Mysteries and the Paranormal


Don’t miss reading the highly recommended Midnight Reynolds and the Spectral Transformer by this month’s featured author, Catherine Holt. And for those students who just can’t get enough paranormal mysteries, here are some more suggestions.


The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks

From start to finish, this book is full of clever tricks, getaways, and mystery. I was intrigued from the beginning and enjoyed every detail of this fast-paced story. A boy is found in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and does not remember anything about himself. The police temporarily house him with a kind woman and her talkative daughter, Camille. While he does not remember his name or his past, they soon realize he knows all about art! They return to the art gallery where he was found and become drawn into the world of art forgery, art history, deception, and the mystery of who the boy really is. The book is filled with references to historical places and figures, important artists, and works of art. There are no illustrations, but most works of art that are mentioned have an accompanying QR code. At times there seems to be a lot going on in the story, but in the end it all wraps up nicely. Readers of Blue Balliett will enjoy this mystery, along with fans of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. While the children in the story are not yet teenagers, they are smart and clever, and this book will appeal to a wide age range. (Reviewed by Sarah Kershaw)


The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma Trevayne

This highly suspenseful story will have readers hooked by the end of the first sentence. Thomas Marsden helps his father in the family business of grave robbing; he digs up the grave of a boy who looks exactly like him, and a note for Thomas with tickets to the theatre. Thomas begins a journey to find out who, or what, he is and if he can save the fairy world from certain extinction. The story is compelling and keeps the reader wanting more through the skillfully written plot that takes one on a journey of wonder, exploration, pain, sadness, and heroism. The ending will leave the reader hoping for a sequel. The plot offers enough realistic fiction and fantasy to satisfy fans of either genre. Right from the start, this story will capture the reader’s attention and keep it throughout the story. (Reviewed by Jessica Thompson)


Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones

In 1880s London, ghosts roam the streets. They often visit the Constable & Toop funeral parlor to ask favors from exasperated 14-year-old Sam, who can see and hear the dead. Sam soon finds himself entangled in a dangerous ghostly plot. An exorcist is at work in the city, leaving the buildings vulnerable to the otherworldly Black Rot and to the summoning of demons. An inept clerk dispatched from the Ghost Bureau inadvertently unleashes a serial killer. A bumbling but clever cast of spirit and human collaborators must work together to fight the crime spree and set things right. Both spine-chilling and raucously funny, this ghostly Victorian mystery knits humor and horror into a lively supernatural escapade for confident readers. (Reviewed by Jenny MacKay)


Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman’s first original graphic novel is an amazingly fun and exciting story set in various locations and time periods throughout the world. Teenager John Blake and the crew of the Mary Alice are part of an experiment that has gone terribly wrong. Because of this, they are living a nomadic life traveling through the past, present, and future. One day they save a teenage girl who has been lost at sea. In order to get her home, they need to find a way to reach the present while avoiding the rich and mysterious Dahlberg, who is intent on learning the secrets the Mary Alice. This graphic novel has it all: a debonair and intelligent protagonist; an evil antagonist; a mysterious, time-travelling ship from the past; a crew of misfits from several time periods; and a plot in which they have to save a shipwrecked girl, themselves, and the world. With wonderful new characters and a fast-paced story illustrated to perfection, this title is sure to be embraced by graphic novel and sci-fi adventure fans alike. Hopefully this is just the first of many stories featuring John Blake and his exploits. This book is a must-have for any library and classroom. (Reviewed by Chris Dexter)


A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

Pram Bellamy is a unique eleven-year-old living with her Aunt Nan and Aunt Dee. Pram has never been told the story of her mother, and is intrigued with the prospect of finding her seafaring father. Pram can see and speak to ghosts. Her best friend is Felix, a ghost who resides in Pram’s yard. Pram doesn’t have any real friends until she meets Clarence Blue at school. Clarence is looking to communicate with his deceased mother. Pram and Clarence hope to find answers. Unfortunately, they are led to the evil spiritualist, Lady Savant, who will do anything to get what she wants. The story is part mystery, part supernatural, part thriller, and many parts entertaining. The characters are well-developed and it’s easy to become invested in Pram, Clarence, and Felix. The exceptional descriptive writing is free flowing as the storyline leads the reader on a roller coaster ride. (Reviewed by Nick Petrosino)

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