Joe Quinn’s Poltergeist

Candlewick. Sept. 2019. 80p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536201604.
Gr 6 Up–Almond and McKean’s latest graphic collaboration, based on a previously published story by Almond, centers on Davie, a teenager living in a small English village, whose dull summer is disrupted when the obnoxious Joe Quinn claims to have a poltergeist at his house. Rumors about the Quinns abound—that Joe’s father is a hit man and his mother is a Rolling Stones groupie. At the Quinn house, Davie witnesses dishes taking flight and breaking as he becomes involved in the family’s domestic dramas. As Davie struggles to determine if the poltergeist is real, he must also come to terms with the death of his sister, his impending adulthood, and the realization that adults are often as clueless as children. The connection between adolescence and poltergeist activity is not new territory, but this book offers a fresh take on the subject, in large part thanks to McKean, whose mixed-media illustrations evoke the kinetic energy of supernatural activity and teenage angst. Most of the art is full page, but when McKean uses panels, they mirror Davie’s confusion. Deftly exploring each sides of a seemingly supernatural scenario, Almond once again creates compelling characters torn between facts and beliefs in their search for the truth.
VERDICT A visual delight and a witty approach to those adolescent moments that push past the boundaries of the rational world

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