Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 256
Published: September 6th, 2016
First line: “It was under the bed.”
Thirteen-year-old Marcus has a knack for landing himself in detention at school, most of the time he has the best of intentions, but all these detentions are causing friction with his adoptive parents. While Marcus is serving his first day of his latest sentence, some weird things begin to happen. For one, a man wearing pajamas and a bathrobe begins to follow him around, and then there is the bull charging at him in the hallway at school. There is also this mysterious message that keeps appearing telling him to “surrender the key,” but Marcus has no idea what it means. Is he seeing things, is someone playing a trick on him? Then the man in the bathrobe tries to offer him a key, and the key passes right through his hand, Marcus knows what he is experiencing must have something to do with ghosts, but what? Marcus begins to explore who this man was and finds that the man's name is Michael and he is deceased. Michael's wife seems to have known Marcus' biological parents and she has been holding onto a key that his father wanted Marcus to have. The key opens a door into a Library filled with unfinished stories and one of those stories is Marcus' to finish. But, Marcus isn't the only one who wants the key to the library, there is a Boggin who will do anything to get the key and destroy the library.
I love creepy books and Curse of the Boggin is a great example of one for that middle-grade reader that is slightly spooky with a bit of a mystery. Think things hiding under the bed, a creepy Boggin that can look like your best friend, controls the weather and creates illusions just to scare you. Marcus does get some help from his two best friends, Lu and Theo, as well as Everett, the head ghost librarian. I'm a huge fan of old-fashioned brass keys and liked that this one open's up into a library. The library is probably my favorite part of the whole story and the way that it is filled with these stories needing to be finished and how it is the ghosts who are writing them down. There are so many possibilities and the Curse of the Boggin does allude to some unfinished stories for Marcus' friends. I also liked how McHale stated in the foreword that he planned for each book in series to be read independently of the others, but with our three main characters being present in each book. Overall, this was a great introduction to the series, it has its creepy moments and I'll be curious to see what kinds of villains McHale will cook up next.