To Break a Covenant

Page Street. Sept. 2021. 320p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781645672067.
Gr 9 Up– No one ever leaves Moon Basin, where an ongoing coal mine fire keeps raining ash on Old Town. The mine affects residents and visitors, calling them in like a demented siren and generating strange events that draw in paranormal shows. Clem, Nina, and Lisey live in New Town, built right next to Old Town. The summer of their senior year, they meet Piper and her dad, who was hired to assess the coal mine for potential collapse. They join her and her dad on a trip into the mine, against their better judgement. They find themselves haunted by strange dreams and experiences afterwards. Circumstances require them to return to the mine where they realize something has entered their psyches. They can either flee or fight it. Clem tells their story, and is open about being a lesbian. Transcripts of tapes and interviews from various ghost hunting shows are interspersed throughout and provide more history and perspective on Moon Basin, its residents, and visitors. Nina is Latinx, Piper African American, and Lisey is described as pale and waiflike. The residents are described as white and working class. The community of Moon Basin is united in its fear of the mine; they are its hostages.
VERDICT A good first purchase for fans of subtly paced horror or Shirley Jackson.

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