Monday, September 5, 2016

MMGM: Shadow House #1: The Gathering by Dan Poblocki


ABOUT THE BOOK

You don't just read this ghost story. You step into it. Some houses are more than just haunted... they're hungry.

Dash, Dylan, Poppy, Marcus, and Azumi don't know this at first. They each think they've been summoned to Shadow House for innocent reasons. But there's nothing innocent about Shadow House.

Something within its walls is wickedly wrong.  Nothing -- and nobody -- can be trusted. Hallways move. Doors vanish. Ghosts appear. Children disappear.

And the way out?

That's disappeared, too...

Enter Shadow House... if you dare.

Don't just read about Shadow House -- explore its haunted depths with the free app!

REVIEW

Scholastic has started another two part book series with this first horror book by Dan Poblocki.  Admittedly, this is the first one I've taken a serious look at, including both book and app.  The story starts off with a bang as Poppy defends herself against another girl in her orphanage and ends up in the headmistress's office where she finds a letter from her supposed Aunt Delphinia.  Each of the other kids also ends up with messages that lead to Lancaster House offering them something they want.  Marcus and Azumi expect to find a school, Dash and Dylan expect to find a horror movie in the making.  Unfortunately, when they arrive, all they find is a spooky house, and the ghosts of children wearing masks.  As they continue to explore the house, they soon discover that nothing is the way it appears and they may not be able to get out again.  Interestingly, each child brings him/her a unique experience that haunts them.  The book is intriguing and bound to catch the interest of middle grade readers who like scary stories.  Interestingly, the picture (yes there are black and white illustrations that seem to be photographs that connect to the app) of the children wearing masks is the part that gave me the creeps.

The app provides additional information about the house and the children that used to live there, involving stories about some of the previous incidents that occurred there.  Each picture is connected to one such story.  Each story provides one or more opportunities to make a decision about where the story goes next and each decision affects the stories that come after.  So the 'game' can be played more than once with differing results.  I can see this book/app combination being quite popular in my elementary library, especially considering how often I get asked for scary books.  Now I have one more series that I can hand to them.



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