I will admit that even though I am an avid YA/middle level book reader, this is my first novel by the talented Anthony Horowitz. I also know his Alex Rider series is extremely popular among boys and I have never even checked one out of the library. I am not sure why and after reading this book I am interested to read the series. This book is an easy read intended for grades 4-6.
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
I enjoyed the book. It was nothing too gross(I would have liked more, but it was just fine for the intended audience). It was just a nice, fun, entertaining story. If you like R.L. Stine, then this will be right up your alley. I know that there are some other books in this series as well so you have more to read if you enjoy the book. I still would like to know how they played soccer with a pig’s intestine? What will the decision be for David? Go ahead and read to find out.