cover image Last Stop

Last Stop

Peter Lerangis, Author Scholastic Inc. $4.5 (176p) ISBN 978-0-590-10996-3

Moving at a slower pace than the underground train that plays a pivotal role here, this cryptic tale launches Lerangis's (The Yearbook; It Came from the Cafeteria) Watchers series. Though somewhat skeptical, David shares his mother's hope that his father, who disappeared six months earlier, is still alive. Riding the ""subrail"" one day, David watches in amazement as the train suddenly stops at an eerily lit, long-abandoned station, where one man disembarks and another--the boy's missing father--waves at the train as it zooms away. When a woman who ""specializes in mysterious disappearances and the life in the hereafter,"" suggests that David has the ability to see into a parallel life, the 13-year-old senses that his father is indeed waiting somewhere for him. A concluding scene brings a fresh, unanticipated twist to this otherwise unsurprising story, as father and son do hook up, but only after much tiresome sleuthing by David and a friend. Occasionally, ambiguous remarks in white type appear on black pages (""We've lost him""; ""This was not part of the plan""; ""He's smart. That's why we need him""), suggesting the voices of the eponymous ""Watchers"" who appear to have some control over who enters the ""other side."" At ride's end, this isn't sufficiently compelling to warrant buying a ticket for Rewind, the next installment, also due this month. Ages 8-12. (Nov.)