Grave Secrets

978-0-7653-3065-9. ea vol: (Deadtime Stories Series). Tor/Starscape. 2012. Tr $14.99; ebook $9.99. LC number unavailable.
Gr 4–6—Move over "Goosebumps," another horror series has entered the book world, and now it's a live-action film. In Grave Secrets, Amanda and her friends are convinced that their elderly neighbor, Mrs. Barns, is a witch. When Amanda finds a doll buried in her backyard, it tells her that it belonged to a little girl ghost named Anna, who was a childhood friend of Mrs. Barns. When it disappears, Amanda and her friends try to get it back for Anna, who says she cannot rest until her "baby" is returned to her. Humor and suspense are mixed into a heartwarming story about a lonely old woman and her troubled past. In Witching Game, the game Bloody Mary goes terribly wrong when performed in front of the antique mirror in Lindsey's room. She and her friends discover that their wishes all begin to come true, which sounds like a good thing until Lindsey's archrival collapses in pain and Lindsey gets the part in the school play she's been longing to have. Having wishes granted at the expense of someone else is not quite what Lindsey wants. When her parents become trapped in the mirror because she wishes they would go away and leave her alone, she and her friends have a major problem on their hands. Scary enough to be absorbing, but not so frightening as to produce nightmares, Witching Game also blends humor and suspense to create a seemingly real story with spooky effects. These titles are shivery but fun, quick reads, and the short chapters with cliff-hangers will engage even the most reluctant readers.—Kathy Kirchoefer, Prince Georges County Memorial Library System, New Carrollton, MD
New ed., 1997, Troll. Whether hunted by the local man-monster (Baskerville) or haunted by the spirit of a girl looking for her doll (Grave Secrets), the impetuous protagonists of each eerie tale face nightmares in these slightly updated reissues. While the novels rely too heavily on the formulaic conventions of the horror genre (elaborate cliffhangers, jolting plot twists), they succeed in raising hairs. Review covers these Deadtime Stories titles: The Beast of Baskerville, Grandpa's Monster Movies, Grave Secrets, Invasion of the Appleheads, Little Magic Shop of Horrors, and The Witching Game.

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