Dead Voices

Putnam. Aug. 2019. 256p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525515050.
Gr 5-8–A free ski vacation turns into a good news/bad news scenario for middle schoolers Coco, Brian, and Ollie (Olivia) and brings with it an unwelcome reunion with an old enemy in this sequel to Small Spaces. The good news? Ollie’s dad won a week at a newly renovated ski lodge. The bad news? The lodge, a former orphanage, is haunted to the rafters. Coco loves being with her friends and views the growing relationship between her mom and Ollie’s dad hopefully, but she’s no fan of skiing, and she’s the first to have an encounter with a ghost. The vacation goes downhill quickly, with a dangerous snowstorm wreaking havoc and plenty of disturbing encounters with creepy taxidermy animals and even creepier ghosts. The appearance of a ghost hunter, who offers the kids the chance to learn how to communicate with ghosts, is welcome at first, until they realize that he is really the Smiling Man, looking for a rematch…and revenge. This is mostly Coco’s story; the least confident of the trio, she’s the one who eventually figures out how to defeat the Smiling Man. Ollie’s dead mother, communicating through her old watch, plays a part as well. Brian doesn’t get a lot to do, nor do most of the adults, but the door is left open for further spooky adventures.
VERDICT Standing just fine on its own (though newcomers will definitely be inspired to read Small Spaces), this is a fine addition to any scary stories shelf

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