Monday, May 5, 2014

THE DEMON NOTEBOOK, by Erika McGann

Author: Mcgann, Erika. 2014.  
Title: The Demon Notebook - Book 1
Publication Date: June 3, 2014Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Genre: Children's Fiction - Ages 9 - 12 | Grades: 3 - 6 * Though I think it works through even 8th grade.

ARC edition received at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference 2014 

Summary:
Five girls want to learn to do magic and practice crafting spells, none of which work.  But after they use a Ouija board at school, they unwittingly invite a real demon to this world and it decides to have some mean fun by making their spells work, one after another.  But the phrase, “You’d better be careful—you’ll get what you asked for…” turns out to be true, especially about the very last spell they are racing to stop, which would have truly tragic consequences.

Analysis:
This book is refreshing and fun, with a fast pace, believable characters and a grumpy older mentor who is hysterical and is actually my favorite character.  It’s not so scary that a middle grade reader couldn’t handle it, though I do think it’s best suited for a slightly older middle grade student in some cases, both because of the age of the characters, but also because in this book, the paranormal is definitely real and evil.  Some students will be more sensitive to that than others, so parents and kids need to choose wisely.  This is not a Scooby Doo case in which a dastardly, but clever human is doing a bunch of tricks, so parents should be aware of that before their child begins reading.  I personally was pleased to see that the author allowed the supernatural to really occur instead of explaining it away.  Many students love ghost stories and other spooky stories and will love this one, too.

The writing is clean and crisp—so well-done! Humor is woven throughout, as well.  It’s a fast, fun read for anyone who likes scary stories and fantasies.

Reviews: 
Kirkus just gave THE DEMON NOTEBOOK a great review here!  I also agree with the ages given by Kirkus, ages 9-14.

Personal Response:
It was a pleasure to read such a well-written, smooth middle grade story, with a good use of humor as well as a sprinkling of creepy moments. Very clever!  For a debut book in particular, I find it very impressive.

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