Harper Raine, 12, feels unsettled in her family’s new house in Washington, D.C.—especially in her four-year-old brother Michael’s oddly cold room. Michael’s new imaginary friend, Billy, seems harmless at first, but when Michael starts acting strange and lashing out violently, Harper begins to reconsider the rumors of the house being haunted. With the help of a newfound friend, Dayo, Harper explores the house’s troubled history and delves into her own past, questioning her missing memories about a school fire and an accident that left her with multiple broken bones. Occasional entries from Harper’s “Stupid D.C. Journal” provide insight into her feelings about the move, the creepy goings-on, and her resurfacing memories. Her estranged Korean grandmother, who lives nearby, grounds the supernatural aspects of the story in family and tradition, and the mysterious events that led to Harper’s accident and the family’s move are skillfully employed, offering an engaging reprieve from the eerie events in Harper’s house. Oh has crafted a truly chilling middle grade horror novel that will grab readers’ imaginations. Ages 8–12. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/08/2017 Release date: 07/25/2017 Genre: Children's
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