By Chris Grabenstein
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2008
Audience: Younger Teens
ZACK, HIS DAD, and new stepmother have just moved back to his father’s hometown, not knowing that their new house has a dark history. Fifty years ago, a crazed killer caused an accident at the nearby crossroads that took 40 innocent lives. He died when his car hit a tree in a fiery crash, and his malevolent spirit has inhabited the tree ever since. During a huge storm, lightning hits the tree, releasing the spirit, who decides his evil spree isn’t over . . . and Zack is directly in his sights.
This book was spooky. I was surprised by how dark it was. I loved how vivid the characters were. At one point, I was pretty sure almost everyone was a ghost. I liked the ending, too. I thought it was pretty grown-up for a children’s book but I didn’t mind that at all. Sometimes children’s books can be a bit more grown-up. I would have absolutely loved this book as an older kid or younger teen. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of Grabenstein’s books!