Monday, October 4, 2010
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 And now that her brother Byron has found a friend (the off-putting Gustave), Joy is grumpier and more withdrawn than ever – so much so, her mother decides to put her in therapy.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.