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Uncle Jed's Secret

Twelve-year-old Jason Hardwick loves to visit his Uncle Jed, especially because they share a deep love of video games and horror movies. But Uncle Jed’s wife passed away not long ago, and Uncle Jed is behaving differently from normal. He does not offer Jason his favorite meal, he openly scorns the video games and movies he and Jason used to enjoy, and he spends a great deal of time asking Jason about his relationship with God. When the unthinkable happens, Jason finds himself lost and alone, managing the events that have taken place alongside his apparent involvement in them. Jason must come to terms with what happened while simultaneously getting to the bottom of why his uncle is behaving so strangely if he ever expects his life to return to normal. This spooky younger middle grade short novel is an excellent tale for fans of the Goosebumps series and strange, inexplicable occurrences. While it is part of a series, all of the books can be read in any order; one book does not directly relate to any of the others. Newer middle grade readers will appreciate the pacing of this story along with the fact that the level of terror it includes is relatively minimal. Jump scares are not a primary feature of this story; instead, the fear factor comes from the unexplained behaviors Jason witnesses from people he knows and trusts. The narrative itself is built primarily upon dialogue and observation, and Jason recounts the story from a first-person perspective. Conversations around God and religion make their way into the story, which enhances some of the frightening elements of the story while giving readers a chance to consider what entities may have power and influence over human lives. Intriguing and slightly scary, this series is a natural next step for middle grade children after reading Goosebumps and other shorter, series literature.

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