cover image The Stars Did Wander Darkling

The Stars Did Wander Darkling

Colin Meloy. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-301551-7

In this aesthetically eerie novel by Meloy (The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid), set in 1987 Oregon, it’s up to a quartet of friends to save their small seaside town when a real estate development awakens a long-buried evil. The plan was to build a resort in place of the long-vacant Langdon House, a Victorian-era legacy of Seaham’s founding family—until excavation reveals the nearby promontory to be permeated with holes. Thirteen-year-old Archie Coomes, whose father owns the construction company, is looking forward to a fun summer with friends Athena, Chris, and Oliver, including a much anticipated camping trip. But odd occurrences soon arise: an elderly woman mutters “They shoulda left it hid,” local adults act strangely out of character, and Oliver’s “unexplained episodes” turn into increasingly vivid visions. All that coupled with the arrival of three poetry-spouting newcomers in old-fashioned suits, and the friends find themselves delving into the town’s history and the true nature of the mounting threat. Evoking 1980s adventures such as The Goonies, and referencing horror flicks of various eras via the town’s resident sage—owner of a Betamax-only video store—Meloy constructs an oddly ambiguous menace within a nostalgic summertime adventure involving cinematic chase sequences, uncanny occurrences, and psychological unease. Characters cue as white. Ages 8–12. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.)