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Groosham Grange Hardcover – August 14, 2008

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 8
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel; 1ST edition (August 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399250611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399250613
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,485,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–6—This dark, sinister tale, which reads like a cross between Lemony Snicket's books (HarperCollins) and R. L. Stine's "Goosebumps" series (Scholastic), involves maniacal parents, supernatural monsters, and some difficult choices for its characters. David Eliot's parents make the Dursleys from "Harry Potter" seem like a loving family. Not only are they mentally abusive, but they are also horrifyingly physically abusive (Mr. Eliot throws a knife at David and is nonplussed when it ends up in his wife's chest instead). After David is expelled from school, a mysterious letter arrives, offering him a place at a boarding school located on its own island off Norfolk, England. On the train trip to Groosham Grange, David meets a boy and girl who have also been sent away for not measuring up to standards. Once they arrive, they discover strange, otherworldly teachers and students who behave in a secretive manner, rising from their beds at midnight and disappearing without a trace. David and his friends must discover the secret of Groosham Grange before their 13th birthdays, when they will be forced to make a difficult decision that will change their lives forever. Though the author portrays punishments and moments of cruelty as absurd and unrealistic, these instances may disturb some readers. Still, the mysteries, elements of witchcraft and the supernatural, and occasional instances of humor may appeal to fans of (mostly) bloodless horror.—Debra Banna, Sharon Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Horowitz takes a step away from his Alex Rider series to fashion a funny little spot of horror for a younger set of readers in this riff on the classic boarding-school tale. After David Elliot is expelled from a private school, he is invited to enroll in a mysterious boarding school called Groosham Grange. The school, a sort of bizarro Hogwarts, has a faculty of vampires, ghouls, and worse, and all the students have phony names, sport matching black-stone rings, and don’t seem to mind being taught by monsters. For the most part, David’s subsequent adventures and attempts to escape the school are more zany than scary, but there’s still plenty of yikes moments and eerie passages peppered among the silliness. The cartoonishly evil folks at Groosham make a fine point that as bad as they may seem, they’ve never dropped an atomic bomb on anyone, and are just the sort of “rather pleasantly evil” characters ideal to give kids a few goose bumps in between snickers. Grades 5-8. --Ian Chipman

More About the Author

Anthony Horowitz's life might have been copied from the pages of Charles Dickens or the Brothers Grimm. Born in 1956 in Stanmore, Middlesex, to a family of wealth and status, Anthony was raised by nannies, surrounded by servants and chauffeurs. His father, a wealthy businessman, was, says Mr. Horowitz, "a fixer for Harold Wilson." What that means exactly is unclear -- "My father was a very secretive man," he says-- so an aura of suspicion and mystery surrounds both the word and the man. As unlikely as it might seem, Anthony's father, threatened with bankruptcy, withdrew all of his money from Swiss bank accounts in Zurich and deposited it in another account under a false name and then promptly died. His mother searched unsuccessfully for years in attempt to find the money, but it was never found. That too shaped Anthony's view of things. Today he says, "I think the only thing to do with money is spend it." His mother, whom he adored, eccentrically gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday. His grandmother, another Dickensian character, was mean-spirited and malevolent, a destructive force in his life. She was, he says, "a truly evil person", his first and worst arch villain. "My sister and I danced on her grave when she died," he now recalls.
A miserably unhappy and overweight child, Anthony had nowhere to turn for solace. "Family meals," he recalls, "had calories running into the thousands&. I was an astoundingly large, round child&." At the age of eight he was sent off to boarding school, a standard practice of the times and class in which he was raised. While being away from home came as an enormous relief, the school itself, Orley Farm, was a grand guignol horror with a headmaster who flogged the boys till they bled. "Once the headmaster told me to stand up in assembly and in front of the whole school said, 'This boy is so stupid he will not be coming to Christmas games tomorrow.' I have never totally recovered." To relieve his misery and that of the other boys, he not unsurprisingly made up tales of astounding revenge and retribution.

Anthony Horowitz is perhaps the busiest writer in England. He has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. He writes in a comfortable shed in his garden for up to ten hours per day. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he has also written episodes of several popular TV crime series, including Poirot, Murder in Mind, Midsomer Murders and Murder Most Horrid. He has written a television series Foyle's War, which recently aired in the United States, and he has written the libretto of a Broadway musical adapted from Dr. Seuss's book, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. His film script The Gathering has just finished production. And&oh yes&there are more Alex Rider novels in the works. Anthony has also written the Diamond Brothers series.

Customer Reviews

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I just reread it today and it is even better than I remembered it.
James N Simpson
I never bonded with the main character, and felt like he was just a puppet of the author, not a real person.
M. Bounds
After reading HOROWITZ HORROR, it was a little easy to guess where things might end up going though.
S. Stevenson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By James N Simpson on September 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
Anthony Horowitz today is better known for his successful Alex Rider series (which have also been turned into movies) but back when I was a kid he wrote the best comedy thrillers and comedy horror junior paperbacks you could find. Groosham Grange first published back in 1988 is easily up there with the best of his career's work. I just reread it today and it is even better than I remembered it. You definitely don't have to still be a kid either to enjoy it.

I guess the closest comparison to this storyline would be the first book of the Harry Potter series although this is a lot less magicy and more kid monsters/horror. Obviously J.K. Rowling read this book as a kid herself before coming up with her successful series.

In Groosham Grange 12 year old David Eliot is expelled from school. His abusive father isn't too pleased, nor does his mother stick up for him either and goes along with his dad's evil plans usually while being the victim of domestic violence herself. When a letter addressed to his father seems to magically arrive just when he is thinking up punishment explaining that a school located on an island off the Norfolk (part of the UK) coastline is heavily into discipline and doesn't expect the parents to ever visit at all he decides to send David there.

On route to the school David meets two other new classmates, Jeffrey and Jill. They decide to stick together no matter what. What is however not anything they could have expected! From the train station they are driven in a hearse to a rusty boat which takes them to the island. There they made to sign onto the registry with their own blood, the teachers are weird, the history teacher is old, bald and wrapped in bandages.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Groosham Grange is a brill book, it is about a boy called David Eliot and he gets expelled from Beton College. He gets a letter from a school on the coast of Norway called Groosham Grange.He meets a girl called Jill and a boy called Jeffrey on a train to Norway.When they get to the train station they find a humpbacked person waiting to drive them to the school. When they

got there they found out that nothing was as they expected and far from normal. This is a book for people who like adventure and mystery books. Recommended for ages 7-13.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ikirkwood62 on September 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Hollywood, there is a saying that "any publicity is good publicity." In most cases, I would disagree with that statement. But with Anthony Horowitz's Groosham Grange, that statement is very true.

This book has received a somewhat revitalizing surge in orders recently, due primarily to the constant comparison to Harry Potter. The books both concern fantasy schools, dark secrets, and themes that just *might* be too explicit for kids to be reading. There are a lot of instant haters of the book who call it a "rip-off" of the popular series and denounce it as poorly written or plotted. In reality, all of this "controversy (which really isn't big enough to call it even that) is good, because it is bringing a new readership to this book series, which really isn't all that bad.

Groosham Grange is about a young boy, David, who escapes his abusive parents and gets selected to go to a special school off the coast of Scotland. On the train there, he meets two friends, a boy and a girl, and together the three stick through it at their new, sinister academy. What ensues is a suspenseful mystery that delivers on many levels.

I had never read anything by Horowitz before I read this, and, honestly, still don't think I'll continue on to any of his other works. I am a high school senior and don't know if "young adult" is really my favorite genre anymore, but I do love Harry Potter, so I bought this book (cheap) and gave it a try.

I was surprised. When boiled down to summary form, the plot of this novel sounds incredibly like that of Harry Potter's. This novel, however, came first (1988, to be exact) and therefore has its own original authenticity.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Tanenbaum VINE VOICE on December 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
When 13 year old David Eliot takes off on a train with two other new students for a school on an island that doesn't appear on any map, something is definitely not right. The other students at the school seem like zombies, no real teaching seems to be going on, the assistant headmaster appears to be a vampire, another teacher is a werewolf, and one seems to be over 600 years old. Escape seems impossible. Groosham Grange, we discover along with David, is a school for witches. Will David join them or succeed in getting away from this evil place? This may sound like a Harry Potter rip-off but was actually written before Harry Potter made this type of story so popular. The exaggerated style is a mixture of horror and comedy; this book would appeal to Harry Potter fans, particularly those who are reluctant readers and can't handle a long book. Because of its shorter length, it is much more accessible. The skillful mix of humor and horror make it a good read for boys, in particular
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