Field Guide to the Supernatural Universe

S. & S./McElderry. Mar. 2022. 352p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534498235.
Gr 4-7–Twelve-year old Max has been seeing ghosts all his life, which has caused him no end of trouble. At school he’s a social pariah, and his continual “incidents” with the paranormal may have influenced his parents’ breakup. After a chaotic last day of sixth grade (which resulted in a viral video of him destroying a classroom), his father decides to send Max to stay with his grandfather, Ramhart Woodbead, at his mansion. Ramhart is known as “the Indiana Jones of the supernatural world” and authored the paranormal encyclopedia Field Guide to the Supernatural Universe. Max is initially angry at these summer plans, but realizes that the guide might hold the key to ridding himself of his unique abilities. Ramhart, however, has other ideas and begins training Max to take over the family duties of guarding graveyards, battling ghosts, and keeping the veil between the worlds secure. Max is immediately thrust into all sorts of wild and near-fatal adventures, discovering that his role in all of this was foretold in a prophecy. Will Max rise to the challenge set before him and take up the family mantle, or will he deny his destiny and risk the consequences? Narrated by Max in a droll, self-deprecating voice, this middle grade paranormal adventure by the award-winning Noël (the “Immortals” series) is irresistible. Sure to satisfy, the plot contains a cast of colorful characters including bogeys, school bullies, zombies, a monkey king, and a craven Chupacabra. Max is cued as white.
VERDICT A captivating and diverting read with loads of action and humor, with a bonus lesson about accepting who you are. Recommended for purchase.

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