The Gathering
The Gathering

Series: Shadow House Vol. 1   

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Annotation: Poppy Caldwell is an orphan who keeps seeing a figure standing behind her in the mirror at the group home where she lives, but she does not associate this ghost with the letter that mysteriously appears in her file, claiming to be from a long-lost aunt, and inviting her to Larkspur House, and she is just one of five children who find themselves gathered in this strange house with a deadly past, and apparently no intention of letting the children escape.
Catalog Number: #128093
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2016
Edition Date: 2016
Pages: 215 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-545-92550-9
ISBN 13: 978-0-545-92550-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016022918
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Five different children find themselves at Larkspur House under unusual circumstances. Poppy leaves her orphanage after her great-aunt, Delphinia Larkspur, invites her to her home. Marcus, a talented cellist, receives a full scholarship to the prestigious Larkspur Academy. Azumi travels to Larkspur boarding school to get far away from the Japanese forest in which her sister disappeared. And child actors Dylan and Dash are given lead roles in a horror film by Larkspur Productions. Of course, Larkspur House is not at all what it seems, and when strange things begin to happen e kids find dolls resembling them, and children wearing animal masks begin to appear ey begin to explore, and the more secrets they discover, the more mysterious and terrifying the house becomes. Poblocki, long known for his creepy fiction, ups the ante in his latest with an interactive app (unavailable for review) accessed by scanning eerie illustrations to reveal more secrets about the house. Fans of spooky tales won't be able to look away, especially with two more volumes to come.
Horn Book
In Gathering, five kids are lured to a mansion, where they encounter their doppelgangers and desperately search for an exit. With the group still stuck in Shadow House, Can't Hide finds each character confronting his or her secrets and fears. The suspenseful, if by-the-numbers, commercial horror series includes unsettling photographic illustrations and a downloadable tie-in app.
Kirkus Reviews
Five unhappy children think their troubles are over when they step inside a mysterious house—until the house refuses to let them leave.The kids have one thing in common: misery, caused by a variety of neurodivergent symptoms. Poppy, a white orphan living in a group home, has only one friend in the world: the dead girl she sees behind her in every mirror. In Japanese-American Azumi's disturbing dreams, she relives the loss of her sister in the Aokighara forest and is terrified that she is losing herself as well. Not only can no one hear the overwhelmingly beautiful music in white Marcus' red head; no one understands his desperate need to play. And as their acting career abruptly ends, brown-skinned twins Dash and Dylan are losing their grip—Dash is having nightmares about failing to save his brother, and when Dylan isn't feeling invisible, he is having flashbacks to a trauma he can't quite grasp. All five receive different letters offering to make their dreams come true, but when they all arrive at Larkspur, nothing greets them but endless rooms and masked, murderous ghosts—it's one thing to survive being different, it's quite another to survive a haunting. Although the choice to equate neurodivergence with the influence of hauntings is questionable, Poblocki's meticulously crafted narrative is chilling and reminiscent of the best Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? terrors. A thrill for any reader who knows the only thing more frightening than an unopened door is being locked behind one. (mobile app) (Horror. 10-15)
School Library Journal
Gr 46 Poppy, Dash, Dylan, Azumi, and Marcus each receive an invitation to a strange house that serendipitously seems to correspond to each of their hopes and dreams. Poppy, raised in an orphanage and whose only friend is a ghost, believes her visit to this peculiar place will lead her to her family. Azumi and Marcus each believe they are attending a school, while Dash and Dylan think they have landed a great acting gig in a horror film. Quickly after arriving, the tweens realizes they are trapped in a dark, dangerous house and begin to figure out how to escape. Some of the truly creepy aspects will be too much for young readers, but fans of Goosebumps -style tales will enjoy this. Dan Bittner does not disappoint in his performance, successfully changing voices for each character, which proves particularly helpful when the five of them are having conversations. Bittner also adds a sinister tone when reading the most horrifying scenes, which would make listening to this in the dark quite an eerie experience. Though this delightfully creepy book focuses much of its effort on introducing listeners to this clandestine world, it manages to deliver legitimate scares in addition to solid character development. VERDICT Recommended for school and public library collections where seriously spooky ghost stories are in demand. Nicole Lee Martin, Rocky River Public Library, OH
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (8/1/16)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book (8/1/17)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal
Word Count: 37,435
Reading Level: 5.1
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.1 / points: 6.0 / quiz: 184287 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.5 / points:10.0 / quiz:Q69466
Lexile: 750L

Some houses are more than just haunted... they're hungry.

Dash, Dylan, Poppy, Marcus, and Azumi don't know this at first. They each think they've been summoned to Shadow House for innocent reasons. But there's nothing innocent about Shadow House.

Something within its walls is wickedly wrong. Nothing -- and nobody -- can be trusted. Hallways move. Doors vanish. Ghosts appear. Children disappear.

And the way out?

That's disappeared, too...

Enter Shadow House... if you dare.

Don't just read about Shadow House -- explore its haunted depths with the free app!

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