Novels · Review

Review: The Clackity by Lora Senf

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This book is FANTASTIC.

Twelve year old Evie lives in Blight Harbor, a notoriously haunted small town with so many ghouls and ghosts that her aunt and guardian, Desdemona (Des) making her living writing a witchy advice column for the local paper is in no way weird. Aunt Des has been Evie’s guardian since her house burned down four years earlier, and her parents disappeared. It’s the beginning of summer and Evie has big plans to volunteer in the town library under the supervision of Lily, head librarian and Aunt Des’s best friend. But when Evie follows Desdemona to the (understandably) haunted, abandoned abattoir (slaughterhouse), she’s drawn into a deal with The Clackity, a terrifying entity who promises she can rescue her aunt if she visits seven houses and brings back a terrible ghoul, the ghost of a local serial killer, before sunset. If she fails Aunt Des is lost forever, and The Clackity will eat Evie. The rescue mission will test her wits, resolve, and PTSD induced panic attacks.

Lora Senf wrote a terrifying middle-grade adventure quest novel, and I loved every moment of it. The Clackity has plenty of evil monsters, but also scary creatures that become opportunities for Evie to gain help and friendships on her journey by applying a bit of empathy and reason instead of just reacting. A delightful mix of traditional hero journey full of trials and tests, fairy tale with all requisite dangers and tricks, and a dash of Stephen King-esque horror, Evie’s story creeped me out and kept me guessing through all seven houses.

Senf does a great job skirting that line for a middle grade reader: plenty of monsters and creepy situations and shivery scares, but nothing too gory or too adult. Her writing style is fast paced and engaging: I read this in a day and wished for more. Any kid (or adult) who likes spooky stories would love The Clackity. Stories like The Clackity are why I’m a reader.

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