I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I wanted to read this for quite a while and was very excited for the next book by this dynamic author. I loved Peculiar Incident on Shady Street.
Currie uses Chicago lore once again to craft another story of family entangled with the tales of tragic local history. In Scritch Scratch, Claire Koster is a typical seventh grader whose love of science makes her skeptical, but scared of her dad’s business as a ghost tour conductor. When dad needs her help to complete the tour one fateful evening, someone or something follows Claire home.
In a series of scares and chilling encounters, Claire seeks to help this restless spirit.
I thought the ghostly occurrences were frightening, but accessible to younger age groups. The interwoven history of events of past Chicago will, I believe, light a spark in kids to do their own research. The author describes tragic fires and ill-fated ship voyages that would make readers question if such a horrific thing could have really occurred.
Lindsey Currie’s research and passion for the macabre is clear and she does a fantastic job of piecing it together with the fictional story of Claire. I think a book by this author just about the spooky legends of Chicago or different cities would be well sought after for non-fiction collections. One can only hope that eventually, Currie makes this a goal.
That being said, I love this author and her previous book, so I wanted to love this book as well, but the main character made this nearly impossible. Claire didn’t reach out for help as she should have. There were also the undercurrents of 7th grade drama, but the book is for children and this is to be expected. However, what I really didn’t love was the reasoning behind the spirit’s hauntings. I understand the use of water, without giving too much away, but I really wanted there to be this creepy underlying reasoning for the scritch-scratching that made its way into the title. If the spirit had more to communicate or unfinished business, it would have made the story come together a bit better.
However, it was a quick and compelling read that ultimately made me turn pages. I would recommend to students in class, because I could think of many that would enjoy this. Scary stories are always a big hit with my fifth graders, and I could still see this being a popular choice.