Monday, June 20, 2016

Book Review: School of the Dead by AVI

I received a free physical copy of this book from HarperCollins via Goodreads Giveaways and was encouraged but not required to write a review. This in no way affects my review.

Title: School of the Dead
Author: AVI
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: June 21, 2016
Genre: Middle-grade, mystery 
Pages: 288
Source: Goodreads

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From Newbery Medalist Avi comes the spine-tingling story of Tony Gilbert, who must solve a mystery surrounding the ghost of his uncle Charlie. 

For most of Tony Gilbert's life, he always thought of his uncle as "Weird Uncle Charlie." That is, until Uncle Charlie moves in with Tony and his family. He's still odd, of course --talking about spirits and other supernatural stuff-- but Uncle Charlie and Tony become fast friends. Between eating ice cream and going to the movies, Tony is having more fun with Uncle Charlie than he ever could have imagined. 

So when Uncle Charlie dies suddenly, Tony is devastated. So sad, in fact, he starts seeing Uncle Charlie everywhere! Tony recently transferred to the Penda School, where Uncle Charlie went as a kid. The school is eerie enough on it's own without his uncle's ghost making it worse. On top of which, rumors have been circulating about a student who went missing shortly before Tony arrived. Could that and Uncle Charlie's ghost be related?

Full of twists and turns that get spookier by the chapter, School of the Dead is a fast-paced mystery that Avi's fans will devour!

My Thoughts: 
Tony doesn't think much of his 'weird' Uncle Charlie until his parents announce that he will be coming to live with them butTony and his Uncle quickly strike up a close friendship. Tony's parents are up for a change of jobs and scenery so when Uncle Charlie starts talking up his old school in San Francisco, they decide to make the move - but Uncle Charlie dies before they can. Tony misses his Uncle so terribly that he starts seeing him once they get to San Francisco. 
Tony doesn't believe in ghosts no matter how much Uncle Charlie used to talk about them and chalks the visions up to being memories - but on his first day to Penda School, he sees a boy in the window of the school's tower; a boy that looks a lot like the boy from a long past portrait of the woman who founded the school and her son who died. Is this boy a ghost? Why does he keep seeing him? Why does everyone in Penda School look so frightened and why won't anyone tell him what happened to the boy that he replaced? 
Tony is determined to find some answers and falls in with the Weird History Club; a small group of kids who also seem to be trying to find answers about the mysterious and spooky school. Tony soon finds that meddling in the past can have it's downfalls and sometimes, secrets are better left alone. 

School of the Dead is a mystery with a spooky setting, mysterious characters, and plenty of twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. 

Penda School has a history wrapped in death. The old building sets the mood for the story and gives it even more of a creepy vibe when you learn about the towers that students aren't allowed to go in and the hidden stairways that lead to them. Likewise, there are plenty of characters (and ghosts!) and the plot keeps you guessing just who is good and who is bad. 

Avi has written a great ghost story that is perfect to read around Halloween. It's sure to get you spooked and ready for the season! 

My Rating: 
4 stars

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