Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Today's read... 1-2-3-4, I Declare a Thumb War by Lisi Harrison and Daniel Kraus

 Today's read screams spooky...just right for the approaching Halloween season. I love the graveyard flair on the cover right alone with those nerdy glasses and girl power. Or girl spook? Since I was more than curious to see what this has to do with a thumb war, there was no way I wouldn't take a peek at these pages. Of course, from under a blanket with a flashlight during the middle of the night. (Okay, not the middle of the night, but we can all dream?)

This one released just a few days ago, just in time for the cooler, darker nights.

Graveyard Girls, #1
by Lisi Harrison and 
Daniel Kraus
Union Square Kids
Middle Grade Horror
284 pages
ages 8 to 12

Meet Whisper, Frannie, Sophie, Gemma, and Zuzu, five friends who tell eerie tales by night and navigate middle school drama by day.
MISERY FALLS, OREGON, IS ABUZZ AS the 100th anniversary of the electrocution of the town’s most infamous killer, Silas Hoke, approaches. When a mysterious text message leads the girls to the cemetery—where Silas Hoke is buried!—life can’t get any creepier. Except, yes, it can thanks to the surprise storyteller who meets them at the cemetery, inspires the first-ever meeting of the Graveyard Girls, and sets the stage for a terrifying tale from Whisper that they’ll never forget.
This slightly scary, extremely addictive story is the first in a five-book series by New York Times bestselling authors Lisi Harrison and Daniel Kraus.



The ghost of an executed murderer, spooky tales, and a spunky group of 5 girls mix steering through school drama with dangerous paranormal for a fun and chilling read.

Five best friends have formed a ghost-story club, which meets every few weeks so that they can share the scariest tales with each other. More or less. Add that it's time for the town's annual historical celebration of the brutal killer's, Silas Hoke, execution, and chills are guaranteed. That is until the friends receive a strange message, requesting them to meet at the graveyard. Now, the ghost stories are more real and dangerous than any of them had hoped.

Spooks and chills run high in these pages with enough leans to the dark-side to delight young, horror fans. There are some scarier moments with a step into brutality...after all, Silas Hoke was not a gentle murderer. Still, it's nothing more than the average reader at this intended level can handle. It does keep the tension high and holds enough surprises to keep those pages turning until the end. Even then, the ending leaves the reader wanting to know what will happen next. Luckily, there's more to come, since this is only the first in the series.

The tale reads smoothly as it switches between six points of view: each of the five friends and the mysterious ghost. Each chapter starts with the name of the character to help keep things from growing confusing, and this works quite well, especially since each one has their own interests and personality to keep them differentiated, anyway. It did take a few chapters to get a handle on each one, though, since there are also many side-characters involved. But once I got into the swing of things, it was actually helpful and engaging to approach the story from the various views. Plus, each of the five girls has other problems they are dealing with.

While the ghost, danger, and chills race the story forward, there's also quite a bit of school drama. Each girl has their own, very usual problems with family and friends. The ghost, while present from the very first chapter, seems to sit on the sidelines for the beginning half of the book before stepping up his game later on. But that doesn't hurt the tension. The individual problems of the girls not only builds each of their personalities but makes each one easier to connect with...and builds background for the story to let the chills sit even better later on. Those, who hate school drama, though, might find this aspect a bit much.

This is a fast-read with something happening on every page. It's very character driven and never lets a boring moment seep in. The balance of school drama with chills will probably entice a broad range of readers, especially since it does dive into creepy well. Especially the lower end of the middle grade audience will want to pick up this one to get ready for the spooky season.

And here they are...

Lisi Harrison, the queen of teen comedy, has written 37 YA and middle-grade novels including Monster High and the #1 New York Times bestselling series The Clique, which has sold more than eight million copies. Lisi launched two new middle-grade series in 2021, Girl Stuff and The Pack. She lives in California. Visit her at
Daniel Kraus is a New York Times bestselling horror author and co-author of both Trollhunters and The Shape of Water with Guillermo del Toro. His work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. Daniel lives in Illinois. Visit him at

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