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Friday, July 12, 2019

RHCB presents... THE HAUNTING OF HENRY DAVIS by Kathryn Siebel

HI there!
Welcome  back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Yesterday, we took our chances with zombies.  Today, we're spending our time with the dearly departed....GHOSTS!  That's right.  It's a paranormal twosome IN STORES NOW from Random House Children's Books aimed at Middle Grade audiences ready to cast its spell on your next reading adventure.  So gather your courage, and your'll need them to uncover the unfinished business of today's book of choice and blog tour guest...

Kathryn Siebel
Knopf Books for Young Readers

About the book...
Ghosts only haunt when they’ve left something behind…

When Henry Davis moves into the neighborhood, Barbara Anne and her classmates at Washington Carver Elementary don’t know what to make of him. He’s pale, small, odd. For curious Barbara Anne, Henry’s also a riddle–a boy who sits alone at recess sketching in a mysterious notebook, a boy, she soon learns, who’s being haunted by a ghost named Edgar.

With the help of some new friends, this unlikely duo is off on an adventure to discover who Edgar was while alive and why he’s haunting Henry now. Together, they might just help Edgar find what he needs to finally be at peace.


For me, this one was a bit hit and miss...and that's okay!  Not every book will tick everyone's boxes, but some were ticked, for better or worse, and thus, I'm going to break down my adventure through the pages into the two categories.  Ready?  Set?  Here we go...

On the "hit list"...

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...the story concept.
It's definitely a ghostly story perfect for the intended audience.  It has just enough "boo" factor to keep you on your toes, but not so much that any scare tactics will follow kiddos off the page.  Additional plus factor in regards to the history it incorporates because it may spark future interest in reading and/or researching those time periods.

...the characters.
Henry was a charming lad, more afraid of his "acquaintance" than of being himself.  Barbara Anne was a force to be reckoned with, but she KNEW it, owned it, and only apologized for it when it got in the way of things.  Edgar was...well, non-corporeal, but still his apparently mischievous self, just as he was in life.  It's refreshing to see youth portrayed in stories that aren't simply changing to be more acceptable to the cliques and groups.

...the finale.
So, I can't really say much in regards to what actually happens without ruining things, but let's just say that nothing is set in stone until the actual end.  Lives hang in the balance, friendships face the proverbial cliff precipice, and afterlives are in question...but by the final turn of the page, all is set to right (but who's right?  Dun dun dunnn...).

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Now for the misses...

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...there are holes in the story that go unexplained.
It's great to assume readers will connect things, in fact I applaud that technique because who REALLY wants everything spelled out for you, but there are some spaces in this one where it felt disconnected to me, leaving TOO much for the reader to suppose, and it affected the underlying weave of the story.

...character profiles that didn't seem true to form.
Okay, I know...I just praised the characters, and I stand by that, but there were a few things that didn't feel quite genuine to me, like Henry's almost non-reaction to missing pieces of time from his life, and Barbara Anne's fear of Edgar despite her go-getter-no-holds-barred personality plus her inability to actually SEE/FEEL him.  

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Final thoughts...'s certainly worth the exploration, and you'll definitely find yourself caught up in the unexpected moments of the heart that crop up when least expected, just be sure to pay attention so you don't miss the story change overs and lose the overall thread.  Who the end, you may find your own peace in the messages of well being in the here after, or stoke the fires of a young ghost hunter in the making.


About the author...

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Kathryn Siebel teaches humanities at Billings Middle School in Seattle and works with elementary school students at the Green Lake School-Age Care Program. She has worked in educational publishing and as an English teacher and librarian and has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is also the author of The Trouble with Twins.


Special thanks to Joey at Random House Children's Books for the chance to bring this tour to you as well as the copy for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title is available now via Knopf Books for Young Readers, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing. Be sure to check out the rest of the tour making its way through the blogosphere for more bookish fun! 

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

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