The story was written well enough to engage the middle school audience this book is intended for, but the character art looked so messy and inconsistent that I ended up only skimming by the half-way point to see where this was going.
When Carter and Polly Normandy move into the Alabaster Shadows development, they’re not optimistic. They don’t know anyone. All the houses look the same. The head of the Community Council clearly despises children. Then Mr. Randolph, who works in the development’s office, asks them to watch for anything strange. What a weirdo, thinks Carter… until he finds something in their new basement that should not be there. Carter discovers that other kids at school have had strange experiences. They never would have guessed what their investigation uncovers.
Doucet’s art is a little messier than I usually prefer, but it gets the job done. Gardner paces out the action and danger well, giving the reader points to breathe.
For team #WeNeedDiverseBooks, of which I am an enthusiastic member, note that Polly and Carter are biracial, with a white dad and a black mom. I’m definitely pleased to have a children’s graphic novel with a POC lead character. But all the other major speaking roles are white characters, which seemed a little strange. My favorite character is Polly, and I’m hoping she gets a bigger role in the second volume, which would help balance that out.
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