cover image The Haunted

The Haunted

Danielle Vega. Razorbill, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-451-48146-7

This spooky supernatural tale by Vega (the Merciless series) follows a well-trod horror arc: high school student Hendricks moves with her parents from Pennsylvania to a small New York town, where she senses a sinister presence in rambling old Steele House—the infamous site of a murder-suicide. The move follows Hendricks’s toxic relationship with her controlling ex-boyfriend, Grayson, whose behavior escalated into violence and stalking. Though Hendricks settles into a new social life quickly, with a cast of distinguishable characters, she wrestles with unease at the house and sees visions of Grayson’s reappearance. When Hendricks’s baby brother is physically attacked by a ghost, she approaches outsider Eddie, who lost both his siblings to Steele House. Vega’s narrative is at its best when Hendricks’s haunted past foreshadows and mirrors the paranormal events, raising questions about the impact of trauma on the present. The intrigue unravels into familiar scares and cinematic genre tropes (a child ghost with inky black eyes, a visit to a tarot shop), but Vega maintains psychological tension up until the uncertain conclusion, leaving enough loose ends to suggest a sequel. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Josh Bank and Joelle Hobeika, Alloy Entertainment. (June) [/em]