Sarah's Stars

Kelley Armstrong. The Summoning
Doubleday Canada  $14.95  ISBN 978-0-385-66534-6  392 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 14

The hands reached forward, clawing the dirt, then pulling the body along. I could see clothes, ripped clothing. The smell of dirt and something dank filled my nostrils.

I lifted the match higher. The thing raised its head. A skull stared at me, strips of blackened flesh and dirty encrusted hair hanging from it. Empty eye sockets turned my way. The jaw opened, teeth clacking as it tried to speak, uttering only that horrible, guttural groan.

"Help. Help me."

Chloe Saunders likes to think she leads a normal life even though her mother is dead, she hardly ever spends time with her father and, oh yeah, she sees ghosts. The aspiring film director didn't think her "dream" of seeing a ghost in her basement as a child could ever have been real but when a ghostly janitor with a melted, gruesome face shows up in the middle of the school hallway and tries to talk to her, Chloe freaks out and gets sent to Lyle House, a group home for troubled teens. But something doesn't seem right, especially when Chloe's ghost problem is diagnosed as schizophrenia. So what's really going on at Lyle House? Why do all of the residents there seem to have strange abilities that are "cured" with prescription medicines? And why would someone shoot at them if they tried to escape?

The first book in the Darkest Powers series is the world through the eyes of yet another sarcastic teenaged girl, but this world happens to have things like skeletons coming back to life, werewolves and psychopaths! The Summoning seems pretty average at first but if you keep reading, the spooky twists and turns will keep you hooked until the very last page. The characters aren't spectacular at all but their predicaments and powers are fresh and exciting in the sea of books geared towards teenagers. It's definitely not the first story of its genre, but Kelley Armstrong has a gift of putting a spin on something that seems dry and overdone. Fans of paranormal thrillers, ghost stories or even Meg Cabot's Mediator series will lap up the tale and I know I will definitely be clamoring for a sequel.

I give Kelley Armstrong's The Summoning four stars.

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