Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thrillers Galore!

Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough | July 10, 2012 | Candlewick Press
The Shadow Collector’s Apprentice by Amy Gordon | February 1, 2012 | Holiday House
The Night She Disappeared by April Henry | April 10, 2012 | Henry Holt and Company
Ghosts of the Titanic by Julie Lawson | February 1, 2012 | Holiday House

Thrillers galore! A boy unwittingly caught up in a shadow-stealing plot, a group of teens trying to make sense of a classmate’s disappearance, a good old-fashioned ghost story set in present day and on the Titanic, and kids, a cemetery, and a truly terrifying monster make up this group of Spring 2012 releases. 

The books can easily split into two groups, grouped by the quality of the writing and the stories –Ghosts of the Titanic and Long Lankin undeniably outshine The Shadow Collector’s Apprentice and The Night She Disappeared. Using believability as one barometer – after all, a good thriller thrills because, whether fantasy or realism, it seems so real, the reader could be the next victim – and literary merit as the other allows a full consideration of these texts.  

Shadow attempts to tell a good story, but there are so many holes, unanswered questions, and randomly placed diary-excerpt interruptions to the third-person narrative, it doesn’t work. And while Night has a promising start, it relies on a same-old, same-old kidnapping plot with over-dramatic teenage heroism to save the day. 

In contrast, Lankin and Ghosts provide tight plot lines, clear descriptions, and puzzle-piece mysteries that come together with appropriate pacing that cause the reader to gasp and exclaim with fear or delight as each discovery unfolds. 

Don’t let the cheesy cover of Ghosts discourage potential middle-grade readers. Recommend Lankin to older readers, who may cower in their beds after meeting Long Lankin in the graveyard. Take a pass on Shadow and Night

See my full reviews of Long Lankin and Ghosts of the Titanic.

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