The Island of Monsters, by Ellen Oh

Not my greatest blogging week, but at least I'm getting one post up!

The Island of Monsters, by Ellen Oh (HarperCollins, middle grade, July 2018), is the sequel to last year's fantastic horror story, Spirit Hunters.  In that book, Harper Raine learns to use her gift for communicating with spirits, with the help of her Korean grandmother, and saves her little brother from a horrible ghost.  Now she's off to a family vacation on a remote Caribbean island, and has a bad feeling about it.  With justification, as it turns out to be demon infested.  Some years ago, 13 people were found horrible killed, and the mystery of their deaths was never solved.  It quickly becomes clear to Harper that supernatural forces were to blame, and when she experiences visions of what happened back then, she learns that it's not ghosts she's dealing with; it's demons.  And the demons are determined to claim more victims so that they can use their life force to break into our world and run amok.

Her grandmother can't come to island to help her, so Harper must take the lead on freeing the trapped spirits inside the demons, and sending them away from our world before they can kill again.  Fortunately her best friend, Dayo, has come along for the trip too, and she's a stalwart ally, but it is all very touch and go, and the horrible death of her little brother, and other young people,  is only a whisker away!

Spirit Hunters is a stronger book, because it deals more deeply with mundane concerns of middle school kids--moving to a new town, family tensions, friendship worries, wondering if the fact that you see ghosts makes you weird.  Here the story is almost entirely focused on the immediate threat, and that's certainly enough to keep the pages turning, but though the supporting characters are all clearly drawn and there's a mystery to solve about the past deaths, it's not quite so emotionally interesting to me story-wise.

That being said, kids who love horror (and it's pretty horrible, with some nasty disemboweling) will eat it up!


  1. I had similar thoughts about this one. I felt like I didn't learn anything new about Harper, and learning about her past and abilities was something I really liked in the first book.

  2. I love this series and found Book 2 better than Book 1 which didn't explain Spirit Hunters until half way through the book. Characters are relatable.


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