Note: ARC received at BookCon author signing for review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and have not been influenced in any way.
Thelma Bee is a curious, smart middle schooler with high hopes and dreams. Her father owns an antique shop, and her mother explores the world for mysterious animals. Thelma is a just a regular girl, until an old woman brings a strange locked box to the antique shop, and there’s when her adventure begins. Even though this is a middle-grade book, it was a very enjoyable read for me at age 23.
The peculiar haunting that takes place in this book is different from any other that I’ve seen or read about, which makes this really fun to read being a totally new experience. I enjoyed all of the characters (especially Izzy, a short girl with a strong heart). The paranormal action begins shortly into the novel, and though it is a book meant for younger readers, the paranormal scenes are vivid and scary.
I especially love the illustrations scattered throughout the book, and the sketchbook-style of the artwork really matches how the story is written (Note: I’m not sure if the artwork is the same in the final book, but in this ARC copy they are styled as if they’ve been sketched out). The description of the haunted house was so good that it didn’t need an illustration to portray how eerie and impending the architecture was.
If you are interested in paranormal stories, I would definitely recommend this book no matter what age you are. The backstory is unique and is a great mystery for any age to enjoy. The ending is a feel-good one, though it hints at more adventures to come from Thelma (which I’m looking forward to!).