cover image Read at Your Own Risk

Read at Your Own Risk

Remy Lai. Holt, $13.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-250-32335-4

Seventh grader Hannah Lee finds herself cursed after sneaking out of an assembly to the school’s supposedly haunted attic with her friends. Constructed as Hannah’s illustrated sketch diary, which is filled with drawings by Lai (Ghost Book) rendered in b&w with blood-red accents, Hannah notes all the strange things that begin happening to her following the game. In biology class, a knife slips out of her hand and lands “smack-dab in the middle of my forehead,” while further investigation of an itch in her gums reveals centipedes “scratching my jawbone tingly and torturous.” When the sinister force at play starts communicating with her via her journal, Hannah must find a way to expunge the evil presence or face dire consequences. But even as Hannah investigates, the curse taunts her: “You ungrateful brat.... Without the villain, there would be no obstacles, no opportunities for the hero to become a hero.” Lai’s fast-paced, body-horror-centric tale sets up an accessible and eerie mystery through which the protagonist grapples with spine-tingling terrors, uncovers previously hidden personal potential, and forms stronger connections. Character skin tones reflect the white of the page. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Aug.)