-3-4, I Declare a Thumb War (Graveyard Girls #1)

Title: 1-2-3-4, I Declare a Thumb War (Graveyard Girls #1)
Author: Lisi Harrison and Daniel Kraus
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror, Paranormal
Publisher: Union Square Kids
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: September 6, 2022
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Meet Whisper, Frannie, Sophie, Gemma, and Zuzu, five friends who tell eerie tales by night and navigate middle school drama by day.
 
MISERY FALLS, OREGON, IS ABUZZ AS the 100th anniversary of the electrocution of the town’s most infamous killer, Silas Hoke, approaches. When a mysterious text message leads the girls to the cemetery—where Silas Hoke is buried!—life can’t get any creepier. Except, yes, it can thanks to the surprise storyteller who meets them at the cemetery, inspires the first-ever meeting of the Graveyard Girls, and sets the stage for a terrifying tale from Whisper that they’ll never forget.
 
This slightly scary, extremely addictive story is the first in a five-book series by New York Timesbestselling authors Lisi Harrison and Daniel Kraus.

Review:

Whisper, Frankie, Sophie, and Gemma are best friends who have a club where they tell each other scary stories. Their small town of Misery Falls, Oregon is having a celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of the electrocution of their most infamous serial killer, Silas Hoke. Just as the celebration week is about to begin, all of the girls get a mystery text, inviting them to the cemetery where Silas is buried. This sets them off on a scary adventure to find out of Silas has come back to haunt the town. 

This was a fun introduction to a new middle grade horror series. The friends were distinct and had their own subplots as well as the main plot. Many of them had problems with their families and issues at school. One of the big problems I noticed throughout the book was adults not listening to the children. I think that would be relatable because that’s a common feeling as a preteen or teen. 

The friends in this story made up their own scary stories to share with the group. There was one full short story in this book which was about technology addiction in kids. It was creepy and exaggerated, but definitely relevant with how much everyone is addicted to technology these days. 

1-2-3-4, I Declare a Thumb War is a fun and creepy story!

Thank you Union Square Kids for sending me a copy of this book.

What to read next:

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Hush-A-Bye by Jody Lee Mott

    Have you read 1-2-3-4, I Declare a Thumb War? What did you think of it?

    Review: Katzenjammer

    Title: Katzenjammer
    Author: Francesca Zappia
    Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Contemporary
    Publisher: HCC Frenzy
    Source: Publisher
    Format: Paperback arc
    Release Date: June 28, 2022
    Rating: ★★★★

    goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

    Goodreads Synopsis:

    Cat lives in her high school. She never leaves, and for a long time her school has provided her with everything she needs. But now things are changing. The hallways contract and expand along with the school’s breathing, and the showers in the bathroom run a bloody red. Cat’s best friend is slowly turning into cardboard, and instead of a face, Cat has a cat mask made of her own hardened flesh.

    Cat doesn’t remember why she is trapped in her school or why half of them—Cat included—are slowly transforming. Escaping has always been the one impossibility in her school’s upside-down world. But to save herself from the eventual self-destruction all the students face, Cat must find the way out. And to do that, she’ll have to remember what put her there in the first place.

    Review:

    Cat lives in her high school along with a bunch of other students. None of them are able to leave. The school expands and contracts like it’s breathing, and the showers pour with blood. Cat wears a cat mask that she can’t remove, and her best friend, Jeffrey, is turning into cardboard. Many of them are transforming into animals or inanimate objects. The problem is that Cat doesn’t know why or how they got there. As she slowly regains her memories, she discovers the events that led them there. 

    This story was very good but also very unusual. It was inspired by the story Metamorphosis by Kafka, in which the main character wakes up to discover he has turned into an insect. This story was complex and disturbing. It’s one of those stories that I can’t say much about without spoiling it. 

    There were some disturbing scenes, but that’s expected with a horror. There was a lot of trauma experienced in the present story, along with bullying in Cat’s memories of the before time. The one thing that I didn’t like at the end was that there were a lot of questions left with open ended answers. I prefer it when everything is answered at the end, but that’s just my preference. 

    Katzenjammer is a suspenseful, high school horror story!

    Thank you HCCFrenzy for sending me a copy of this book.

    What to read next:

    Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

    We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

    Have you read Katzenjammer? What did you think of it?

    Review: Small Spaces (Small Spaces #1)

    Title: Small Spaces (Small Spaces #1)
    Author: Katherine Arden
    Genre: Middle Grade, Horror
    Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
    Source: Purchased
    Format: Paperback
    Release Date: September 25, 2018
    Rating: ★★★★

    goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

    Goodreads Synopsis:

    New York Times bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic

    After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think—she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price. 

    Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN. 

    Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.” 

    And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.

    Review:

    Eleven-year-old Ollie finds a woman about to throw a book into a river, so Ollie steals it before it can be destroyed. The book tells a story about a family who made a deal with “the smiling man,” who grants huge wishes for even larger prices. Then, Ollie goes on a school trip to a farm which turns out to be owned by the woman from the river. While her class is leaving the farm, their school bus is trapped in a mist. Ollie’s broken watch tells her to run and begins a countdown. She escapes the bus with two other students Coco and Brian. They end up in an alternate world where the story about “the smiling man” is true. The three friends must escape creepy scarecrows and get back to their home without making a dangerous deal.

    Ollie was a big reader and there were lots of references to classic children’s novels. Two books that were compared to their situation were Alice in Wonderland and The Chronicles of Narnia. In both of those stories, the children are transported to a fantasy world. The only difference in this one was that this was a creepy and scary world, rather than whimsical.

    This was quite a creepy story. It would be perfect for fall since it’s set in a forest and a farm. There was also a corn maze and lots of terrifying scarecrows. I will never look at scarecrows the same way again!

    Small Spaces is a creepy middle grade novel!

    Dead Voices by Katherine Arden

    The Hiddenseek by Nate Cernosek

    Other books in the series:

    • Dead Voices
    • Dark Waters

    Have you read Small Spaces? What did you think of it?

    Review: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe (Manga Classics)

    Title: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe (Manga Classics)
    Author: Edgar Allan Poe, Stacy King
    Genre: Manga, Horror, Short Stories
    Publisher: Udon Entertainment
    Source: Publisher via NetGalley
    Format: Ebook
    Release Date: October 17, 2017
    Rating: ★★★★★

    goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

    Goodreads Synopsis:

    The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe is a brilliant collection of some of his best-known stories: 
    The Tell Tale Heart (a murder’s haunting guilt), illustrated by Virginia Nitouhei
    The Cask of Amontillado (a story of brilliant revenge), and illustrated by Chagen
    The Fall of the House of Usher (an ancient house full of very dark secretes), illustrated by Linus Liu and Man Yiu

    Also included in this collection are The Mask of the Red Death (horrors of ‘the Plague’), as illustrated by Uka Nagao, and the most famous of all his poems, The Raven (a lover’s decline into madness), illustrated by Pikomaro. 

    Best read in a dimly-lit room with the curtains drawn, Poe’s brilliant works come to life in darkly thrilling ways in this Manga Classic adaptation.

    Review:

    This is a manga collection of some of Edgar Allan Poe’s best short stories. They include: The Tell Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, The Raven, The Mask of the Red Death, and The Fall of the House of Usher.

    These stories are some of my favourite short stories. They are all descriptive and have lots of imagery that translates well to illustrations. I loved revisiting these classic stories and seeing them illustrated for the first time.

    The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe (Manga Classics) is a great manga adaptation of his classic horror stories.

    Thank you Udon Entertainment for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    Jane Eyre (Manga Classics) by Charlotte Brontë, Stacy King

    The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, Stacy King

    Have you read The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe (Manga Classics)? What did you think of it?

    Review: White Smoke

    Title: White Smoke
    Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
    Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Thriller, Contemporary
    Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
    Source: Purchased
    Format: Hardcover
    Release Date: September 14, 2021
    Rating: ★★★★★

    goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

    Goodreads Synopsis:

    The Haunting of Hill House meets Get Out in this chilling YA psychological thriller and modern take on the classic haunted house story from New York Times bestselling author Tiffany D. Jackson!

    Marigold is running from ghosts. The phantoms of her old life keep haunting her, but a move with her newly blended family from their small California beach town to the embattled Midwestern city of Cedarville might be the fresh start she needs. Her mom has accepted a new job with the Sterling Foundation that comes with a free house, one that Mari now has to share with her bratty ten-year-old stepsister, Piper.

    The renovated picture-perfect home on Maple Street, sitting between dilapidated houses, surrounded by wary neighbors has its . . . secrets. That’s only half the problem: household items vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows walk past rooms, voices can be heard in the walls, and there’s a foul smell seeping through the vents only Mari seems to notice. Worse: Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone.

    But “running from ghosts” is just a metaphor, right?

    As the house closes in, Mari learns that the danger isn’t limited to Maple Street. Cedarville has its secrets, too. And secrets always find their way through the cracks.

    Review:

    Seventeen-year-old Marigold and her family move from their home in California to a Midwestern small town where her mom has accepted a job that includes a free house. The rest of the houses on the street are abandoned, and the neighbours in the area are suspicious of everything. As soon as they arrive, things start going wrong in the house. Doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows appear in hallways and items disappear. Mari’s ten-year-old stepsister starts talking to an imaginary friend in the house, who wants Mari to leave. As the incidents in the house increase and become more dangerous, Mari has to do whatever it takes to save her family.

    This story had some heavy subjects that I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t think there would be as many realistic elements as there were. Some of these serious subjects were drug addiction, overdose, and a severe allergic reaction. Though this was a spooky horror, there were a lot of realistic implications to the story.

    I really enjoyed this story. I liked that the ending made sense and was logical. The only thing that I would have liked to see was justice at the end. There were many layers of destruction happening in the community, and I would have loved to see the events after the story finished where they got what they deserved.

    White Smoke is a thrilling horror story!

    The Girls Are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh

    Horrid by Katrina Leno

    Have you read White Smoke? What did you think of it?

    Review: Sawkill Girls

    Title: Sawkill Girls
    Author: Claire Legrand
    Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Fantasy
    Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
    Source: Library
    Format: Ebook
    Release Date: October 2, 2018
    Rating: ★★★

    goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

    Goodreads Synopsis:

    Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep. He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.

    Who are the Sawkill Girls?

    Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

    Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

    Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

    Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

    Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

    Review:

    Zoey has lived in Sawkill with her father, the police chief, for a couple of years. Marion has just moved there, when she has an accident and falls off a horse. Val, a popular girl who Zoey has never trusted, helps Marion recover. Girls have disappeared from Sawkill for decades, without a trace. Zoey’s best friend disappeared after becoming friends with Val, so Zoey thinks that Val is involved in the disappearances. When more girls disappear, and Zoey starts finding strange things around her house, she decides that she must end this cycle of missing girls.

    This story followed the points of view of Zoey, Val, and Marion. Zoey was fairly new to the town, only moving there a couple of years before. Marion was a newcomer to the town, but Val’s family had lived there for generations. The town itself was a character as well, with an extensive history.

    The story started out as a horror/thriller, with girls going missing. The last half of the story turned more science fiction and fantasy. I didn’t like this twist in the story, because it didn’t seem realistic. At first, it was creepy because it seemed like something that could happen in a small town. I was disappointed in this second half and the ending of the story, because it wasn’t what I expected.

    Unfortunately, Sawkill Girls didn’t live up to my expectations.

    What to read next:

    The Girls Are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh

    Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain

    Have you read Sawkill Girls? What did you think of it?

    Review: The Girls Are Never Gone

    Title: The Girls Are Never Gone
    Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
    Genre: Young Adult, Horror, LGBT
    Publisher: Razorbill
    Source: Publisher via NetGalley
    Format: Ebook
    Release Date: September 7, 2021
    Rating: ★★★★

    goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

    Goodreads Synopsis:

    The Conjuring meets Sadie when seventeen-year-old podcaster Dare takes an internship in a haunted house and finds herself in a life-or-death struggle against an evil spirit.

    Dare Chase doesn’t believe in ghosts.

    Privately, she’s a supernatural skeptic. But publicly, she’s keeping her doubts to herself—because she’s the voice of Attachments, her brand-new paranormal investigation podcast, and she needs her ghost-loving listeners to tune in.

    That’s what brings her to Arrington Estate. Thirty years ago, teenager Atheleen Bell drowned in Arrington’s lake, and legend says her spirit haunts the estate. Dare’s more interested in the suspicious circumstances surrounding her death—circumstances that she believes point to a living culprit, not the supernatural. Still, she’s vowed to keep an open mind as she investigates, even if she’s pretty sure what she’ll find.

    But Arrington is full of surprises. Good ones like Quinn, the cute daughter of the house’s new owner. And baffling ones like the threatening messages left scrawled in paint on Quinn’s walls, the ghastly face that appears behind Dare’s own in the mirror, and the unnatural current that nearly drowns their friend Holly in the lake. As Dare is drawn deeper into the mysteries of Arrington, she’ll have to rethink the boundaries of what is possible. Because if something is lurking in the lake…it might not be willing to let her go.

    Review:

    Dare doesn’t believe in ghosts, despite having a podcast called Attachments where she’s investigating the paranormal. She takes an internship at Arrington Estate, a house that is haunted by the ghost of Atheleen Bell. Dare suspects that the circumstances of Atheleen’s death aren’t supernatural, though that is the rumor. Dare becomes friends with Quinn, the daughter of the new owner of the house, and Holly, another intern. They’re all pulled into the mystery of the house, with ghost sightings and messages left on walls. Dare has to figure out the truth of what’s going on, before the ghost claims another victim.

    Dare was a great detective for the story. She was drawn to this ghost story to investigate for her podcast. I liked that even though she was interested in this story, she was a skeptic. That made it even more convincing that something supernatural was happening when she started to suspect there was a real ghost. I would have loved to see more transcripts of her podcasts throughout the story to hear what she was reporting on.

    I can’t comment much on the ending without giving anything away. I will say that it was surprising. The reveal was kind of complicated, involving many generations of residents of the estate. The ending was surprising and a little sad.

    The Girls Are Never Gone is a great YA paranormal story.

    Thank you Razorbill for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    What to read next:

    Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain

    Horrid by Katrina Leno

    Have you read The Girls Are Never Gone? What did you think of it?

    Review: The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story

    Title: The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story
    Author: Charis Cotter
    Genre: Middle Grade, Horror, Fantasy
    Publisher: Tundra Books
    Source: Publisher via NetGalley
    Format: Ebook
    Release Date: August 31, 2021
    Rating: ★★★★

    goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

    Goodreads Synopsis:

    A creepy, mysterious dollhouse takes center stage in this atmospheric middle-grade mystery for fans of Doll Bones and Small Spaces.

    Alice’s world is falling apart. Her parents are getting a divorce, and they’ve cancelled their yearly cottage trip — the one thing that gets Alice through the school year. Instead, Alice and her mom are heading to some small town where Alice’s mom will be a live-in nurse to a rich elderly lady.

    The house is huge, imposing and spooky, and everything inside is meticulously kept and perfect — not a fun place to spend the summer. Things start to get weird when Alice finds a dollhouse in the attic that’s an exact replica of the house she’s living in. Then she wakes up to find a girl asleep next to her in her bed — a girl who looks a lot like one of the dolls from the dollhouse . . .

    When the dollhouse starts to change when Alice isn’t looking, she knows she has to solve the mystery. Who are the girls in the dollhouse? What happened to them? And what is their connection to the mean and mysterious woman who owns the house?

    Review:

    When she finishes school for the year, Alice finds out her parents are getting divorced and they’ve cancelled their yearly summer cottage vacation. Instead, Alice and her mother travel to a small town so that her mom can be a live-in nurse for an elderly lady, Mrs. Bishop. Alice becomes friends with Lily, a developmentally delayed girl, who visits the home while her mother cleans it. The girls find a dollhouse in the attic that’s a perfect replica of that house. When Alice goes to sleep that night, she wakes up in a dream with a girl next to her. In her dream, she sees a family who lived in that house from the 1920s, and who look just like the dolls from the dollhouse. Then, things in the dollhouse change when Alice isn’t there. Alice has to figure out what the connection is between her dreams and the dollhouse.

    This was a really creepy story. There were many similarities between Alice’s story and the story from the past in her dreams. There were train accidents in both stories. Alice’s friend Lily was developmentally delayed, and a girl named Bubbles was the same in her dream. The dollhouse was also an important aspect of the stories. Alice discovered it hidden away in the present storyline, but it was just being built in her dreams. Since the two storylines were quite similar, it was a little disorienting sometimes to figure out what was happening.

    There were some more mature themes than I expected in a children’s book. Alice was concerned about her parents getting divorced. In her dream, her friend Fizz was also afraid of her parents getting divorced, and she caused a rift between them. There were also references to alcohol abuse and the death of family members. These mature themes increased the tension in the story.

    The Dollhouse is a creepy ghost story.

    Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    What to read next:

    Coraline by Neil Gaiman

    Screech!: Ghost Stories from Old Newfoundland by Charis Cotter

    Have you read The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story? What did you think of it?

    Review: The Woods Are Always Watching

    Title: The Woods Are Always Watching
    Author: Stephanie Perkins
    Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Thriller
    Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
    Source: Publisher via NetGalley
    Format: Ebook
    Release Date: August 31, 2021
    Rating: ★★

    goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

    Goodreads Synopsis:

    A companion to There’s Someone Inside Your House.

    Bears aren’t the only predators in these woods.

    Best friends Neena and Josie spent high school as outsiders, but at least they had each other. Now, with college and a two-thousand-mile separation looming on the horizon, they have one last chance to be together—a three-day hike deep into the woods of the Pisgah National Forest.

    Simmering tensions lead to a detour off the trail and straight into a waking nightmare; and then into something far worse. Something that will test them in horrifying ways.

    Review:

    Best friends Neena and Josie want to have some special time together before they go away to college. They have never backpacked or camped before, but they decide it would be a nice chance to bond before they are separated. During their three-day trip, they venture off the hiking trail and fall into a nightmare. The woods are haunted by more than just bears.

    This book wasn’t what I was expecting at all. It was described as a companion to There’s Someone Inside Your House, which I loved. That book had more thriller aspects, but this one was gruesome and horrorific.

    What I found strange was that the real suspense didn’t actually begin until halfway through the story. The first half described their camping challenges in detail, which have assured me that I never want to go on a trip like that. The second half of the story was filled with gruesome horror scenes. It was quite disturbing at times. I only kept reading because I wanted to know what happened with the girls. The story didn’t end the way I had expected to, so I’ll give it credit for that.

    Unfortunately, The Woods Are Always Watching was a disappointing read.

    Thank you Dutton Books for Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    What to read next:

    Wildfire by Carrie Mac

    Have you read The Woods Are Always Watching? What did you think of it?

    Review: Hush-A-Bye

    Title: Hush-A-Bye
    Author: Jody Lee Mott
    Genre: Middle Grade, Horror
    Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
    Source: Publisher via NetGalley
    Format: Ebook
    Release Date: August 24, 2021
    Rating: ★★★★

    goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

    Goodreads Synopsis:

    A delightfully creepy story perfect for the middle school set! Hush-a-Bye is an old, broken doll found by Lucy and her sister in the woods. It seems to possess extraordinary powers, but will it use them for good or evil?

    Like most kids with younger siblings, Lucy loves her sister Antonia, but is all too frequently annoyed with her as well. The two spend most of their time together since their mother works so hard, but without friends Lucy can’t help but feel lonely anyway. She’s always tried to ignore the bullying and teasing at school about her family being poor—it’s always best to keep her head down and do nothing.

    When the girls find an old, muddy doll head in the river, Antonia claims it as her newest treasure. At night Lucy hears her talking to Hush-a-Bye—and does she hear the doll talking back? Soon, Hush-a-Bye seems to be protecting Antonia by making bad things happen to others, and it isn’t long before Lucy asks for its help against her tormentors, too. Slowly Hush-a-Bye’s influence forms a wedge between the sisters, and Antonia’s dependence on it becomes frightening. The doll has a mind of its own, and soon it will have Antonia’s as well. Can Lucy solve the mystery of Hush-a-Bye to stop its evil plans?

    Review:

    While seventh grader Lucy and her younger sister Antonia are exploring a river next to their trailer, they find a dirty old doll’s head. Antonia insists on bringing it home, despite Lucy warning her that they’ll get in trouble for bringing home garbage. That night, they hide the doll in the closet and Antonia starts talking to it. Then, Lucy thinks she hears the doll speak back. They name the doll’s head Hush-a-Bye after a song their mother sang to them as children. Antonia brings Hush-a-Bye to school, where she believes the doll is protecting her and doing things she tells it to do. However, Antonia begins acting differently and becomes obsessed with the doll. Lucy has to figure out how to stop Hush-a-Bye before she becomes too powerful.

    This story is perfect for the spooky fall season. A doll’s head without a body can be creepy enough, but when it starts to behave on its own and control a child, it becomes even scarier. The doll was able to communicate with Antonia and Lucy, and also caused conflict between the sisters. It was such a disturbing toy.

    There were some serious subjects in this story. Lucy and Antonia had an abusive father, who was mentioned but didn’t appear in the novel. Their mother moved them away from him, but she had to work constantly to make enough money for them to live. This meant that Lucy and Antonia had to look after themselves a lot, which led to them finding the possessed doll’s head. Though Lucy and Antonia had faced many tough challenges in their young lives, the ending was hopeful.

    Hush-a-Bye is a creepy middle grade novel!

    Thank you Viking Books for Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    What to read next:

    The Hiddenseek by Nate Cernosek

    Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

    Have you read Hush-A-Bye? What did you think of it?