The Ghost Box, by Catherine Fisher

The Ghost Box, by Catherine Fisher

Genre: Middle School Fantasy / Reluctant Readers

Reason for Reading: In exchange for an honest review, this book was provided by Myrick Marketing & Media, LLC via Netgalley.

Synopsis: When Sarah discovers that the ancient tree outside her window is haunted by the ghost of a boy, she is both terrified and fascinated. The ghost boy gives her a beautiful old box and begs her to find a key to open it. But soon, Sarah’s pesky goth step-brother Matt is sticking his nose into her business. Can Sarah find a key to the box without Matt figuring out what’s going on? 

My Thoughts: This book was written specifically for middle-school-aged reluctant readers. I’d say the interest level / maturity is for a 10 to 12 year old, but it is second grade reading level. For that target audience, I think this is a wonderful  novel! The plot is just the type of story I loved reading when I was in the 4th grade, and the difficult dynamics between Sarah and her step-brother are something that a lot of kids this age will relate to. And, these dynamics end with a message of cooperation, teamwork, and new understanding. So there’s a great message to the story, too. If you are struggling to find books that are age-appropriate for your dyslexic child, I highly recommend this book. In fact, I wish there were a lot more books like this available. The more our reluctant readers enjoy their books, the more likely they are to become readers. 

Hunted, by Maggie Stiefvater


Hunted: Spirit Animals Book 2, by Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: Middle School Fantasy / Adventure

Reason for Reading: This is the second book in a so-far excellent series

Synopsis: (May contain slight spoilers for book 1). Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan hike across Eura on quest to capture the talisman of the Great Boar before the Conquerors get their hands on it. But the Conquerors have a few surprises up their sleeves – they are now able to force an unnatural bond between humans and animals! They now have the advantage of superior numbers of bonded warriors. In order for our heroes to survive, they must learn to trust one another and fight as a team. 

My Thoughts: This was an excellent follow-up to Brandon Mull’s Wild Born (reviewed here). The characters are developing – and so is the philosophy. In this book, our heroes struggle with trust. It’s a story of strengthening ones bond with friends – how such a bond can never fully be broken, even when trust fails. It’s a story about following your heart, even when your heart leads you astray from logic (a fitting theme given my thoughts on doubt last month!) I’m eagerly awaiting the third book in this series, Blood Ties, which comes out in March.

This is my first book by Maggie Stiefvater, and I’m eager to pick up some more now! I like the way this series is designed – with a different author for each book. That way, I am introduced to authors that I might otherwise never gotten around to reading. 🙂