I work in a high school with very reluctant readers, so I am always on the lookout for good young adult fiction and HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS, by Robert Liparulo, fits the bill. There’s an element of horror and some suspense and fantasy, all of which go over well with young adult readers.

Fifteen-year-old Xander King is not happy about the move his family is making from L.A. to rural Pinedale. He is moving away from his friends and from what he sees as his chance to become a film maker. Xander knows his dad has a reason for moving the family, but he wonders if it’s a good one, particularly since his dad says he can’t get into it. Yet.

In their search for a house, the Kings come across a run-down Victorian, and that’s when weird things start happening. Sounds are distorted like they are in a fun house at a carnival. There’s a mystery intruder reminiscent of Bigfoot. Xander and his brother, David, are even transported from place to place. The house is affordable for the Kings, but is that because a woman was murdered there long ago and no one else wants it?  Will the weird things that are happening lead to murder again?

I enjoyed reading about the different things the King children discovered in the “house of dark shadows.”  Xander and his brother David adapt to each change they encounter, and their bravery is certainly something that would keep my students reading.  I didn’t expect the plot twist at the end–or not the end–and I am ready to go out and find the next book in the series. Now.

3 Responses to “Book Review: HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS”

  1. 1 Carol December 19, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Sounds like something my little ghost hunter would enjoy (age 12). I put it on my bookswap wish list.

    Any other recommendations for that age group? He’s really into the Alex Rider books, but just finished the last in the series. And it’s Christmas break as of today. And I need that kid reading!!

  2. 2 Becky December 20, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Does he like the Artemis Fowl books? I have nephews 11 and 13 who love them. When my son was that age, he liked the Madeleine L’Engle books Are you familiar with them? Here’s a list:

    * A Wrinkle in Time
    * A Wind in the Door
    * A Swiftly Tilting Planet
    * Many Waters
    * An Acceptable Time

    He’s probably old enough for S. E. Hinton’s books, THE OUTSIDERS, etc., and he might like THE CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE by David Wilkerson. If he likes sports, he might like SOMETHING FOR JOEY by Richard Peck or IT’S NOT ABOUT THE BIKE by Lance Armstrong. You know your reader best. Hope this helps. 🙂

  3. 3 tom diedrich May 25, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    i just resd the house of dark shadows. i dont normally read so i picked this book upfor a book project that i had to do and wow this book is great one night i was up reading it until 1 in the morning! its an intense book and i cant wait to start reading the sequal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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