Reviews for Crandall's Castle


Booklist Monthly Selections - # 1 April 2003
Gr. 4-7. Twelve-year-old Charli Belland doesn't like change, and lately there's been a lot. She has a new stepfather; and when her beloved cousins, the Crandalls, who live across the street, take in an orphaned teen, Charli feels left out. Fourteen-year-old Sophia, who has been shuffled between foster homes, likes the Crandalls, but she worries that they will discover her secret (clairvoyant abilities) and send her away. Then uncle Will buys an abandoned mansion and enlists the girls' help in cleaning it up. Both girls sense something wrong as they work, and they find themselves banding together when the house's dark past comes into the present in a chilling climax. Wright characteristically combines a well-written, shivery ghost story with distinctively drawn, appealing protagonists whose issues and dilemmas are sympathetically portrayed. By alternating Charli's third-person narrative with Sophia's first-person journal entries, she adds suspense and character depth as she realistically depicts the progression of the girls' relationship from one of resentment to one of trust. ((Reviewed April 1, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2003 Fall
Charli is unsettled by the rundown mansion her uncle is turning into a bed-and-breakfast, especially when she hears singing coming from an empty bedroom. Sophia, an orphaned--and psychic--girl who is staying with Uncle Will's family, also experiences a feeling of impending disaster. Wright's ghost story offers genuine chills and solid characterizations. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2003 April #2
For seven years-since her mother's death-Sophia has been shuffled around. Now she finds herself amid a clamorous brood of distant relations, the Crandalls. Even the house across the street contains cousins-in particular Charli. Though the Crandalls are welcoming, Sophia senses, with her ability to see into the future, that Will Crandall means trouble. He reveals his plan to buy and renovate the old Castle, crumbling and reputedly haunted, and turn it into a bed and breakfast. Charli explores the Castle and sees the terrorizing shadow of a cradle, followed later by swirling apparitions, and a screaming infant. The ghost story is engrossing enough, but there are also two intriguing subplots. Charli struggles to come to terms with her mother's new marriage, while Sophia lives in constant fear of being relocated yet again. The satisfying ending indicates that when it comes to family, each member is integral. This mistress of spooky once again delivers a thought-provoking thriller. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2003 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

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School Library Journal Reviews 2003 May
Gr 5-7-In alternating chapters, two girls narrate this suspenseful novel. Charli, 12, is adjusting to life with her new stepfather when her impulsive Uncle Will Crandall announces that he has purchased a rundown mansion, rumored to be haunted, that he plans to turn into a bed-and-breakfast. On her visit, Charli sees the shadow of a rocking cradle and senses a disturbing and frightening presence. Orphaned Sophia, 14, has recently come to live with Charli's aunt and uncle and has a deep secret-she sometimes "knows things" before they happen-and she is convinced that Uncle Will's plans are dangerous. The girls' prickly relationship as they help clean the Castle, and the dread each feels toward the house, provides tension to the story. Both are sure that no one will believe them if they mention their fears. A biography of one of the mansion's former residents leads to the ghost's identity and this fact, along with Sophia's prescience, helps the girls when they must rescue Charli's youngest cousin from near death. This novel will satisfy readers looking for a scary story. The adjustment of both girls to their new living situations adds reality to the plot and gives the novel more substance than many in the genre.-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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