This novel is presented as a “children’s horror story.” The main character is 12 years old. This probably means that the target readership is between 10 and 14, and I’d say the author hit it spot on. For parents and librarians reading this review, I feel that the horrors dealt with are appropriate to the age group. Since the main threat of the villains is stealing the youth from their victims, there is no “guts and gore” element. While the dangers are supernatural in nature, they touch upon real fears that children have and suggest ways of dealing with them. I especially like the theme, “If an adult asks you not to tell your parents, the first thing you should do is tell your parents.”
Character description is vivid, and personalities are only slightly stereotyped. Conflicts at different levels are realistic (except for the magical ones), and help to create more suspense, leading up to a tense ending.
If I had to find something that bothered me, I’d say that the adults in the story are pretty naïve. However, since that’s probably the general consensus of the target readership, it can’t be called a writing flaw.
A fun and appropriate introduction to the Horror genre for pre-teens.(4 / 5)