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Darkside
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Gr 5-8-Jonathan Starling, the smart and self-reliant teen first introduced in Darkside (Scholastic, 2008), must travel between London's familiar, modern Lightside and Darkside, where horse-drawn carriages travel under gas streetlamps and werewolves, vampires, and murderers all reside together under the rule of the descendant of Jack the Ripper. There he tries to solve the serial murders linked to the ensuing battle between Ripper descendants and possibly his mother's disappearance 12 years earlier. The fact that Jonathan was born of two worlds makes his travel between them less physically devastating, and aids the self-discovery aspect of the story. His mother was a reporter for a Darkside newspaper, and his father is a Lightsider who cannot risk the trauma of traveling to Darkside since he is weakened from his battle there with a vampire. The book has many fantastical characters, such as Jonathan's sidekick and protector Carnegie, a charming albeit deadly werewolf; outrageous settings like the nightclub where undead characters go to party and do battle; and plotlines that involve killers who are also painters desperate for sales. This book is totally cool, and readers who love Harry Potter, as well as fans of all things dead and undead, will flock to this fantasy/horror/thriller.-Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School, Loveland, CO Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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