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Along the Saltwise Sea by A. Deborah Baker
The Biograph Girl by William J. Mann Break the Chains by Megan E. O'Keefe
Cheddar Off Dead by Korina Moss and Erin Moon (Narrator)
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Cryptid Club by Sarah Andersen
Curtain Call by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Illustrator)
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Due or Die by Jenn McKinlay and Allyson Ryan (Narrator) Empty Smiles by Katherine Arden
Guidebook to Murder by Lynn Cahoon and Susan Boyce (Narrator)
The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs
A Killing in Costumes by Zac Bissonnette and Melanie Carey and Paul Bellatoni (Narrators)
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
Leviathan by Jason Shiga
The Liminal Zone by Junji Ito
Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape) by Carrie Jones
Manor of Dying by Kathleen Bridge and Vanessa Daniels (Narrator)
Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott and Karen White (Narrator)
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie and Hugh Fraser (Narrator)
On This Airplane by Lourdes Heuer and Sara Palacios (Illustrations)
The Orphan and the Mouse by Martha Freeman and David McPhail (Illustrations)
Primordial by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino (Artist) and Dave Stewart (Artist)
Smile Beach Murder by Alicia Bessette and Karissa Vacker
Sophie Go's Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim and Annie Q (Narrator)
The Templeton Twins Have an Idea by Ellis Weiner and Jeremy Holmes (Illustrator)
Tumble by Celia C. PĂ©rez
Unseen Magic by Emily Lloyd-Jones
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

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The House with a Clock in Its Walls: 12/30/22

The House with a Clock in Its Walls

The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs (1973) is as old as I am but I only heard of it when the movie came out in 2018. That said, I haven't actually seen the movie but now I've read the book.

It's 1948 (or 1955 in the film) and Lewis Barnavelt is on a bus to New Zebedee Michigan to live with his bachelor uncle in a mansion. Turns out he uncle and his next door neighbor, Mrs. Zimmermann, are wizards. The house itself is magical and cursed.

If this were a modern day middle grade fantasy / horror, Lewis's adventures would take place over the course of weeks, not months. He would be completely focused on learning the truth of the house's curse and putting a stop to the big, undead bad.

Instead, though, this short novel (just shy of 200 pages) unfolds over ten months. Lewis spends his summer learning how to play baseball. He makes a crucial mistake while trying to impress the kid he hopes is his friend. He goes to school and nearly completes the entire year before the climax.

Throughout all of this, there are illustrations by Edward Gorey. His interpretation of events is what pushes this strange tale into the horror category.

This novel also sits on the Road Narrative Spectrum. Lewis is a literal orphan traveler (FF). His journey is to uhoria (CC) in that he's dealing with the evil past of his uncle's house. His route there is the maze (CC) as represented by the house's changeable nature and the danger its secrets pose.

The next book in the series is The Figure in the Shadows (1975).

Four stars

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