in Beware the Attic, BJ is having weird… hallucinations. What’s really freaky is that they are being accompanied by some pretty terrifying noises from the attic. Then, to complete his lesson in terror … things… that are supposed to be stationary and NEVER move, have suddenly come roaring to life. He and his two best friends are going to have to go into the dark, creepy attic and check things out. The question is… will they come back down. – Goodreads
Beware the Attic Review
I found this book via a search on Amazon for science fiction and fantasy tales for seven-year-olds. This is obviously not science fiction, just by a look at the cover. And within a few pages, it was clear that it would take a fairly well-read seven-year-old to be able to handle this book on their own, too. With words like “halitosis” “robust” and “abusive practice” it’d definitely present a challenge otherwise. A few chapters in, it’s revealed the character is in 6th grade, and I have to agree that that is a much more accurate age range for the book. (Double-checking Amazon, the intended age range is for “7-18 years”.) However, even adjusting a few years up for the appropriateness of the writing, it’s still a bit stilted and awkward. If I heard a sixth grader say “Woah Nelly!” I’d probably check him/her for a fever. That’s just not a commonly used phrase. This is just one of many examples.
However, stilted language aside, Beware the Attic was a strangely interesting read. The author did a great job of establishing the spook factor almost immediately. And yes, glowing red eyes are scary, no matter how old you are, so I would have been as freaked out as the kid was! I was definitely invested in the story soon on. I wanted to know what was the cause of the hallucinations? (Of course, my mind wanted to keep turning it towards mental illness, but the chances of that happening…) The climactic scene in the attic was insane, well-imagined, and hilariously disturbing.
The ending of Beware the Attic caught me by surprise. I wasn’t quite expecting things to work out the way that they did. I can see why the author did it, though. It was a good way to back off of the creepiness/weirdness and throttle back on the reader’s emotions. Overall, while Beware the Attic definitely needs its language ‘kid-checked’, it’s got a good story for middle-grade readers. She hits all the right points for appropriate level of creepiness, mystery, and unexpected twists. I’m curious to see where Kitty Margo goes with the Tales from the Dead series.