Friday, December 05, 2014

Middle-Grade/Teen Review: Haunters

After reading two long nonfiction books for adults, I was ready for something quick and light! I picked up Haunters by Thomas Taylor, a middle-grade/teen novel (recommended for ages 10 – 14 by the publisher) about time travel. It was just what I needed at the time – fast-paced and exciting.

David, a fourteen-year old in present-day England, has been having strange dreams, different from any kind of dream he’s ever had before. These dreams feel real and revolve around a recurring theme with the same boy, Eddie. In fact, the dreams feel so real that David now feels like Eddie is a good friend, after a year of visiting him in his dreams. David wakes from particularly bad and very realistic nightmare, heart pounding and head aching, wondering if he’s losing his mind.

He soon finds out he is perfectly sane but possesses the ability to dreamwalk, to travel through time and space in his dreams and appear as a ghost to real-life people. He discovers a whole group of young people like himself who are all dreamwalkers and learns that there are other dreamwalkers with nefarious goals. Haunters are willing to change history itself for the chance to gain wealth and valuable antiquities, and Adam is the worst offender. David’s new group of friends is battling to stop Adam and the other Haunters and preserve history…and somehow, David’s friend Eddie is at the heart of this complicated puzzle.

David and the other dreamwalkers travel back and forth from the present day to 1940’s London during the Blitz, intent on stopping Adam and his fellow Haunters from doing irreparable damage to both the past and the present. They must figure out a way to save Eddie while preserving history.

Haunters is not an outstanding book and I noticed a few plot inconsistencies, but it’s an engaging story filled with action and intrigue. I especially liked the historical background and trips back in time. It’s certainly a unique concept – traveling back in time through dreams – and easily kept my interest. Haunters is fast-paced fun for kids and teens who enjoy science fiction and especially time travel.

327 pages, Chicken House (Scholastic)

NOTE: I recommend NOT reading the blurb on the book flap or on Amazon. I felt that those descriptions gave away too much, and it’s more fun to let the story unfold on its own. No spoilers in my review!

If you like time travel stories with a dose of history, here are some other middle-grade books you’ll enjoy:  

The Infinity Ring series by various authors (lots of action and a cool link to online games)

The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman, with a trip back in time to 1860 Louisiana

 George Washington's Socks and other books by Elvira Woodruff 

 The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix (action-packed)

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