Parents' Guide to

The Crossroads

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Ghost story offers little you haven't seen before.

The Crossroads Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 10+

not for kids that get scared easily

This is his daughter. I loved the book but i love scary books and i thought that it was quite good.
age 10+

A good mystery -- with nice and nasty ghosts!

This is the author's first young adult book, and it is winning major awards. For those familiar with Grabenstein's adult mysteries this will come as no surprise. I thought the plot might be too complex for readers younger than the "young adult" category, but its success says otherwise (which tells me that our young readers are perfectly capable of enjoying a plot with twists and turns. Even though there are some pretty nasty ghosts, the story contains no real gore, and the good definitely outweighs the bad. As a grandparent, I enjoyed the book very much and have bought a copy for my oldest grandson.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (1 ):

For the first half of the book, the story seems assembled more than written, like a paint-by-numbers kit. Mean ghosts appearing and disappearing, a graveyard, spooky trees, small-town secrets, short sentences, and short chapters with cliffhanger endings -- yup, the gang's all here, though a bit better written than R. L. Stine. Still, it does make one wonder why so many horror writers can't seem to come up with anything new.

In the second half the author does come up with something relatively new, and a lot more interesting: a complex mystery behind all the supernatural deja-vu. Alert young readers will see the surprise twist coming almost from the beginning, but they may not anticipate the positive effect all this trafficking with ghosts has on Zack's character, which, along with a refreshingly loving stepmother-stepson relationship, makes for a more than usually satisfying ending.

Book Details

  • Author: Chris Grabenstein
  • Genre: Horror
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Publication date: May 1, 2008
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
  • Number of pages: 325
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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