Wednesday, July 6, 2016

School of the Dead by Avi

School of the DeadMy name is Tony, and I may lose my soul on Halloween. My grandfather just died, but he really wanted me to attend the Penda School in San Francisco. I see his ghost there, and the ghost of the Penda Boy who died over a hundred years ago. The principal says I should stay away from Jessica, but Jessica says I smell like death and thinks the Penda Boy is trying to steal my soul. She says she'll help me enter a school tower on Halloween to kill the ghost once and for all, but she doesn't say how. Something about her scares me, and I wonder if she's actually working with the ghost. Why am I the only person who can see the Penda Boy? Why did my grandfather want me to come here, and what does seeing his ghost mean? Who can I trust? 

Eerie is a great word to describe this book. Like Tony, I had no idea which characters were lying and which ones actually wanted to help. The tension in the conflict never let up, because the uncertainty lasted until the plot neared its climax. The San Francisco fog helps too! Tony's thoughts changed as he got more information, but they always seemed logical at the time. Jessica, the principal, the teachers, and the ghost seemed to switch back and forth between helpful and dangerous characters. Many times I thought I had things figured out only to discover I may have been wrong. An unusual aspect of the plot was how Tony was pretty much on his own. This was strange considering the school was full of people trying to help Tony and make him feel welcome. This conflict reminded me of some old Lois Duncan novels, although a little less intense. It's an excellent supernatural mystery.

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