The crossroads

Chris Grabenstein

Book - 2008

When eleven-year-old Zack Jennings moves to Connecticut with his father and new stepmother, they must deal with the ghosts left behind by a terrible accident, as well as another kind of ghost from Zack's past.

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jFICTION/Grabenstein, Chris
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New York : Random House c2008.
1st ed
Item Description
Sequel: Hanging hill.
Physical Description
325 p. ; 22 cm
Main Author
Chris Grabenstein (-)
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* If Grabenstein's first YA book were to receive a one-word review, the word would be Coooool, a term that applies in a variety of  ways from the book's cover image (a face peering out of the bark of a tree) and its hitchhiking, hot-rodding ghosts to its creepy atmosphere, believable story, and suspense that engulfs readers from the very first page. Even the characters are cool, including contemporary, doo-wop, and even Dickensian types. Grabenstein, who has won the Anthony Award for his adult mysteries and whose writing career encompassed writing for television and work for the Muppets, brings a great sense of timing to this mysterious fright ride. Zack Jennings, a kid uprooted after his mother's death and his father's remarriage, sees a leering face in a gnarled tree in the park near New York City's American Museum of Natural History. A move to Connecticut doesn't extricate Zack from evil apparently lodging in trees. Readers soon learn that at a crossroads just behind Zack's new home there's an oak tree capable of branching out into murder and a number of dissatisfied ghosts that prey on passing motorists. An absorbing psychological thriller (the ghost of Zack's malevolent mother plays a part), as well as a rip-roaring ghost story, this switches points of view among humans, trees, and ghosts with astonishing élan. Expect lots of requests.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2008 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-The Crossroads (Random, 2008) is adult mystery author Chris Grabenstein's first book for middle school readers. Zack Jennings, 11, has moved to North Chester, Connecticut, with his father and new stepmother. Before Zack's mother died from cancer, she blamed Zack for her unhappiness and seemed to haunt him from her grave. Now things appear to be looking up. Zack has a shy affection for his lovely new stepmother and is pleased with their new home which sits at the crossroads of County Route 13 and State Highway 31 and has room for a dog and a tree fort. Zack befriends Davy, a farmer's son, and learns that the crossroads was the site of a tragic bus accident which took dozens of lives 50 years ago. Ghosts, some benevolent, others malevolent, begin appearing. Zack becomes the target of one particularly nasty ghost. Narrator J.J. Myers keeps the suspense level high with smooth interpretations for the sympathetic characters and sinister voices for the evil beings. This ghost story is sure to please Goosebumps fans.-Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Horn Book Review

In this atmospheric horror tale, eleven-year-old Zack must defeat evil forces that have been at work ever since a tragic car accident scarred his small Connecticut town fifty years ago. Grabenstein's solid mystery, eccentric characters (including a sympathetic stepmother), and intriguing ghosts (both good and evil) generate consistent suspense. The book's dark themes and violence won't appeal to the faint of heart. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Ghosts vengeful and benevolent, evil possession and dark secrets from the past all figure in this suspenseful page turner destined to grab reluctant readers, especially boys, and R.L. Stine fans. When 11-year-old Zack Jennings moves with his father and new stepmother from New York City to rural Connecticut, he becomes the target of a hateful old woman and the ghost of her 1950s sweetheart, now a body-possessing demon bent on wreaking vengeance on Zack's ancestor by murdering the boy. Brief, fast-paced action chapters, tight plotting, several murders and a sympathetic main character keep things moving, as long-buried clues to the mystery of a tragic accident are revealed with some help from kindly phantoms. One friendly ghost in particular may come as a surprise. Fans of the genre won't mind some of the implausibilities; they'll keep reading. (Fiction. 10-12) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.