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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire. Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie's watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE. With Mr. Voland's help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hem…

Overall Book Review:

This book is for the brave of heart because this is no Nancy Drew mystery.  It may make the reader think twice about wandering around the house in the dark or maybe even want to sleep with a night light.  The author is very good at being descriptive in a creepy way without being gross or bloody.  Set in an old orphanage/school, there are people there that can’t be seen by just anybody.  The three main characters, who are still alive and at least age eleven, are CoCo, Ollie, and Brian.  They became best friends in book one due to circumstances beyond their control.  They have made a bond that through thick and thin, they will always stick together.  Unfortunately, circumstances get a little crazy in book two and it forces them to think outside the “box” in order to make it out alive.  With ghosts galore, these long dead characters don’t always act true to their ghostly character which throws the guests at Hemlock Lodge for a loop. 

Although one bad character carries over from book one, there is enough information in this book that reading book one isn’t necessary.  With a wonderful dash of horror and mystery, this book was easy to read during the daylight hours.  The characters are true to life with emotions and fears just like we’d expect from kids their age.  With the author’s ability to scare the reader, I would use caution if you are considering this book for someone who is not into intensely scary stories because this tale could easily be a young teen’s horror story. 

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None 

Violence/Gore:  Several ghosts are seen throughout the story, they tend to be descriptive, creepy, and a little gory because they’ve been dead a long time; three eleven-year-olds and their entire class had previously been kidnapped into another world, scary descriptions; two of the three eleven-year-olds have nightmares describing dead people, scary; three eleven-year-olds have reoccurring nightmares from what happened in book one; several trophy animals are hung on the wall; a ghost holds hands with an eleven-year-old and is hurting her; a man hurts his hand and gets minor cuts; multiple very creepy sections involving ghosts; one eleven-year-old is captured by the ghosts and almost dies; a fire, damage to the room but not to people. 

Sex/Nudity:  A single mom and a single dad might be sweet on each other; their children individually contemplate them getting married.

Mature Subject Matter:

Ghosts, Ouija board, summoning the dead, nightmares, previous death of a mother, father abandoned his child before birth, death of children in the past, mean head mother of orphanage.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Reading a good adventure story has always been a vacation in the theater of my mind. When I’m stressed or just need to get away for a few minutes, I love the opportunity to climb into somebody else’s world. I didn’t enjoy reading until I was in the Air Force and building bombs in Korea; it was a wonderful distraction from the real world. (I tried bull riding, but it wasn’t exciting enough.)