FICTION

Spirit Hunters

288p. HarperCollins. Jul. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062430083. POP
COPY ISBN
Gr 4–6—Harper Raine suffered through a series of accidents but has no memory of them. She and her family have just moved to Washington, DC, but this is no fresh start: Harper begins hearing rumors that their new home is haunted. Is that why her little brother Michael is acting so strangely? The mysteries build into a truly frightening thriller, with some brutal scenes that may scare more sensitive readers not familiar with horror tropes. A spirit attacks Harper by throwing her down the stairs and stabbing her with a toy truck. In a memorable scene, the walls pulse with dark liquid and a ghost presents himself as a rotting corpse. The straightforward, direct language tempers the drama, though it occasionally results in stilted dialogue. For instance, Harper's new friend Dayo invites her to eat "jerk chicken with rice and callaloo, which are delicious Jamaican stewed greens." Dayo's Jamaican background and Harper's Korean culture aren't the main subjects of the story, but they add depth. Harper's pride in her grandmother's Korean traditions helps her defeat the house's evil spirit, and she learns that racial divisions can exist even after death: the white ghosts in a segregated graveyard don't trust a ghost who is buried in the neighboring African American graveyard.
VERDICT This mystery thriller infused with diverse characters and intriguing themes will appeal to horror fans and to reluctant readers who enjoy a good scare.

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