Friday, October 6, 2017

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street

Title: The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street 
Author: Lindsay Currie 
Publisher: Aladdin 
Publication Date: October 10th, 2017 
Genre/Format: Mystery/Fiction/Middle Grade Novel 
GoodReads Summary: A girl unravels a centuries-old mystery after moving into a haunted house in this deliciously suspenseful mystery.

Tessa Woodward isn’t exactly thrilled to move to rainy, cold Chicago from her home in sunny Florida. But homesickness turns to icy fear when unexplainable things start happening in her new house. Things like flickering lights, mysterious drawings appearing out of nowhere, and a crackling noise she can feel in her bones.

When her little brother’s doll starts crying real tears, Tessa realizes that someone—or something—is trying to communicate with her. A secret that’s been shrouded in mystery for more than one hundred years.
With the help of three new friends, Tessa begins unraveling the mystery of what happened in the house on Shady Street—and more importantly, what it has to do with her! 
What I Think: I would have loved The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street when I was in middle school! I read Mary Downing Hahn and Lois Duncan and Agatha Christie and I would have loved to have had this book to read too. 
     I love a good, spooky, ghost story but I love even more a strong main character and Tessa is exactly that. She has to move to a new place and make new friends and her house is haunted but she is super brave. Even when she's scared, she's still super strong. Tessa is the perfect example of a main character who takes matters into her own hands. She doesn't wait for things to happen, she makes them happen and I love that - as a reader and a writer.
     Character agency is a tricky thing. Writers need to make sure the story is weighing down on a character but that the character takes charge and impacts the plot at the same time. It took me a long time to figure this out. Two things helped me to zone in on this. One is to pay attention to instances when a character can easily talk things out with another character and issues can easily be resolved. If that's the case, then the character should talk it out. And the second thing, is to look for opportunities where a character can take matters into his or her hands. Instead of wallowing or worrying, have him or her take the initiative. Those are the characters readers want to follow in a story. 
     Besides having Tessa and an awesome cast of supporting characters, Peculiar Incident has a really intriguing setting. I might be a little biased seeing as I grew up north of Chicago, but I love that it's set in such a well known city and brings us to a maybe not so well known place. The setting has a certain character all of its own and it adds to the mood, making The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street a particularly creepy read!   
Snatch of Text: 
     "I shut that door when I left. I know this because I remember thinking it might stop Jonah from getting into my art supplies. Now it's open. And the air whoosing out is icy...not much warmer than the temperature inside our freezer.
     Creeping slowly, I press on the door until it's standing fully open. And that' swhen I see them. My pastels. The blue and the magenta are sitting at the base of my bed again. Only this time, so is the sketchpad I put away this morning.
     And it's open..." 
Writing Prompt: Write about a time in your life when you were scared but you figured out how to be brave and face a situation. 
Thank you to Simon and Schuster
for sending me a copy of this book to review!

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