What Lives in the Woods
by Currie, Lindsay

Ginny is unhappy when her family moves from Chicago to upstate Michigan for the summer; her father has a job restoring a 1930s mansion, but there are rumors about Woodmoor and the forest next to it: rumors about strange mutant creatures; Ginny, an aspiring mystery writer, is soon half convinced that the rumors are true, because something or someone is haunting the house-and she plans to investigate, with the help of Will, the older boy who lives nearby.

When it comes to Saugatuck, Michigan, the question isn't so much what lives in the woods, but rather, what lives in Woodmoor Manor? As bad luck would have it, 12-year-old Ginny has a whole month to figure that out, as her family will be staying in the clearly haunted old mansion while her father works on restoring some of its rooms. Although Ginny's upset about having to miss a mystery-writing workshop for this trip, it doesn't take the Agatha Christie-obsessed tween long to realize that Woodmoor has its own mystery that needs solving. Currie (Scritch Scratch, 2020) throws all the frightfully fun trappings of haunted-house tales at readers, who will soak up the stormy nights, town rumors, exploding light bulbs, creeping shadows, unsettling whispers-and let's not forget the mannequin in the bedroom. Ginny teams up with her older brother and a kid from town to do some ghost hunting and good old-fashioned sleuthing, ultimately discovering that empathy can go a long way toward healing the past's injuries. Light horror for larger collections. Grades 5-9. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

A tween who is obsessed with Agatha Christie moves into a haunted house. Twelve-year-old Ginny Anderson and her older brother, Leo, are less than thrilled to be spending a month of summer vacation away from their Chicago home. They are relocating to Saugatuck, Michigan, for their historical restoration expert father's research. Ginny will be missing the mystery writing workshop she's been looking forward to, and Leo doubts there'll be many basketball courts in the sleepy town. Oh, and there's one more thing: The fancy historic house they'll be staying in might be haunted. Saugatuck residents whisper of mutant creatures concocted by a long-ago mad scientist roaming the surrounding woods, and everyone avoids the place. It doesn't take long for Ginny to encounter some spooky situations, but with the help of a new local friend, Will, she is on the case. The setup is familiar and the tone consistent with other middle-grade spook books, but the novel really shines when it spends time with Ginny as she works out the manor's mysterious past; she is a swell character, shaded enough to feel genuine. The mystery is exciting but a bit uneven: There's a lot of buildup, with occasional thrills and chills before the investigation begins, but the reveal comes so quickly readers may be forgiven for assuming there'll be a last-minute twist. Regardless, the scares are real, the resolution satisfying, and a sequel would be welcome. Main characters are presumed White. A thrilling read with an engaging protagonist. (Mystery. 9-13) Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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