Review: Scritch Scratch

Claire is in seventh grade. She’s smart, funny, and is intrigued by science. Probably because, unlike her life, it can be measured and verified and it makes sense. On the other hand there’s her paranormal activity chasing father, her best friend who seems to have ditched her for someone new, her brother with whom she is perpetually feuding, and a dreamy boy she has a crush on.

Life. Is. Hard.

Claire is not thrilled by her father’s occupation. She is mortified by what she sees as his obsession with things that are clearly not scientific. So imagine Claire’s consternation when her parents insist she accompany her father on his ghost tour of the city because his assistant is unavailable. 

Here’s where the book takes on a life of its own. Literally. Claire is incredulous when she realizes that an irate ghost has followed her back home from the tour. The ghost seems intent on making her life miserable. She is so very overwhelmed, taking to sleeping in her closet to avoid the ghost. The stress of the ghost, coupled with the equally scary prospect of losing her best friend, and the idea that her father would capitalize on this haunting and add their house to his ghost tour, pushes Claire to the edge. What more could possibly go wrong? 

Realizing she needs help, she reluctantly recruits her brother, who also encourages her to make up with her friend. Claire finds the courage to confront her friend. They make up, and bonus–she realizes her competition is not only a great person, but not really a competitor at all. Suddenly they’re a team of four trying to figure out what this ghost wants from Claire. 

Currie’s eerie descriptions of the ghost are haunting, the number 396 appearing at random, wet clothes, scritch-scratching sounds on the walls, a flooded bathroom, Claire and her friends must use all their scientific prowess to figure out the clues the little ghost is leaving for Claire. It is, in fact, Clair’s research skills and her adaptation of the scientific process that allows them to solve the mystery.

Through it all, Claire learns to trust herself, grow confident, accept her father’s passions and find the courage to talk to her crush.

This is a beautifully haunting tale, written with enough creepy turns to keep you guessing. The lessons are well integrated into the plot, and do not feel heavy handed. Pick up the book to find out how Claire and her friends appease the little ghost and bring peace back to their world.

Scritch Scratch
Lindsay Currie
Sourcebooks Young Readers

Scritch Scratch (Support an Independent Bookstore)
Scritch Scratch (Hardcover at Amazon)*

More books for this Age Group can be found here.

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