In Victorian-era Philadelphia, 16-year-old Eleanor Fitt worries more about “hungry and dangerous” reanimated corpses than about parasols and corsets. In this first book in a trilogy, debut author Dennard deftly weaves together a vast plot involving social status, spirits, zombies, necromancy, romance, and pseudoscience. Eleanor’s brother, Elijah, never returns home from New York City, instead sending a cryptic letter ripe for deciphering. As the dead rise and acquaintances are murdered, Eleanor fears for Elijah’s life. Looking for answers, she sneaks off to find the Spirit-Hunters, a group of eccentric teenagers, at the 1876 International Centennial Exhibition. Meanwhile, Eleanor’s mother is trying to marry her off to wealthy and connected Clarence Wilcox, but feisty Eleanor can’t shake her nagging feelings about him—or about a ragtag Spirit-Hunter genius named Daniel. In a swirling, rib-tickling story, Eleanor displays both good sense and the bravery to fight evil and remain free from the tyranny of high society. Blending historical fiction, horror, romance, and mystery, Dennard creates a roaring—and addictive—gothic world. Ages 13–up. Agent: Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/09/2012 Release date: 07/01/2012 Genre: Children's
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