cover image Scritch Scratch

Scritch Scratch

Lindsay Currie. Sourcebooks, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-72820-972-2

Chicago seventh grader Claire Koster, 12, appreciates the predictability and comfort of science—which is why her father, an author obsessed enough with creepy Chicago history to quit his job teaching history and start a ghost tour bus company, is driving her up the wall. Equally aggravating is watching her best friend and fellow science lover, Casley, slowly replace her with new girl Emily Craig, who likes makeup and clothes. But when Claire assists her father on a tour one night, she is startled to discover an unexpected passenger: a pale, dark-eyed little boy, “six, seven tops,” who just may be a ghost. Claire must soon acknowledge that not everything can be explained by science; she discovers a scrap of paper reading “396” after boy disappears, and more paranormal occurrences follow. Currie’s vivid descriptions of the spirit (“His dark eyes. His dripping clothes and bloodless face”) conjure a chilling atmosphere. Engrossing snippets of Chicago history ground the novel, with references to real-life locations, including Hull House and the sunken SS Eastland, “right at the intersection of LaSalle Street and Wacker Drive.” A spine-tingling blend of hauntings and history. Ages 10–up. [em]Agent: Kathleen Rushall, Andrea Brown Literary. (Sept.) [/em]