bookcover of MISTWALKER  by Saundra Mitchell

3.49 STARS from 194 GoodReaders

The Grey Man is here, my thoughts sang. 
The haze sharpened—it gathered. Like milk swirling into coffee, curves formed. Shades and shapes and angles, they became: black eyes, silver hair. A thin mouth, a sharp chin. A hand reached out to take mine. “I thought you would never come,” he said.

Willa Dixon's family are fishing folk. They live in a quaint little village where lobsters provide their livelihood. The family struggles to get along but are content until Willa's brother, Levi, is shot and killed.  Then her family slowly falls apart as the tragedy overwhelms them.

With the help of her best friend Willa might have been able to move past Levi's death if it weren't for the criminal trial. She and Levi were on the boat alone when a man came up and shot him. Willa is the only witness, although she isn't the only one who knows why the murder took place. The whole village knows. And the whole village is adamant about keeping the reason a secret.

In her grief and with the pressure of the trial mounting, Willa seeks out the Grey Man, a local ghost who is supposed to be able to grant your wishes. And he will grant her desire but only at a terrible cost.

MISTWALKER is a ghost story for middle-graders and young adults.  It is told from the point of view of the Grey Man and Willa, and while it has some very good elements, it is not a book I can whole-heartedly recommend. 

Now part of this book was brilliant. Saundra Mitchell's descriptions were delicious. I could feel/smell/taste the small fishing village, the lobstering, the worming.  And the way that Willa and her boy friend and best friend interacted was so believable. I truly wish that the author had just written about these peoples' efforts to work their ways through and out of this tragedy, rather than pursuing the ghost angle.

Also, the choice to tell the story from both points of view didn't work for me.  It diminished the sense of creepiness, but this wasn't as big a problem as the pacing, which was very slow at times. 

So this is a try-it and see book.  And one of those times where I have to admit that a younger person might enjoy this novel more than I.


by Saundra Mitchell

Reading Information:
Page Count: 320
no reading information currently available
--sample pages and reviews available


bookcover of  TESLA'S ATTIC  (The Accelerati Trilogy #1) by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman

Good characters, lots of humor, adventure...
... and Science!  
4.01 STARS from 170 GoodReaders

TESLA'S ATTIC is a smart, laugh-out-loud book from Neal Shusterman, Eric Elfman, and Disney-Hyperion. (At least I laughed out loud). 

It's a book that could have been written by Dan Brown, if he had Douglas Adam's sense of humor and ability to create engaging characters who had a wickedly sharp understanding of how the middle-school world churns. 

Back Story
After loosing his mother in a horrible house fire, Nick and his brother and father move from Florida to Colorado Springs where they take up residence in a weird old house.  In the attic there are a bunch of devices which they believe are old junk.  And since they need the money they decide to sell them at a garage sale.

What they don't know is that these are devices created by none other than Nikola Tesla, the famous physicist/inventor. And when Nick turns on a light to brighten the rainy day, events get bizarre very fast.  Crowds rush in, and items are scooped up by people who are apparently overwhelmed with a desire to buy them.  Items which they are destined to own.
As he looked around at this boneyard of uselessness, Nick Slate had a simple idea. An idea that would not only change the direction of his life, but the very course of human existence.

He would hold a garage sale.
In some ways this story is familiar.  It's like other middle-grade books were there is a group of young teens that find themselves facing off against an ancient organization of bad guys. But there's also a significant difference between this book and the others. And that is that Shusterman and Elfman do it right.  TESLA'S ATTIC is intelligent and carefully plotted.  They create imperfect characters and give them time to explain and express themselves.

I recommend this book for those that like quirky characters and weirdness.  The humor is geeky and pedantic.
Nick took a deep breath, his resolve setting in.  "We have to destroy it," he said. "We have to destroy them all."

The scorched-earth policy is a time-honored tradition of war.  Villagers about to be overrun by the enemy would burn their own homes and crops to deny the enemy shelter and food.  Armies would destroy their own munitions to prevent their attackers from using their own weapons against them.

The Russians used this strategy very successfully against a very irritated Napoleon, burning everything they had and retreating into Russia.  And since there was no end of Russia to retreat into, Napoleon was pretty much screwed.


(The Accelerati Trilogy #1)
by Neal Shusterman (script writer for shows like Goosebumps, and books like UnWind, Everlost, and The Schwa Was Here)
and Eric Elfman (author of The Very Scary Almanac and The Almanac of the Gross, Disgusting & Totally Repulsive, and three X-Files novels)

Reading Information:
Word Count: 67,009
Page Count: 256
Accelerated Reader: 6.0 / points: 11.0
AR quiz: 16404

Thank you to Disney-Hyperion for providing me with an advanced copy of Tesla's Attic!