Delightfully blending mystery, fantasy, and adventure, Mark Steensland’s Behind the Bookcase is chock full of everything there is to love about scary stories.  From a creepy “haunted” house, to hidden passages that lead to a sinister shadow world populated by creatures straight from nightmares, to a race against time to save our world from being overrun by evil, once you go behind the bookcase, you won’t want to venture out.

Soon-to-be twelve year old Sarah does not want to spend her summer living in and fixing up her recently deceased grandmother’s run-down, spooky old house far away from her home and friends in Southern California.  But that’s exactly where she is, stuck cleaning and sorting and putting up with her bratty, self-centered younger brother, Billy, whose only interest seems to be running around like an annoyance.   Then Sarah finds two very interesting things:  a little door in the basement behind the furnace with a huge old padlock on it and a half-finished letter from her grandma, addressed to Sarah, the last line of which is “strange things are happening behind the bookcase…”   Sarah’s mom says that growing up in that house she was always told that the house of was full of secrets, and now Sarah can’t stop thinking and wondering about what those secrets may be.   She knows there is only one way to find out, so one day after lunch she closes her bedroom door, gives the bookcase in her room a shove, and discovers a long, dark passageway.

The passageway leads Sarah to Scotopia, a shadowy world filled with giants, a ghostly Ink-man, a bat with a boy’s head, another forlorn boy with half his face missing, and a cunning cat named Balthazat who needs Sarah to help him get out of Scotopia.   Too soon, however, Sarah realizes things are not what they appear to be and she’s inadvertently stumbled into an age-old struggle between darkness and light in which the fate of human souls hang in the balance.  Sarah must draw on some unlikely allies, including her annoying little brother, to help her restore the balance between the different worlds on the other sides of the bookcases in grandma’s creepy old house.

  • Posted by Cori



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