Watch Hollow

illus. by Matthew Griffin. 256p. HarperCollins/Harper. Feb. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062643452.
RedReviewStarGr 4–7—Ever since their mother died of cancer two years earlier, the Tinker kids can't seem to catch a break. Lucy, the youngest, is always in trouble, choosing to throw punches rather than roll with them. Her older brother, Oliver, is forced to be the grown-up in the family and deal with the frustrating fluctuations in voice and complexion that come with puberty. To top it all off, the family business, Tinker's Clock Shop, is on the verge of bankruptcy. Nothing seems to go right. So when help comes in the form of Mr. Quigley and his jingling pouch of gold coins, everyone is excited but wary. All the Tinkers have to do to earn their salvation is fix the gigantic cuckoo clock that is the source of power for Blackford House, a once-grand home tucked deep in the mysterious woods of Watch Hollow. But, of course, it isn't as easy as all that. The house and the woods have terrible secrets, and Lucy and Oliver, along with a group of magical, wooden clock animals, must ultimately confront the monster in the woods that seeks to destroy Blackford House and the Tinkers along with it. All the characters are well defined, from Lucy's rebellious nature to Oliver's frustrating struggle with becoming a man both literally and figuratively; all the characters come across as real and three-dimensional. The sense of loss that permeates the family is balanced nicely with the feeling of hope and purpose that comes along with Mr. Quigley's proposal. There is magic, there is good and evil, and there is love all woven into a suspenseful and entertaining mystery. This book will find its way into the hands of tweens who couldn't stop reading Jonathan Auxier's The Night Gardener or the "Grimm" series by Adam Gidwitz.
VERDICT A well-crafted story that should be a hit with readers who enjoy a a good scare.

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