The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street

304p. S. & S./Aladdin. Oct. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481477048.
Gr 4–6—Tessa is wildly disappointed that her family has to relocate from Florida to Chicago right before the start of seventh grade. Despite the hardship of leaving sunny weather and her best friend behind, she determines to support her dad in his new job and tries to acclimate to her surroundings. Immediately after moving into their ramshackle older home, strange things begin happening. Crying is heard in the night, the house turns icy cold, and her brother's ventriloquist dummy appears to be shedding real tears. Tessa confides in a few welcoming classmates, and together they work to uncover exactly what is going on in the house on Shady Street and who, or what, is reaching out to Tessa. Their research includes fact-finding missions to the library and a graveyard, where some strange weather patterns make for a terrifying time. Balancing goose bump—inducing frights with relatable scenes of the friends navigating middle school, sibling relationships, and family issues makes the book scary but not horrific. Tessa, like her mother, is an artist and seeing events through her creative perspective adds an interesting element to the narrative.
VERDICT . Give this page-turner to readers seeking a spooky thrill reminiscent of books by Mary Downing Hahn and filled with strong family relationships, budding friendships, a local history, mystery, and creepiness.

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