THE HAUNTING, by Lindsey Duga , Scholastic Press, Feb. 4, 2020, Softcover, $6.99 (ages 8-12)
These are books of my childhood. In fact, I don’t know any of my contemporaries who don’t remember these reads from Mary Downing Hahn.
Lindsey Duga’s The Haunting takes me right back to my childhood, curled under a blanket with a flashlight and squeezing a stuffed animal.
The Haunting stars 12-year-old Emily, an orphan who has never known anything other than cold loneliness. Emily has no hope of advancing past her current condition, she’s just too old, too plain to get adopted. Everything changes when the Thorntons, a young couple from London, choose Emily to join their family.
Emily soon finds herself at Blackthorn Manor, a grand estate with surprises around every corner. But not all surprises are good ones. As Emily explores the grounds and rooms, she meets Kat, a girl who seems to know everything about the estate, and strange things happen whenever she’s around.
As time passes, those strange things start to become less strange and more dangerous — a narrow miss with a toppled bookcase, shattering glass and erupting fire. Emily tries to explain what’s going on to her new parents, but they won’t listen. As Emily uncovers the Thorntons’ past, she may just be able to save her future.
The Haunting is just the right amount of creepy mystery for middle readers. Author Lindsey Duga’s prose is spot on for this genre. Emily is likeable and Kat’s unsettling behavior is perfectly balanced. I did figure out the mystery before the “big reveal” but that didn’t lessen my anticipation for the climax.
The Haunting is a fast-paced read that I finished in a day. It’s sure to be a hit with middle graders.
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