Nightbooks

J.A. White. HarperCollins/Tegen, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-256008-7
In this clever synthesis of One Thousand and One Nights and “Hansel and Gretel,” a boy captured by a witch must tell a different spooky story every night if he wishes to stay alive long enough to escape her clutches. But even though he has notebooks full of nightmare-inspired tales, Alex needs to come up with new material to appease his captor, whose impossibly large apartment is filled with lurking terrors. He finds a reluctant ally in Yasmin, a fellow captive, but even she may not be able to help him outwit the witch and return to the real world. Too bad he’s suffering from writer’s block. White (the Thickety series) skillfully interweaves Alex’s peril with the stories he tells, which possess a juvenile gotcha horror in their own right. (Possessed teddy bears, ghost-filled playgrounds, and vampires who steal reflections all make appearances.) The blend of folk and fairy tale elements works extremely well under the circumstances, and the protagonists share an enjoyable camaraderie as they attempt to thwart their common enemy. Despite the dark premise, the narrative never quite crosses the line into horror, making it a safe bet for younger readers. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM Partners. Ages: 8–12. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 07/24/2018
Genre: Children's
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-284198-8
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-256010-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-5385-5141-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-5385-5142-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-5385-5143-1
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-987143-40-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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