cover image 1-2-3-4, I Declare a Thumb War (Graveyard Girls #1)

1-2-3-4, I Declare a Thumb War (Graveyard Girls #1)

Lisi Harrison and Daniel Kraus. Union Square Kids, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4549-4454-6

An infamous killer targets a quartet of tweens in this ghost story–centered novel by Harrison (the Pack series) and Kraus (the Teddies Saga). A century ago, Misery Falls, Ore., PE teacher Silas Hoke, a former Marine with a wooden leg, was sentenced to the electric chair for murdering a student tormentor; every year since, the grisly legend has it, he returns to claim another girl. Now, the town annually observes Hoke Week to banish the murderer’s spirit—a tradition that’s also a significant tourist draw. But as Misery Falls gears up for the celebrations, meek-looking but outspoken sixth grader Willow “Whisper” Martin is more concerned with the Grim Sleepers—a monthly club she’s formed with her friends, who gather to share frightening yarns. When the club members receive an anonymous text inviting them to meet in the cemetery one school night, the event results in a genuinely frightening telling about the dangers of technology. Quick chapters alternate character perspectives—including Hoke’s menacing first-person voice—propelling the plot while providing insight into each tween’s personal turmoil around bullying, pressure to succeed, and more. Most characters cue as white. Ages 8–12. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts. (Sept.)