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Monsters in the Mist

For the past few months, thirteen year old Glennon McCue has been living with his sister and mother on the mysterious Isle Philippeaux in the middle of Lake Superior. His dad is teaching overseas, and because their grandmother has passed away, Glennon’s Uncle Job has offered to host his family through the semester. As the day of their departure grows closer, though, strange events begin taking place on the island, leading Glennon and his family to meet unusual characters even as a general feeling of wrongness settles over the isle itself. Ominous messages cause Glennon to investigate his surroundings more closely, and when it looks like the mysterious Waning may take place before they are able to depart the island, Glennon bravely seeks answers to his most pressing questions.

Due to the complexity and depth of the storytelling, this book is best suited to more confident upper middle grade and young adult readers, especially those who enjoy tales that examine layers of the human mental condition. From the very beginning of this book, beautifully descriptive writing makes each moment in the narrative tangible, especially as myriad inanimate objects are personified. The story begins slowly, much like the placidity of a lake in the calm before a storm hits. As more details come to light, the intensity of the narrative increases, buffeting readers in the gales existing both outside the isle and inside Glennon’s own mind. Readers are carried along for the ride, and they will be compelled to determine what is really going on and where the boundary between reality and fiction truly lies. Clues emerge from unusual circumstances within the novel that provide some insight into how the story will play out, but readers are primarily working alongside Glennon to discover the truth of his situation.

The stakes are high in this suspenseful upper middle grade novel. On its face, it is a spooky ghost story that incorporates ongoing feelings of danger and mystery throughout. Beneath this, though, is a sense of foreboding not just for the characters in Glennon’s immediate vicinity, but also for real players in Glennon’s life outside the isle. An author’s note at the end of the book speaks to the emotional abuse referenced throughout the novel, encouraging readers to seek support if they find themselves in a similar situation. The multifaceted approach taken in this novel transforms the story into one that can be interpreted at several levels and can, under the right circumstances, help guide readers toward healing. This is a powerful and thought-provoking novel for confident upper middle grade readers who enjoy novels with high-intensity storytelling.

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