Last Laugh

­Scholastic. Jan. 2024. 176p. pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781339012155.
Gr 5 Up–Centering 12-year-old Victor, this creepy tale rides the clown horror bandwagon with sinister dolls to up the ante. Victor’s sister Sarah is absolutely terrified of clowns. Egged on by their eight-year-old sister Genevieve, he decides to scare Sarah by hiding a clown doll of his grandmother’s in Sarah’s bed. Victor and his siblings have been told never to touch their grandma’s relics. Just why has his grandma been so strict about not letting anyone in her bedroom? Unfortunately, Victor finds out the hard way when the clown dolls start following him, and people around him fall into a waxy, soul-sucking coma. The plot is fast-paced and engaging. Characters are likable but not too well developed. The sibling rivalry will be highly relatable to young readers. It’s great to see that the children are the ones to come up with the solution to overcome the evil spirit and return the clowns. Characters are not racially defined.
VERDICT A creepy sibling horror tale that shows what happens when you don’t listen to Grandma. Recommended especially for struggling or reluctant readers.

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