Haunted Hospital

Orca. Sept. 2020. 144p. pap. $10.95. ISBN 9781459826205.
Gr 4-6–Friends Xander, Li, Omar, and Priya love a good scare and the role-playing game Spirits and Specters. The teens get more than they bargained for when they choose a creepy abandoned hospital as the site for their next challenge. Is the building really haunted, or have the kids scared themselves with the stories they invent for the game? Chan’s narrative aims to engage readers, starting the action in the opening scene, then tossing in urban legends, tech gadgets, and snarky humor. The novel’s strongest feature is the well-crafted relationships between the four friends; their banter feels natural and their affection for each other genuine. Li’s analytical nature and Priya’s experience with being judged for her appearance make them standout characters. The action takes place primarily inside the dilapidated hospital, described in just enough detail to set the stage without slowing the story’s pace. A twist ending will have readers asking for more titles like this.
VERDICT This title is designed for those with reading challenges (dyslexic-friendly font, widely spaced lines of text, larger trim size), but it’s a treat for any young teen who loves action and mild frights.

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