Sunday, July 11, 2010
I have read many of Avi’s books, and they are pretty hit or miss for me. Some I loved, some I couldn’t even force myself to finish. I picked up Something Upstairs because it looked like a quick read, and I tend to enjoy historical fiction. Something Upstairs was a fun mystery with some unusual twists which kept it from becoming “just another ghost story.”
Summary: When Kenny moves from sunny California to Providence, Rhode Island, he makes a discovery that he can’t share with his parents – his attic bedroom is haunted by the ghost of a murdered slave named Caleb. Caleb wants Kenny to go back in time and find out who murdered him.
As he tries to solve the mystery of Caleb’s death, Kenny finds himself caught up in the fight between abolitionists and slavers. If he makes the wrong choice, he may end up trapped in the past forever. Can Kenny solve the mystery and make it home to his own time?
In keeping with the historical context and language of the time, some of the characters do use a racial slur – but it is not used just for fun, it actually is something the characters would have said without a second thought. Just be aware so that you can address this with your young readers.
Grades 4 and up
Areas of concern (content):
Foul Language: Use of racial slurs (in historical context)
Nudity/Adult Content: none