Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Witches, Vampires, and Dryads, Oh My!

Super Freak by Vanessa Barger
Tantrum Books

Critiqued by Gayle C. Krause

Caroline Bennings is no ordinary girl, well. . . she is, but in her magical family, in her magical town, that’s not always a good thing. With dryads for parents and vampires for best friends, being ordinary is a problem, especially when you are the only one in the whole town who doesn’t possess any magic or supernatural power.

But lucky for the town, Caroline is ordinary, because with her lack of a magical sense and fondness of solving puzzles, she is able to figure out an age-old mystery that has plagued her town for two centuries—the disappearance of her long-lost ancestor.

Fast paced, and easy to follow, middle school readers will enjoy the unusual story once they get past the cliché beginning of a middle grade child being forced to move into a dilapidated old mansion with her parents. With the contemporary setting, and common school cafeteria and classroom scenes, the reader is not even aware that supernatural beings populate the town. However Ms. Barger’s writing allows the reader’s imagination to soar, and once the story gets going, it’s a non-stop read even a reluctant reader will enjoy.

Clues, treasure hunts, and secret rendezvous by Caroline and her best friends lead to more mayhem than magic. Witches, shape-shifters, dryads, and vampires fill the pages, but thirteen-year-old Caroline Bennings, a super freak by supernatural standards, saves the day.

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