cover image The Stitchers (Fright Watch #1)

The Stitchers (Fright Watch #1)

Lorien Lawrence. Amulet, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4692-5

Following her policeman father’s untimely death, 13-year-old Quinn Parker vows to discover the secret behind the Oldies—a group of seemingly unaging elderly neighbors in whom her dad was interested. She’s convinced there’s a supernatural influence behind their youthful appearance; fellow seventh grader Mike Warren is certain it’s scientific. Their curiosity is particularly piqued when octogenarian Mr. Brown becomes a strong runner overnight—one who bears the exact same calf scar as Quinn’s late father. Determined to learn the truth, the intrepid pair delve into the long and eerie history of the neighborhood, entering into a fake relationship as “the perfect cover” for the time they spend together. But as they investigate, the Oldies take an increased interest in Quinn and Mike, adding extra danger to the case. With this creepy debut, Lawrence pits her heroes against a generational power imbalance and the unsettling, universally recognizable fear of aging. While readers may guess the Oldies’ true nature before the revelation, the antagonists are satisfyingly menacing, and Quinn’s struggles—grieving her father’s death, juggling friendships—ground this series opener, giving it a healthy dose of heart. Ages 10–14. [em]Agent: Kathleen Rushall, Andrea Brown Literary. (Aug.) [/em]