I don't usually gush about middle grade books as I am too far removed from the experiences and feelings about a middle grader to feel like I fall in love with books meant for kids in junior high. I can usually appreciate their plots, themes, characters and so on, but if I didn't read them at the appropriate age my adult brain prohibits me from falling love with them. True and sad, I know.
I thought I was going to feel the same way about this book and its subsequent series.
I was dead wrong.
A student kept on gushing about these books and he said that he'd read the series more than once and was shocked that I'd never even heard of the series before. He asked if I wanted to borrow it and he brought the whole series in for me to read. He said I would love them and he told me to be sure to watch the videos. I started reading it and could not put it down and I made sure to watch all of the videos.
This series is touted as 'The X-Files' meets 'Blair Witch Project'. It involves two best friends who, after an accident that occurs before the beginning of the story, aren't allowed to hang out with each other as they always get themselves into trouble when they do. Ryan writes in his journal about what caused him to be bedridden in a Big Bertha caste and Sarah does all the investigating sending him videos and chats about a ghost, a gold dredge and a secret society cover-up. The fact that we get to hear Ryan's voice through his journals is cool enough (there aren't enough boy narrators in YA fiction), but we also get to see Sarah's videos as she talks directly to us via the internet giving us mysterious passwords based on scary stories and haunting characters to see what she sees. If I were a kid in this day and age I would be love. I'm a little creeped out anyways and read this book in an hour. It doesn't help that Ryan thinks everyone is out to get him and nothing and no one is what it seems.
I love the allusions to classic horror novels, movies and characters. I love the historical background (I had to look up what a drudge is) and I look forward to reading the rest of the series...in one sitting in the dark of the night.