Monday, October 4, 2010

Book Review: Joy of Spooking - Unearthly Asylum by PJ Bracegirdle

Joy of Spooking is back, this time in a bid to prove that favorite author E.A. Peugeot wrote his horror short stories about her beloved Spooking, a fact that would surely bring much needed capital into the town before it crumbles entirely. Meanwhile, Joy’s nemesis, Mayoral Assistant Octavio Phipps has his eye on appropriating Spooking’s insane asylum for his own dastardly purposes.


FIENDISH DEEDS, the first book in this middle grade series, holds a special place in my heart as my first ever requested review copy (in only my 3rd month of blog reviewing). In my review, I gush about the writing and the well-rounded villain and declared it one for my all time favorites shelf.

UNEARTHLY ASYLUM is a sequel, but it could also very well be read as a standalone. Both the writing and the plotline strike me as very sophisticated for the middle grade bunch, so it’s probably best enjoyed by precocious readers with an appetite for the weird and spooky (but not outright scary).

Being one of the few children from Spooking, Joy has always been a loner at her school in cookie-cutter perfect Darlington. And now that her brother Byron has found a friend (the off-putting Gustave), Joy is grumpier and more withdrawn than ever – so much so, her mother decides to put her in therapy. The novel gets off to a slow start as it seems to revel in Joy’s isolation and prematurely crotchety behavior. Fortunately, this section is pepped up by the ever-engaging Mr. Phipps, with his hilarious mix of groveling and snarls.

Once the insane asylum plot kicks into full gear, it is back to intrepid Joy we know and love, complete with Byron back at her side. The story is less reality-based this time around and ventures into a decidedly paranormal realm. It will be interesting to see what becomes of Spooking in the promised third installment of the series SINISTER SCENES (due Summer 2011).

UNEARTHLY ASYLUM is out now in hardcover. Find out more about the series at the author’s website.

8 comments:

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like the perfect book for this time of year!

Lenore said...

haha! Very true!

Staci said...

This one sounds really very cool. I'm going to have to mark them both down as future purchases for my middle school library.

Charlotte said...

I've added this to my list of books I'm hoping will be nominated for the middle grade sci fi/fantasy Cybils, so that I can read it this fall with a clear conscience!

Sandy Shin said...

I haven't read a lot of MG novels lately, but this seems like a perfect one to read -- especially around October. :)

Elise said...

That is an utterly fantastic cover!!

Zibilee said...

Weird and spooky sound great to me, so I am going to have to check out this series! Thanks for the heads-up!

Kristen M. said...

Definitely seems like a good fit for my tastes. I'll look for these soon!