At a Glance
Middle grade horror mystery
“Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone.
“Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad’s ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.
“Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something…and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late.” (source)
- Spook factor
- Relatable character
- Science element
I was very excited to get a review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgally. Spooky middle grade is my jam, so I was hopeful for this book. And I can honestly say that it delivers on a the creepiness. I often read late at night after everyone else is asleep, and I often found myself checking over my shoulder I crept to bed after reading this book. I definitely don’t think it was too scary or anything. But the images in conjured definitely made me think there’d be a ghost behind me in the bathroom mirror.
I also enjoyed Claire’s character. I have a ten year old daughter who is always telling me how “cringey” I am. I can see how kids will relate to Claire’s embarrassment of her dad’s obsession with ghosts. The friendship tug-of-war is an evergreen topic that I think that the author does well in this book, although I feel like it resolves a bit abruptly. But I guess that’s sometimes how it happens in real life too.
Claire is very scientifically minded. It was fun to see how she used the scientific process to figure out that she was being haunted as well as how to solve the mystery behind the ghost. I also liked the real Chicago history that is woven into the story. It made me want to visit Chicago and go on an actual ghost tour.
If you like ghost stories with a good mystery to solve, I would recommend Scritch Scratch!
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Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie