Thursday, December 28, 2023

Today's read... The Fall of the House of Tatterly by Shanna Miles

I had today's read on my schedule a few months ago, but it ended up accidentally slipping through the cracks. Yes, I have plenty of cracks surrounding my reading pile...something which probably isn't great to have around that many books but happens. So I was thrilled when it popped up again because I was looking forward to reading it. The thought of an old estate with ghosts and the boy on the cover along with the vegetation had me picturing all sorts of wonderful spooky situations. So, let's dive in and see if this book was worth the wait.

by Shanna Miles
Union Square Kids
Middle Grade Paranormal
280 pages
ages 8 to 12

Twelve-year-old Theo Tatterly’s ability to see ghosts is a useful skill in a house full of dead relatives, but it makes him a loner at school and everywhere else, where ghosts eternally pester him for help. For Theo, life is easier on the periphery. When his first failed exorcism portends an end to the Tatterly line, Theo must bring together his entire family—living and dead—to save the home they’ve lived in for generations . . . and maybe the world.

Author Shanna Miles’s story of magical modern-day Charleston crackles with unforgettable characters and pays homage to the city’s rich culture, folklore, and history.



Ghosts, demons, and unique family bonds create a read rich with atmosphere and a character to root for.

Theo has been left at the family estate while his mother deals with the death of his father. While Theo can't seem to fit in at school, the array of ghosts and his other family members keep him busy. Actually, it's his deceased aunts, which pester him the most. In any case, he does have enough to do thanks to his paranormal talents, which have him and his cousins dealing with all sorts of situations surrounding the afterlife. That is until things start getting strange, and he realizes that there's more to deal with them than any of them every expected.

I've been looking forward to diving into this one for quite some time, but the universe...maybe ghosts... delayed things a bit. Still, I'm glad I finally got to it. Theo is a super sweet guy with a big heart, tons of determination, and even more patience...and considering his ghostly aunts, he needs plenty of it. Better yet, he doesn't attack everything alone but finds support in his family. This adds a cushion of wholesome goodness to contrast the other problems he faces. Theo also has a lot on his plate as he deals with the absence of his parents and takes on ghosts, demons and more. With all of this going on, there's definitely excitement, surprises, tense moments, and emotions too. The entire array settles into a surprisingly easy read, which will especially work well for the younger end of the middle grade audience.

I enjoyed the hints of history and myth as they wove around a imaginative world. I adds a wonderful atmosphere. Still, it would have been nice to have a bit more depth on this end to tie it better together. While the ghostly and demonly threats are grabbing, the entire paranormal world stays blurred below the surface. The background and details to build the foundation aren't fleshed out as much as they need to be for older readers. Also, there are moments where the pacing slows down, but this does allow emotions to settle in and character depth to form. There are more than a few characters, which grab attention with their quirks and personalities.  

It's a fun read with humor, heart, creepy moments, and situations. Readers, who enjoy paranormal adventures and a touch of Southern myths, will have no trouble sinking in and getting lost in the adventure.

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