Jason Strange: The Graveyard Plot

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Jason Strange:  The Graveyard Plot Book Poster Image
Spine-tingling fun for young horror fans.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Explains that "plant" can be a synonym for "factory." Brief explanation of "wendigos." Glossary, discussion questions, and writing prompts in the back.

Positive Messages

Horror story meant to entertain.

Positive Role Models & Representations

At first, Damon is responsible and resourceful. He knows he should finish his work before doing anything else. Jaden doesn’t care when he breaks a gravestone, is sarcastic, and bullies Jaden into going along with him.

Violence & Scariness

Lots of talk about death; mention of demon-killing. Creepy illustrations include one of scary vampire-like fantasy creatures. Kids who read the "case notes" at the end will learn of an ultimately safe resolution; otherwise the book ends with the strong suggestion that a main character dies.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jason Strange: The Graveyard Plot is one volume in the Jason Strange horror series for big kids and tweens. Creepy illustrations show scary vampire-like fantasy creatures, and there's lots of talk about death. Damon is a good role model, resourceful and responsible, but Jaden is a bully. Kids who don't read the "case notes" in the back will end with the strong impression that a main character dies.

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What's the story?

Damon and Jaden are helping pack up the dusty old house belonging to Damon’s grandfather. When they learn that a treasure map might be hidden in the house, Jaden determines to find it. The boys piece together clues, find the map, and follow it to the town cemetery. What does the treasure have to do with Grandpa's past? And what about all the dire warnings about the demon? What will they find when they open the grave?

Is it any good?

Big kids and tweens who enjoy the creepy and macabre will enjoy the spine-tingling chills in this horror story for young readers. The plot of JASON STRANGE: THE GRAVEYARD PLOT moves at a good pace, with lots of foreboding and heavy atmosphere. Eerie, scary illustrations set the tone for this demon story with a twist. It's perfect for reluctant readers, and a glossary helps with the more advanced vocabulary such as "antique” and "sacrifice." Writing prompts and discussion questions encourage kids to connect their own experiences and feelings with the characters and story. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about horror stories. Why is it sometimes fun to get scared or be creeped out?

  • Do you think Jaden deserved what happened to him? Why, or why not?

  • Jaden's a bit of a bossy bully. Do you know anyone like him? How do you deal with bullies?

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