PERIL AT PRICE MANOR, by Laura Parnum, HarperCollins, Aug. 8, 2023, Hardcover, $19.99 (ages 8-12)
Three tweens join forces to defeat zombifying octopus-like creatures in Peril at Price Manor, by Laura Parnum.
Halle dreams of becoming a scream queen. She practices her loudest scream every day and has learned a lot from studying the horror movies of her favorite director, Maximus Price. Maximus lives just outside town, and when the chance to go to his home arises, Halle grabs it with both hands. She doesn’t realize that real life horrors await her at Price Manor.
Paisley and Argyle, Maximus’s twin children, think that the creepy, squid-like creatures that have attached themselves to the faces of the manor’s staff, putting them in a zombie-like stupor, are just another one of their prankster dad’s tricks. When Halle arrives and is attacked by one of the creatures, she meets the twins and assures them that this is no joke. The three kids will have to work together using all of their unusual talents to defeat the monsters—and maybe even save the world. —Synopsis provided by HarperCollins
Author Laura Parnum knows how to do middle-grade horror well. Peril at Price Manor has a silly-scary vibe that works well with kids who don’t really want to be scared with violence and gore but enjoy a Goosebumps-like tale.
Parnum’s writing is bright and conversational, making it a comfortable read for both her intended audience and grownups who we’ll enjoy reading it aloud as well.
The story is told from all three kids’ viewpoints, adding depth and color throughout. And it is great fun to have the kids solve the problem rather than rely on adults. There’s a lot of growth here as they learn their own strengths.
Peril at Price Manor is a quirky read that should appeal to a large cross-section of readers.
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