Stranger Things meets The X-Files in this eerie, heart-pounding middle grade adventure about a young boy and girl who must protect their small town from otherworldly forces threatening to destroy it. Rae's father vanished without a trace--and Rae knows what happened to him. But no one believes her when she says that her father didn't run off, that he was actually taken. Now, a year of therapy later, Rae's mother decides they need a fresh start, and so they move to a new town in the hope that life can return to normal. The problem is, there is nothing normal about the town of Whispering Pines. No one knows this better than Caden. He's lived in Whispering Pines his entire life, and he's seen more than his fair share of weird--starting with his own family, as the town is the perfect home base for his mother's ghost hunting business. When several kids go missing and then show up like zombies with their eyes removed, many locals brush it off. Just another day in Whispering Pines. But Caden has a dark secret, one that may explain why someone is stealing eyes. And Rae, who knows how it feels to not be believed, may be just the person Caden needs to help him put things right.
- Hardback | 320 pages
- 147 x 211 x 25mm | 417g
- 01 Sep 2020
- Margaret K. McElderry Books
LANG, Heidi & Kati Bartkowski. Whispering Pines. 320p. S. &S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. Sept. 2020. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534460478. Gr 4-8-Twelve-year-old Rae Carter arrives in Whispering Pines, CT, determined to appear normal. No asking people if they believe in aliens and no mention of her dad's disappearance from a secret government lab. The fact that her neighbor Caden Price's family are ghost hunters doesn't help her, nor do the strange disappearances of children. Even worse, when children do reappear, their eyes are missing. After Rae's new friend vanishes, Rae, Caden, and their friend Vivienne decide to investigate. Caden has his own experience with the supernatural; he accidentally trapped his magic-hungry brother Aiden in another dimension. Add in a suspicious green energy plant and the feeling that supernatural creatures dog their every step, and the result is a spooky story with mystery elements. The chapters alternate between Rae and Caden in third-person limited perspective. Both children are such underdog loners that readers will feel immediately sympathetic, especially as Rae and Caden's families don't seem to support them emotionally. The chilling preface where the eye-snatching demon hunts its prey, as well as other unusual settings, enhance the book's dark tone. One might wish this series opener--ending on a cliffhanger--didn't have quite so many different story threads, but perhaps they will be untangled in future installments. VERDICT Like "Goosebumps," but for an older audience, this book seems custom made for kids who like a good scare. A high appeal horror suitable for middle grade and tween readers. Recommended for most libraries.-Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Lib. Assoc., CT--School Library Journal "August 2020"
About Heidi Lang
Heidi Lang managed to stumble upon the two best jobs in the world: writing for kids and walking dogs. If she's not out on the trails surrounded by wagging tails and puppy kisses, she's probably hunched over her laptop working on her next book. She lives in northern California with her husband and two adventure-loving dogs, and she is the coauthor of the Mystic Cooking Chronicles and Whispering Pines. Find her on Twitter @HidLang, or visit the website she shares with her writing partner at HeidiandKatiWrite.com. Kati Bartkowski was originally drawn to illustration before she got swept up in the world of words. Nowadays she's a fan of creating fantastical creatures and feisty heroines in both mediums. If she's not reading, writing, or drawing, she's probably chasing after her high energy little girl. She lives in northern California and is the coauthor of the Mystic Cooking Chronicles and Whispering Pines. Find her on Twitter @KTBartkowski, or visit the website she shares with her writing partner at HeidiandKatiWrite.com.