The Midnight Curse by L. M. Falcone is just a breezy, fun read for juveniles and adults who can channel their inner child. (I have no problem with that and often read YA books.) This novel is on the younger, lighter side because it doesn’t deal with heavy issues. I mean, it’s a curse, right? Not that big of a deal since there’s a witch waiting in the wings to help out with things, and not all of the ghosts are really out to get the heroes.
Falcone has a really good handle on this type of writing. She presents just enough creepiness to get the imagination primed, then steps back and lets the readers imagine the worst. She also delivers a lot of the backstory in short, punchy dialogue that will keep young readers perusing the pages long after they normally would because it’s like “watching” a television show.
The main characters are twins, Charlie and Lacey, both 11 years old. Unfortunately, Charlie is the recipient of the family curse that strikes male heirs. After a love story went awry and an ancestor lied about his best friend, sending him to the gallows where he hung, the vengeful ghost laid a curse on the males. As a result, all the male heirs have to sleep in water every night or they will perish.
Charlie and Lacey’s mom disappears early on, and her whereabouts are part of the suspense. There are also plenty of creepy adults lounging around, the biggest one being Cornelius, the mansion’s major domo who has been around for an incredibly long time.
Mrs. Rothbottom, the local witch, is creepy in her own way, and frightful to the kids. Especially when they find a skull in her refrigerator. Thankfully, the revelation about the skull is funny, but I’ll leave that for readers to discover on their own.
Every time they think they have the curse figured out, though, something else happens. I finished this book (which is relatively short) in two sittings, but I’ll be there are some young readers who get hooked and finish it in one. The Midnight Curse will drag readers through the pages, alternately tensing them up and at other times breaking them up in fits of laughter.