About the Book
Turn the lights on. Lock the door. Things are about to get SERIOUSLY SCARY!
The brand new must-read middle-grade novel from the author of super-spooky Crater Lake. Perfect for 9+ fans of R.L.Stine’s Goosebumps
It’s basically the worst school detention ever. When classmates (but not mate-mates) Hallie, Angelo, Gustav and Naira are forced to come to school on a SATURDAY, they think things can’t get much worse. But they’re wrong. Things are about to get seriously scary.
What has dragged their teacher underground? Why do the creepy caretakers keeping humming the tune to Itsy Bitsy Spider? And what horrors lurk in the shadows, getting stronger and meaner every minute…? Cut off from help and in danger each time they touch the ground, the gang’s only hope is to work together. But it’s no coincidence that they’re all there on detention. Someone has been watching and plotting and is out for revenge…
Well, it’s rare I read any horror book that fully creeps me out, but Dread Wood managed to do it, and do it really well.
Dread Wood is Middle Grade, aimed at kids around 11 – 13, though horror fans of any age will enjoy the absolute hell out of it. Sent to detention on a Saturday, of all days, Angelo, Hallie, Gustav and Naira are expecting to spend the day bored, doing small tasks around the school grounds as punishment for their misbehaviour. But it’s no coincidence they’re all in detention at the same time, and when strange things start happening – including their teacher disappearing into the ground – the group have to work out what is happening, before it’s too late.
The book was creepy and fun, keeping the tension high while giving the characters enough room to bond and grow closer. There’s plenty of mystery here to keep the reader engaged, too, from the creepy caretakers to why they’ve all ended up there, to what, exactly, is stalking them. Killick sets these things up really well without ever allowing anything to distract from the story, and the characters remain sympathetic throughout, despite some poor choices on their parts.
There are some excellent scenes here, and when things head a bit far into darkness, Killick skilfully pulls us back with a touch of humour without minimising what the characters are going through. The setting worked really well too, the school becoming a character in its own right, and its enjoyable to see the characters working out how exactly they can work as a team.
Overall I think this is a really great book that knows its target audience well and doesn’t falter. I fully recommend picking this one up!
About the Author
Jennifer Killick is the author of Crater Lake, the Alex Sparrow series, and middle-grade sci-fi adventure Mo, Lottie and the Junkers. She regularly visits schools and festivals, and her books have three times been selected for The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge. She lives in Uxbridge, in a house full of children, animals and Lego. When she isn’t busy mothering or step-mothering (which isn’t often) she loves to read, write and run, as fast as she can.