Title: Spirit Hunters |Author: Ellen Oh |Genre: Middlegrade Horror |Publisher: HarperCollins |Series: Spirit Hunters #1 |288 pages
I found this book by chance and started to read it on a whim, putting my other current reads aside. It was a good decision.
Harper doesn’t trust her new home from the moment she steps inside, and the rumors are that the Raine family’s new house is haunted. Harper isn’t sure she believes those rumors, until her younger brother, Michael, starts acting strangely. The whole atmosphere gives Harper a sense of déjà vu, but she can’t remember why. She knows that the memories she’s blocking will help make sense of her brother’s behavior and the strange and threatening sensations she feels in this house, but will she be able to put the pieces together in time?
Harper doesn’t like the new house in Washington DC. Not only does it have weird cold patches all around, it also have a weird history of dead former owners and tragedy. And if that wouldn’t have been enough, Harper also still suffers from things that happened in her past, a fire, an injury, and an annoying loss of memories. When her baby brother Michael starts to talk about an invisible friend that scares him, things start to go wrong fast.
I liked Harper and felt bad for her. All the bad things that happened to her, the fire, the clinic, the fact that she cannot remember too much of what happened all on top of the move into a house that’s not ready yet and has a reputation of being haunted – it’s a lot for a kid to have to deal with.
The story is a delicous mystery with a lot of creepy and unexplainable things that keep happening and the author was very good at making it feel threatening and unsafe. At the end of every chapter stands a journal entry Harper makes, which I really liked.
The book itself is rather dark. It has less real atmosphere and is more actual scary. It’s not really what I would have expected from a Middlegrade book.
It also has some really interesting parts about Korean culture and shamanism though, which I really liked. The diversity rep in this book will make it more interesting for people who are looking for it specifically.
There is also a great portrayal of sibling relationship which I found believable and family squabbles and a new friendship – in short, I was rather satisfied with the relationships in this book.
All in all, Spirit Hunters was a fast and rather scary read. I enjoyed the hauntings and the troubles, the scariness, the house and the possessions and the feeling of it all, but I also have to admit, that I’m not sure if this book is suitable for a reader on the younger end of the Middlegrade scale. There were many rather violent scenes that I’m sure could scare a young reader in a negative sense and so I’d advice some parental guidance.