cover image The Keeper

The Keeper

Guadalupe García McCall. HarperCollins, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-307692-1

A move from Texas to suburban Oregon strains the close-knit relationship between Mexican American narrator James McNichols, 12, and sister Ava, 10. The transition is made even harder by the recent death of the siblings’ beloved abuelita, and the hard edge that’s crept into their ongoing prank war. Though the family is welcomed by new neighbors and encouraged to join the white community, ominous letters that reference an upcoming lunar event soon arrive addressed to James from “The Keeper,” warning that the boy must somehow prove his worth to keep his household safe. Already suffering from self-doubt in his new surroundings, the tween wonders if this is a deliberate attempt to make the family feel like outsiders, or if something otherworldly is afoot. James and Ava, establishing a temporary truce, race to uncover the frightening mystery of their new town. García McCall’s (All the Stars Denied) warmhearted tale of sibling courage interweaves moments of genuine horror with touching scenes of familial tenderness that help buoy this mystery through a meandering start to a tidy and satisfying end. Ages 8–12. Agent: Andrea Cascardi, Transatlantic Literary. (Jan.)