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on March 16, 2012
Malcolm Drake is a sixteen year old teenager, who has lived with his father since his mother left. Since his wife's betrayal Malcolm's father had become a bitter man and spends little time with Malcolm choosing instead to throw himself into his work.

Things are not going great for Malcolm at school either and he has managed to find a sanctuary in a room inside a classroom inside the school to escape from bullies. One day while Malcolm is hiding out in his secret sanctuary he sees and overhears a group of people come into the adjoining classroom, appearing to be threatening the principal. Scared that he will be discovered and loose his sanctuary Malcolm stays put and listens. The group want the principal to include a new program on the school curriculum an alternative science class.

When Malcolm's class are told that the Institute of Youth Enlightenment and Development is willing to provide four students the opportunity to receive full scholarships if they take part in the program. This interests many of the students whose families could barley afford a university education for their children.

All students and Malcolm are at first enthusiastic about the program. The students embrace the concepts that they are taught. But when they classes get stranger and they experience supernatural things that are bordering on the occult. What exactly is Malcolm getting involved with?

This is a story that holds you in suspense right to the end of the story. It is a thoroughly good read from beginning to end. There is a nice flow in the writing as it goes along captivating the reader and keeping your interest through out the story. I look forward to reading more of Joana James work.
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on March 12, 2012
Malcolm Drake has so much to bear as a sixteen year old high school student. His mother left for another man, taking all their savings. His father has worked long hours playing financial catch-up and been too weary to see his son grow up. Bullies force him to find a hiding place deep in the school's basement to eat and study. Still, he's managed to stay out of trouble and keep his grades high.
Malcolm has deeper issues in his past, however, that won't leave him alone. Haunting dreams of relentless chases through the darkness leave him exhausted in the mornings. A visiting minister called out a prophecy about Malcolm when Malcolm didn't even know God. Besides, he fled the church because his mother became involved with a deacon and choir director. Malcolm's father also abandoned the scene of his heartbreak and humiliation. Church keeps pulling Malcolm back, though, and people are praying for him and his father even after ten years' absence.
A chance for a scholarship pulls Malcolm into an elite science class. He feels strangely drawn to tell the youth pastor about this opportunity since his father is seldom home. Transcendental Meditation is one of the lighter items on the strange "science class" menu. Is it just ancient wisdom applied to solve today's problems? Or did a chance scene of violent intimidation witnessed from Malcolm's hiding place give him a hint about the real agenda of the scholarship committee?
This story gives one teenager a lot to deal with. But Malcolm's not alone as he comes to grips with deciding what he has to do about all the pressure and danger in his life. He has a protection he doesn't even know about. Because even when you think you've left God behind, you might just find that God's people, and God Himself, still have your back.
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on January 16, 2012
Malcolm Drake is a bright but troubled teenager, and when the story opens he is in the throes of a nightmare. He spends the rest of the night awake, and then inevitably falls asleep in class the next day.

It leads to problems at school, and before too long he finds himself witness to an eerie scene - his own principal weeping as he confronts a group of men who are forcing on him a new Alternative Science program for the school.

Malcolm himself is accepted to this program, thinking it will help him win a much-needed scholarship. But not all is as it seems. In fact it is a program with more connections to the world of the occult than to the world of science.

Malcolm had essentially abandoned God when his mother ran off with a church deacon. But God hasn't abandoned him, and his former pastor starts to see that something strange is going on. He leads a fight against the new program.

Soon we are in the midst of a spiritual battle - a battle for the soul of Malcolm and the other teens on the program.

This is an exciting story, well told, with strong characters and a dramatic climax.
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on August 7, 2012
This was an interesting thriller about good and evil. The story revolves around Malcolm Drake, a 16-year-old high school student, who participates in a new 'alternative-science' program that is brought into the school, which ends up being more like a cult.

Malcolm is being raised by his father, his mother left them when he was younger. The father-son relationship is strained. Malcolm is left alone most of the time while his father works 2 jobs to make ends meet. I found this to be an interesting take from the male point of view. The hurt and anger felt from the mother's absense was real, and I was happy to see their relationship change during the story.

Pastor Daniel is another main character. He is having recurring nightmares that involve Malcolm. Unsure what they mean, he eventually realizes they're a sign of something evil taking place. when Malcolm suddenly starts showing up at church, the Pastor learns about what is going on at the school. I found the Pastors involvement to be critical in the story. While not being 'preachy' he used his belief to comfort and pray and to help bring an end to the 'evil' taking hold in this town.

As a young adult novel, I felt this was a good lesson that not all things are not what they appear to be. The experience with the cult brought pleasure and enjoyment to the members, but they knew it wasn't 'right'. Being a christian novel, the book used the power of prayer to guide them, yet it was 'open minded' enough for those who aren't really religious.

I enjoyed this book very much. It was a 'clean' thriller that touched on some unusual activities. It kept my interest the whole way through. My only complaint is the ending was to abrount.
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on March 7, 2012
Nightmare at Emerald High is true page turner. The writer had me hooked and wondering what's next to come. It ended a little too quickly but neither the less it was a good read.
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on December 28, 2011
I find this book very inportant for teens, as it warns them about the occult and important for adults. Adults need to understand their kids need to feel loved by them no matter what age. The main character is just a boy, but not a young boy. Still, he needs to know he's loved and needs to know that when he becomes a young man (18-30) and a man. I really liked the interaction with the students and felt for the character in how he was bullied. I bet he's hotter than ANY of his bullies and nicer and they're just jealous, hehe, I'm glad he found some friends to finally fit in with all this even though they met in a horrible way. Proof that God uses what Satan intends for bad for the good. The book reminds me of Frank Peretti a little bit.
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on December 27, 2011
Those that enjoy sitting on the edge of their seat wondering what the author has in store for them next, will enjoy this book. The characters come alive as they work their way through the situations they find themselves in.
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on December 5, 2013
Category: Christian Fiction
Clean Language: Yes
Christian References: Yes
Comments: Quick read about a teenager and son where past events have lead them away from God and church and leaves open the opportunity for the occult.
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on May 11, 2014
The story started out well in that it kept the reader's interest. However the writing seemed immature. The subject was of great interest. The ending was too abrupt in my estimation.
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