BOOK REVIEWS

Spirit Hunters Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-09-09 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:0062430084
LANGUAGE:English

" Horror is not my favorite genre so someone looking for a middle grade Exorcist would probably like this more than I did.Yes, this is actually a really scary book so if your MGer is looking for something spooky and occasionally gory, this is a good candidate. Thanks to HarperCollins for providing a copy of the book for review. " said.

" A lively and very scary middle-grade book that is the first in a planned series. Like a mini-Ghostbuster combined with Meg Murray (without Calvin!), Harper Raine can see ghosts. But she can't remember what happened to her before, and she can't believe the stories of their new, challenging house ... or maybe she just doesn't want to. With her loved younger, brother possessed, Harper must figure out whom she can rely and what she can too before it's very much too late. " said.

"The story was great and I liked the multicultural characters and traditions. The writing was a B+. If it had been an A, this book would have been great. I thought the characters' dialog was, at times, not realistic and kind of pointless. For example, the mom says, "Hi, honey, you want a cookie? Dayo's mom made them and they are out of this world." Do people really say things like that? It sounds too scripted and not enough like an actual mom conversing with actual kids. The other thing I noticed was that a lot of things in this book reminded me of things that happen in the Lockwood & Co. books. Maybe it's a just a coincidence. Other than that it was a page-turner. Maybe a little scary for some kids. " said.

"This one has me torn. The base story was fun. The slight look into Korean culture was refreshing. Harper was very likeable and relatable. There was so many tropes and it's like the author pulled from various horror movies with in the past 5 ish years and threw them in a book. If you had Netflix you would've seen scenes from this book in the horror movies shown there. The info dumping toward the end and the whole "I'm just a kid!" line. ... said no kid ever... threw my rating off. As well as the racial undertones in a juvenile book. I just don't know how to rate it. I'm all for the discussion and relatibilty but just to leave it as all white people are monsters is just as bad as the dark skin trope being evil. I can see all the things the author wanted to do and commend her for it but it just didn't seem to hit the mark unfortunately." said.

"I was actually scared to read this book because I'd seen so many harsh reviews, but I'm glad I took the plunge because I thoroughly enjoyed it!!!

This book is great for kids who want a scary read. There were plenty of mysteries to unravel along the way, and lots of spooky scenes to keep you reaching for the covers. I'm not in middle school anymore, but I found myself getting creeped out and wanting to know more about Harper's history, just the same. Although there's nothing 'Halloween-y' about the book, it could make for a great Halloween read!

As everyone else has mentioned, it's also great to have such a diverse cast of characters. Harper's Korean ancestry is showcased in both normal ways (yummy Korean food) and SUPER COOL ways (Korean spirit hunting.) And yet, as Harper's grandmother says, what Harper becomes as an American spirit hunter with Korean ancestry, is up to her. She can be her own person with her own identity, and that's something anyone can relate to.
" said.

"The story: When Harper's family moves into a creepy old house, it doesn't take long for her to hear that it's "haunted". But what's worse is that it also doesn't take long for her little brother to meet an imaginary friend who turns out to be a ghost--and not a nice ghost, either. Now it's up to Harper to channel her inherited spirit hunting powers to try to solve the mystery of the house--and maybe, at the same time, to solve an even bigger mystery about herself...before Billy's ghost takes over Michael's life permanently.

June Cleaver's ratings: Language PG; Violence PG; Sexual content G; Nudity G; Substance abuse G; Magic & the occult PG-13; GLBT content G; adult themes (possession by an evil spirit, haunting of houses, other occult standards) PG; overall rating PG.

Liz's comments: I'll admit that ghost stories aren't my favorite genre, and things that dip into the occult--particularly the idea of a four-year-old boy being possessed by an evil spirit--make me uncomfortable. However, with that admission, I have to say that this truly creepy story has real ghosts and real conflicts, which will appeal to readers not quite ready for Stephen King. Ellen Oh is an excellent writer (I especially liked her YA fantasy series "Prophecy") and MS kids who are looking for a scary read without any blood, guts, or gore will strike gold here. The main characters are girls, but boys will like this one too.
" said.

"Young readers searching for a genuinely scary ghost story need look no further than Ellen Oh's (of We Need Diverse Books fame) Spirit Hunters. In the creepy tale, Harper Raine has just moved into an old house with a storied past. Harper quickly feels that something isn't right, but can't quite place it until her little brother, Michael, makes a new "friend" in the house. As Harper begins to remember flashes of her own, other-wordly encounter from years before, she pieces together the very dark truth. Harper isn't alone, however; with the help of one very supportive, new friend and one very unique, old friend Harper will have to dig deep into her past to find the strength and courage to save her brother.

Woven into the horror story is a tale of stressed familial love. Harper is Korean-American and there is one particular scene near the beginning of the book which depicts her unique situation in the community. Her mother and grandmother are estranged; this relationship builds on their Korean heritage and old family wounds. Harper is a heroine worth cheering for with a fantastic supporting cast. The scariest scenes – and they are quite scary! – are fantastic for middle grade. They're enough to make you look over your shoulder and pull the blankets up to your nose, but aren't enough to give most readers nightmares. For the stout-hearted seeking a great scare with good characters and morals to boot.
" said.

"Harper and her family have moved to Washington DC after she was injured during her stay at a hospital. Harper has no memory of how her injuries happened, but they may be the key to understanding the family’s new house. Harper’s little brother has been acting strangely since they moved in, speaking to an imaginary friend and then becoming almost another person. As Harper makes a new friend in the neighborhood, the two of them start researching what happened in the house in the past and discovering that the threatening presence that Harper feels in the house may be a ghost! In fact, Harper may be one of the special people who can sense ghosts in the world, but she has to figure out how to do so safely and who to trust with her secret.

Oh is the founder of We Need Diverse Books. She has crafted here a middle grade novel that has Korean-American main characters and uses their culture skillfully as an important part of the story and the solution to their haunting issues. She has also created a book that is pure scary fun. This is not a serious book about diversity and modern society, but instead a romp of delightful scares that make the book real fun to read.

The lightness of the book will have young readers loving it. Oh allows the young protagonist and her siblings and friends to be the real heroes of the book, even as the dangers they face grow in size. The pace of the book is key to its success as well, as Oh allows it to pick up pace towards the ending, controlling it just enough but also allowing it to get wild and zany.

A great pick for fans of Ghostbusters or scary stories, I look forward to more adventures with these characters. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
" said.

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