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The Summoning Hardcover – July 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up—A well-written opening to a paranormal series. Chloe, 15, has the ability to see dead people, but before she can figure out what is happening, she has a breakdown, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and placed in a group home. She befriends some of the teens at Lyle House and tries to accept her treatment. However, two of her more mysterious housemates suggest that maybe she isn't crazy. Derek tells her to look up necromancy on the Internet, and she finds out that it's the ability to communicate with the spirits of the dead. He appears to have superstrength, and his foster brother has magical powers. Chloe's roommate, who causes things to fly around the room when she becomes angry, is taken away to a hospital and never heard from again. When she returns in Chloe's visions, Chloe suspects foul play, a misgiving confirmed when the dead speak to her again and reveal that they were "supernaturals" who were experimented on, killed, and buried in the home's basement many years before. Together with her new friends, Chloe escapes Lyle House, only to be betrayed. This suspenseful novel sets up a secret underworld where some people support and help supernaturals, while others persecute them. Armstrong combines bits of horror, teen relationships, and a dash of mystery to create a page-turner. Readers will look forward to the next installment.—Corinda J. Humphrey, Los Angeles Public Library
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“Teen readers might scream loud enough to raise the dead. ” (Kirkus Reviews (Starred review))
“Suspenseful, well-written and engaging.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
“...splendidly haunting, with hair-raising suspense, disturbing effects, and a running undercurrent of unease.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
Top customer reviews
I thought this book was pretty good. I thought the blurb sounded good when it mentioned Chloe seeing ghosts! I mean the first ghost she saw as a child would have freaked me clean out!!
Later on Chloe is 15 and in high school. She has a breakdown at school, or so they think, really she just saw a ghost that keeps melting his skin and looking all creepy! But this book is not what it seems at all!
Poor Chloe finally gets sent to the Lyle House for "special kids". She has no idea.
No one would say what was wrong with me. They had me talk to a bunch of doctors and they ran some tests, and I could tell they had a good idea what was wrong and just wouldn't say it. That meant it was bad.
This wasn't the first time I'd seen people who weren't really there. That's what Aunt Lauren had wanted to talk to me about after school. When I'd mentioned the dream, she'd remembered how I used to talk about people in our old basement. My parents figured it was my creative version of make-believe friends, inventing a whole cast of characters. Then those friends started terrifying me, so much that we'd moved.
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There are a small cast of characters at the Lyle House. Derek, Simon, Tori, Rae, etc. Some of them have abilities like Chloe and some of them finally inform her of what she truly is and that they (the supernaturals) are in danger.
If your looking for a young adult, somewhat creepy book then you should pick this one up. I'm holding myself back from spoilers =) And I really want to continue on with the series to see what happens with these "special" kids. There are bad people out there that want to do them harm!
Actual Rating: 3.5ish
I'm conflicted. While I find Kelley Armstrong's writing superior to a lot of what's out there in the ocean of Y/A, this story lacked something. Yes, it was fast-paced and, yes, the characters were interesting, it's just, I don't know... I wish there were more. Often times I just found myself saying "oh, come on" or "really?" or sometimes simply "um, okay".
There seemed to be a lot of scrambling going on in this novel, a lot of moving pieces not really going anywhere, not really moving the story along. It was kind of distracting. I expected the story to flow more, taking me with it on it's journey, which, by the way, started out fantastically. It just seemed to peeter out somewhere around the middle and never seemed to get very far beyond that. The action sequences, however, were exciting and the characters seemed interesting, I am looking forward to knowing where their collective and individual stories are going, I just wish they'd get there on a less jarring path.
Another niggling issue: the physical characterization of Derek. I liked him. Really, liked him. There's something dark and troubled about him, and not in that angsty Y/A bad-boy kinda way. Somewhere deep inside I see a squishiness to him that I love and I GET why he's gruff on the outside. But is it really necessary to remind me how repulsive he is? Do I need constant reminders of his acne? Or that he's stinky? He's one of the best written characters in the book, why do you have to hack him off at the knees constantly, Ms. Armstrong? Ugh.
Other than that, it was engaging and worth reading, especially if you're looking for something outside the normal Y/A pnr crap.