My Book Review of Spooky Sleuths #1: The Ghost Tree

ghost treeSpooky Sleuths #1: The Ghost Tree by Natasha Deen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Story of Friendship and Cooperation

This mystery was entertaining. At times, it was gross, but it wouldn’t be a good horror story if it wasn’t, right? Goosebumps move over, there’s a new series in town LOL

Though the paranormal elements drew me in, it was the children’s friendship that moved me most. There was a shared respect for science, their teacher, their families, and each other that was refreshing. It was a delight to see them support one another, research for better understanding before just diving into things, and for them to share notes. This story has great ghost information and a wonderful spooky tale, but there’s also heart and cooperation.

Malachi and Devlin started as bullies, but Rokshar quickly put a stop to that. I think the interplay opens the potential for adults to address how some behaviors are reactions to fear. It certainly was in the case of the brothers. Perhaps there’s a lesson for communication? Afterall, when the characters talked in a safe place, they liked each other. It helped to unite them.

This was my first children’s book, albeit middle grade, where a nonbinary person is depicted. Some people will struggle with this in a text for young readers, but it never defined the character, nor did it have anything to do with the plot. The author only highlighted the teacher’s gender as a means of explaining their title (Mx) and preferred pronouns (they/them). It was handled in a matter-of-fact way and stayed age appropriate.

I recommend this book. It was an interesting read for me as an adult. It’s something I think middle graders and teens will love. Surely, it’ll encourage readers to utilize their libraries more as well as impress such a positive impression of community.
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