Burden Falls

Dial. Aug. 2021. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781984814562.
Gr 9 Up–In this standalone thriller, Ellis mixes spooky and mysterious with legend. In Burden Falls, myths and scary stories run wild, especially surrounding witchcraft and a mysterious ghost called Dead-Eyed Sadie, whom people have claimed to see. Ava has grown up here, and when misfortune strikes over and over for her, she starts to wonder if her family isn’t somehow cursed. When the body of a young girl with missing eyes is found in the Falls, questions and truths start to unravel wildly. Is the legend of Dead-Eyed Sadie true? Is there a connection between Burden Falls families and these new murders? Ava and her friends must work to unlock the secrets in this solid scary story that will keep horror fans engaged. The characters are well written and relatable to the true teen experience. The incorporation of the mystery into the murder elements is well done and keeps the pace fast. Ava and her experiences with grief and loss will also resonate with young people.
VERDICT A great scary story with an even mix of heart and blood. Recommended for all YA collections.

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