cover image H.O.W.L. High (Howl High ): H.O.W.L. High

H.O.W.L. High (Howl High ): H.O.W.L. High

Ellen Leroe, Leroe. Aladdin Paperbacks, $2.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-671-68568-3

Fourteen-year-old Drac, half-warlock, attends H.O.W.L. High--a Hollywood boarding school that focuses on student-produced horror movies. In a forthcoming project styled after a decades-old film series, Drac is cast in the leading role of Shadow Man. But the ghost of Rondo Orlac, the actor who starred in the part, is insanely possessive of the character. He'll stop anyone from playing it, and Drac must use ingenuity, magic and the assistance of classmate Lisa, a half-witch, to save himself from the vengeful apparition. Leroe's story is colorful and atmospheric, but her depictions of all the special-effects happenings slow the momentum. The one-note plot is stretched too thin, and Drac's friends--Wiz, the Count, Arnold and Fist--are indistinguishable from one another. The story is sparked, however, by the comedic touches in the dialogue and Drac's first-person narrative. Ages 9-13. (Sept.)