Sarah's Stars

Chris Grabenstein. The Crossroads
Yearling $7.99 ISBN 978-0-375-84698-4 325 pg.
Reviewed by Jenny, Age 12

Judy stared at the list to make sure she saw what she thought she saw.

Bud Heckman, the driver, was a local, so the newspapers ran his photo in the column alongside the list. Judy recognized him immediately: the nice man who had told her how to change a flat tire. Her goose bumps sprouted goose bumps. No wonder she had met the helpful man so close to a graveyard.

Bud Heckman was dead.

Zack Jennings and his new stepmom, Judy, have each seen their fair share of ghosts! Zack, Judy, and Zack’s dad are moving to Connecticut on the crossroads of Route 13 and Highway 31. In Connecticut, there seems to be a fair number of strange people, starting with an old plumber named Billy O’Claire and his grandmother, Mary O’Claire. Mary just so happens to be the only survivor of the Greyhound Bus Accident on June 21, 1958. Also there is a creepy old woman who lives just down the street from Zack, Miss Gerda Spratling. Miss Spratling has been grieving her beloved Clint Eberhart ever since 1958. She’s been putting white flowers by a tree across from 13 and 31 for 50 years. Zack and his new bud, Davy, think that the tree is evil! This tree has been causing a fair bit of commotion! Some people in this strange new town believe that people don’t really die if they have unfinished business!

The Crossroads was a good book once you got past the first few chapters. I mean that the start was way too confusing. There were too many characters right off the bat, and I couldn’t figure out what they all had to do with the story. By the time you got to the middle of the book, all the characters seemed to finally take their place and connect with the story. There were definitely some parts of the book that were better than others. In some parts, the plot seemed to really slow down. The author used good descriptive writing in the story, so I had an active picture in my head of what was happening most of the time. The book came to an amazing finish, but it left me asking for more.

The Crossroads is a fiction novel written by Chris Grabenstein. Chris used to write T.V. and radio commercials, has written for the Muppets and used to do stand-up comedy. If you have read and liked The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, I think that The Crossroads would be a good book for you to try. Other books by Chris Grabenstein are Whack A Mole, Mad Mouse and Tilt- A- Whirl. For more information on Chris Grabenstein, you can go to his website at

I found The Crossroads a struggle to follow throughout most of the story, so sadly I am going to give The Crossroads three stars. However, I’m still willing to read the sequel, The Hanging Hill.



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