Room of Shadows by Ronald Kidd (review)
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Reviewed by
Kidd, Ronald Room of Shadows. Whitman, 2017[256p]
ISBN 978-0-8075-6805-7 $16.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 5–7

David is getting used to a whole new life since his parents divorced and he and his mother moved. His frustration about everything spills out onto a kid who is bullying him, and suddenly, David’s caught the eye of people who now view him as potentially violent. Adding to his trouble is the fact that a secret room he’s discovered in his home harbors a malevolent spirit that begins to do bad things to real people, and it’s David, not the mysterious figure calling himself “the Raven,” who is under suspicion. It turns out Edgar Allan Poe worked in the hidden room in David’s house, and it is his ghost that is now feeding off David’s anger and gaining power. This is a solidly creepy story with some great historical echoes. Readers yet unacquainted with Poe will want to go looking for his stories to enhance the book, since his plots figure heavily in the methods the Raven uses to wreak havoc; this could also pair effectively with Avi’s classic The Man Who Was Poe (BCCB 10/89). An author’s note explains a fascination with Poe’s mysterious death and how this led to this fictionalized but historically rooted novel that imagines a fittingly creepy, macabre ending to a brilliant but tortured writer.

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