FICTION

Out of the Wild Night

320p. glossary. Scholastic. Mar. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545867566.
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POPGr 4–7—A lyrical, suspenseful ghost story and a love letter to Nantucket. A windless November has settled upon the shores of the island, as Mary W. Chase awakens from the afterlife to fulfill the role of Town Crier and narrator. One night, mysterious footprints shuffle ashore, piquing the interest of the children on the island. These ghosts have returned in response to renovations of historical island houses, an effort headed by the sneaky Eddy Nold. Phee, her grandfather Sal, and friend Gabe, along with the other members of the North End Gang, conspire to help the ghosts in preventing the renovations. Soon, the increasingly violent nature of the ghost's actions become alarming. Balliett's vivid descriptions and stunning prose capture the sense of place extraordinarily, casting Nantucket and its rich lore as a character itself. Back matter consists of an authentic Nantucket recipe and glossary of old language. The clever technique of a ghost narrator will appeal to many, yet the meandering plot with several deviations and the introduction of various nonessential tertiary characters require the sustained attention of sophisticated readers. Plenty of spooky scenes punctuate the story and a surprising twist at the end will have readers flipping back through the pages to revisit the clues buried deep within Balliett's nuanced descriptions.
VERDICT Hand this to strong readers who enjoy being transported to another place and who love old ghost stories.

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