cover image What Stays Buried

What Stays Buried

Suzanne Young. HarperCollins, $18.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-0632-5712-2

In her middle grade debut, Young (the Girls with Sharp Sticks series) spins a high-stakes, fast-moving ghost story emphasizing intergenerational family connections. Twelve-year-old medium Calista Wynn inherited both her family’s gift for communing with the dead and the family curse that will cause her to lose that power on her 13th birthday, the age her aunt Virginia died. Dreading the approaching birthday, which will also strip her of the ability to maintain a relationship with her late father and grandmother, Calista encounters a new terror when Edwina Swift, the ghost of Virginia’s murderer, returns to exact revenge on the descendants of the town vigilantes who executed her. As Edwina abducts children and churns up a powerful dark spell, Calista races against her fading gift to stop Edwina before she can claim her next intended victim, Calista’s younger sister—the youngest Wynn girl with the family powers. Young employs spine-tingling horror tropes to drum up suspense, pitting a stock villain against a heroic magical family to drive the plot toward its reckoning. A consequential magic system facilitates explorations of grief and closure after loss. Characters default to white. Ages 8–12. Agent: Lane Heymont, Tobias Agency. (Mar.)