Author: Sean Cummings
Series: Poltergeeks #1
Published: 2 October 2012
Length: 320 pages
Summary : 15-year-old Julie Richardson is about to learn that being the daughter of a witch isn't all it's cracked up to be. When she and her best friend, Marcus, witness an elderly lady jettisoned out the front door of her home, it's pretty obvious to Julie there's a supernatural connection. In fact, there's a whisper of menace behind increasing levels of poltergeist activity all over town. After a large-scale paranormal assault on Julie's high school, her mother falls victim to the spell Endless Night. Now it's a race against time to find out who is responsible or Julie won't just lose her mother's soul, she'll lose her mother's life.
Review: We start off meeting Julie, a teenage witch, and her friend Marcus as they investigate a house that’s been messed around with by a poltergeist. This isn’t the normal kind though-it’s a bit malevolent and tries to attack Marcus. After trapping it in a teddy bear, Julie goes home and shows her mother, who also doesn’t like it. Things build from there as a spirit gets loose again, and takes Julie’s mother with it. Julie is put on a mission to get her mother back, discovers her heritage and gets caught up in a hunt for a Witchfinder...
Of all the Strange Chemistry titles to start with, this was the one that I really wanted to read. Ghosts, witches and a badass heroine? My thing exactly.
From the start, it was slyly funny, with Julie calling out the poltergeist with unconventional words. She also explains her situation with humour and a voice that I knew I’d love throughout. From the writing, Julie is smart and sassy. From her actions, Julie is this and more. She takes initiative all the time, and she produces amazing comebacks. She’s a really likeable character, and you do find yourself rooting for her.
Marcus too. He’s not your average hero, “not suitable material for the cover of a romantic novel”, a bit awkward when it comes to social etiquette, taking Julie’s magic in his stride, but he’s really funny and sweet. Oh, and his text alert tone is the Doctor Who theme tune. Win! His feelings for Julie are so cute, and I really wanted them to get together. As a couple, both magically paired and otherwise paired, Julie and Marcus work excellently. Both of them are fresh, unpreoccupied with love, and the kind of characters that I really want to be real because they’d make awesome friends.
Other characters are good. Marla, school goth, is nice, and I liked seeing her try for Marcus’ attention while knowing that he was in love with Julie. Having Julie’s father be a ghost was excellent. Matthew Hopkins brings the right amount of evil to this, while still keeping it light hearted. And having magic tutor/guardian Betty changed into a talking dog...
Plot develops well, at just the right pace. Some things seem to work out a bit too well, but it’s easy to over look these as it doesn’t happen too often and you’re just so caught up in the fun. the action at the end was well written, with magic and intensity well fitting the drama.
Overall: Strength 5 tea to a story that’s full of phantoms, fantasy and fun. I really really want a sequel soon, or just more from Sean! (although I think in the author’s notes, there was something about a sequel.)