Fall Scavenger Hunt // Spirit Hunters

And here we are on to my fourth book in my Fall Scavenger Hunt series! I almost immediately regretted the haunted house prompt because I love Haunting of Hill House but I wasn't in the mood for a dark book. I am clearly in the mood for middle grade lately so I chose Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh. This is the beginning of an older trilogy. I've heard about it but didn't really know much about it. It could have been better, unfortunately. I'll let you know why in my review below.

Something is off with Harper Raine's new house. It's so hot in her room but her brother's room feels like she's in a freezer. Her brother Michael is also acting strangely now that he has a new imaginary friend, a boy named Billy who isn't what she expected her brother to conjure up. Billy is mean and has Michael acting the same way when he is usually the sweetest person you'd meet. She discovers that there are rumors surrounding her house of evil experiments, and a child dying in her backyard. Add in the weird sense that she is missing something obvious that she just can't remember. Harper's had amnesia ever since she went to a hospital for troubled kids. She was accused of trying to burn down her art class but she doesn't remember a thing. As her brother's actions become more volatile she fears for his safety and her own. Harper hurries to remember her past so that she may live to have a future. 

Positives: In middle grade, there are very few books where the family is involved. In Spirit Hunters I got to know the parents and the siblings of the main character pretty well which added a lot of depth to the story. I also liked that the Korean culture was brought into the story, although very briefly, with Harper's grandmother. We didn't get much of her because she had a falling out with Harper's mom but you can tell her relationship to Harper is going to be impactful. 

Negatives: I am an adult reading a middle grade so I know this isn't my audience however, Harper taking basically two-thirds of the book to accept yeah my brother's "friend" is an evil spirit was so frustrating. It was frustrating because it was so obvious and I feel like as a kid I would have felt the same way. I don't like the reverse that they accept everything right away and dive into trying to defeat an evil ghost but there needs to be a balance and there wasn't in this story. I feel like this one aspect of the story affected my enjoyment of everything because they did the same thing with the grandmother when it was so obvious who she was and her importance in defeating the evil in the house. I also didn't expect this to be so dark. I have read spooky middle-grade books before. It wasn't scary but the backstory of the killings that happened in the house was a little much. 

Final Thoughts: Spirit Hunters didn't work for me. There were too many obvious things going on that Harper should have already figured out that took away from her very interesting backstory (especially the reveal about the art class fire). Lots of great world-building but the execution wasn't there.


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