Review of Shadow Grave

Shadow Grave Shadow Grave
by Marina Cohen
Intermediate    Roaring Brook    288 pp.   g
5/22    978-1-250-78300-4    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-1-250-78301-1    $9.99

As his younger sister, Lola, loves to point out, twelve-year-old Arlo is afraid of everything. He has significant reasons to be anxious: his mother has just recovered from cancer; his father (divorced, with a new family) hardly seems to notice him and Lola; and now he, Lola, and their mom are stuck in a weird old-fashioned town after a car accident. Livermore is quaint, with a tiny schoolhouse and open hearths, but behind the vintage allure lies a sinister thread that Arlo picks up on right away. Why is there no cell service? Why don’t the townsfolk use electricity? And why do they keep whispering behind closed doors? Arlo must convince Lola and Mom to leave Livermore before it’s too late and they learn, perhaps fatally, what nameless horror the town had awakened over a century ago. Equal parts spooky and charming, the story offers plenty of suspense and relatable ties to real-world difficulties. Arlo, Lola, and Mom form a heartwarming triangle of familial loyalty and dogged optimism. Even if readers have worked out the mystery before the story’s denouement, the promise of Arlo’s growth into bravery will keep pages turning until the very end.

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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