­Viking. Aug. 2021. 240p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593206782.
Gr 4-8–Is there anything creepier than a possessed doll? How about one that begins as a cracked and dirty head with a single gleaming green eye but does not end that way. One that whispers to Antonia and Lucy, and can makes things happen—bad things. Lucy and Antonia are sisters, but they are very different. Lucy lives her life in middle school by her personal code, which means she talks to no one and keeps her head low to avoid the bullies and whispers. Antonia walks to the beat of her own drum and collects odds and ends that she finds including Hush-a-bye, the doll head found on the riverbank. As the school year starts, Antonia insists that Hush-a-bye speaks to her. At first Lucy doesn’t believe her. But as time passes she can no longer ignore the events that keep happening whenever the doll is around. She can’t ignore the whispers she begins to hear, or the growing danger as Hush-a-bye changes and her missing parts appear slowly, making her whole and more powerful. Can Lucy save Antonia from the lure of the doll? Or will she be too late to save both of them? Mott’s deft prose and well-written characters will keep readers engaged from start to frightening finish.
VERDICT An age-appropriate, scary tale of sisters and the terrifying doll that haunts them. This is the perfect read for people who love the chill of terror running down their backs.

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