The Return of Skeleton Man, by Joseph Bruchac

The Return of Skeleton Man, by Joseph Bruchac (HarperCollins, 2006), sequel to Skeleton Man (my review).

Last year Molly's worst nightmare had come true.  Skeleton Man was no longer just a scary story about a fleshing-eating monster from her Mohawk ancestors--he was real, and he came hunting for her.   But she defeated him....and now she's, maybe, free from his horror.   And so it's with a hopeful heart that she accompanies her parents to a conference at a mountain retreat in New York.  Maybe at last they can relax...


Instead, a growing sense of dread turns into full on horror when it becomes clear that Skeleton Man is there too....hunting Molly....

Two rather cool things save her.   One is her ability to operate heavy machinery, a pleasing thing to see in an adolescent girl character!  The other is an unexpected ally--a Mayan woman with her own powerful connection to the strengths of the spirit world.

It's not quite as utterly terrifying as the first book, in which we meet Skeleton Man for the first time, and it takes perhaps a bit too long for the forebodings to turn into terror.  In that first one, Molly's parents have been kidnapped, and she's on her own; here her parents are with her, trying to be helpful and supportive, which blunts the menace somewhat.  And the return of Skeleton Man seems to me a bit unnecessary, blunting Molly's victory from book one.   But still it's a gripping read, especially if you like scary hotels sets in the middle of nowhere...

An additional reason to add this one to your shelves is that, like its predecessor, it's a pretty unique middle grade fantasy/horror book in that it features a contemporary family who is Native--it is who they are, in a matter-of fact way.

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