Cover Image: Scritch Scratch

Scritch Scratch

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Member Reviews

Fun ghost story that has underlying themes of friendship and asking for help.
Claire lives in Chicago with her parents and older brother. Her father is a big time ghost fan - wrote a book about it and operates a bus ghost tour through the city. When his driver calls out sick - Claire has to step in to help. What follows her home is a ghost with issues. As Claire tries to figure out who he is and why he is haunting her, she realizes that she needs help.
This is a quick read with action, enough spookiness to appease the ghost lovers, and a touch of Chicago history.
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Wow! Lindsay has done it again with another spooky middle grade book that, if you’re squeamish like me, you’ll want to read with the lights on. As a reader, I love how suspenseful and spooky it was. As an educator, I love how she weaved in science facts and historical facts about Chicago into the story. Very well done!
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Love, love, love this middle grade novel! Scritch Scratch is a the perfect amount of mystery for the middle grade readers. Taking place in Chicago, Currie combines the mystery along with interesting facts about the city!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced digital copy of Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie.
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I couldn't put this book down. I loved that Clare was a paranormal skeptic with a background in science. Throughout the story, she is constantly battling between what the facts tell her and what she knows she sees in the back of the bus. This spooky story is one that I like middle-level kids will love. I am so glad that I picked it to ready in October. It was just the right Halloween/spooky feel.
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Claire has a few issues, one of which is the fact her parents have a ghost-themed Chicago bus tour business? 

I mean, what middle schooler wouldn't be totally traumatized by this or the fact a ghost has followed her home from one of the tours. 

As "science minded" as Claire is, she's having trouble wrapping her head around it all, but there for sure a ghost who needs her help. 

As she figures out what to do, author Lindsay Currie, pens a delightfully fun story about a girl who's sure she has it all figured out, only to realize that not all the answers can be answered logically. 

I featured this book on San Antonio Living Book Picks: https://news4sanantonio.com/sa-living/spooky-reads-to-get-in-the-halloween-spirit

*I received a copy of this book for an honest review.
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Wow! Lindsay Currie did an amazing job developing interesting and creepy settings in this ghost story set in modern-day Chicago. Claire is a likable protagonist with a unique problem: she is embarrassed by her dad’s ghost bus business. The terrible twist is that she’s being haunted by a ghost. The subplot surrounding Claire’s struggles with friendships provides and realistic element that keeps the story grounded and relatable for young readers. The middle-grade readers in my library are always asking for scary stories and I can’t wait to share this one with them.
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Claire is an aspiring scientist who believes in the scientific method. Like most middle schoolers she likes to blend in and not call attention to herself but her dad runs a ghost tour business in Chicago and writes books on paranormal activity in the area. She tries very hard to distance herself from his obsession with disasters, hauntings, and ghost sightings. Unfortunately she is needs to help her father on the night tour, and that is when she finds herself being stalked by a ghost that is leaving clues as to his identity and what he would like her to do.  Claire is reluctant to share the strange interactions, but she finally confides in her brother and friends.  The first half sets up the events and clues, while the second half deals with the solving of the mystery. Chicago is crowded with ghosts, and the plot involves the history of Death Alley, Graceland Cemetery,and the Eastland Dis taster, and the Chicago History Museum. I definitely recommend.
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This book was perfect for middle-grade readers. It had elements of ghost hunting, local history, and family/friendship dynamics that made the book really pop. Life is complicated when you are a kid and trying to figure out who you are. When your dad runs a spooky ghost tour company, that can lead to all kinds of social nightmares. But it can also be super cool. I love the learning/growth of the MC and how she struggles to find answers on her own. It puts forth a message of self-reliance, but also teaches that asking for help is good too. 

I will be recommending this book to my customers and posting on social media. 5 big glowing stars for a spooky season book with hidden gems!
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My third of my middle-grade Halloween reads was Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie. Our protagonist, 12-year-old Claire, is a budding scientist and does not believe in the paranormal. As far as she is concerned, there is no such thing as ghosts, goblins, or ghouls, and anything that goes bump in the night can be explained if you simply apply some logic and use the scientific method to figure out what caused it. Her father, however, is a different story. He has written a popular book about the ghosts that supposedly inhabit their home city of Chicago and – even more embarrassingly – owns and operates a ghost tour bus that takes tourists around haunted sites, a source of endless humiliation. Just to make things worse, the new girl at school appears to have stolen Claire’s best friend. Middle school just cannot get any worse.

One Saturday night, Claire is forced to assist her dad on his bus and she finds herself surprisingly unnerved by the stories he tells his customers. Her uneasy feelings are only intensified when she spots a strange little boy alone on the bus and wearing odd clothes. When he disappears, Claire soon realizes that no one else saw him and upon investigating the seat, finds a wet piece of paper with the number 396 written on it. From that point on, weird things begin happening everywhere Claire goes. The number 396 keeps popping up, her dresser is flooded and soaks all her clothes, and a mysterious scratching noise can be heard in the walls of her home. Claire is soon forced to conclude that ghosts are very real after all, and worse, one of them is haunting her. With the help of her older brother, Claire begins a scientific-style investigation with the aim of discovering who the little boy was and what he wants, in the hopes of making him leave her alone. Together they dive into the history of Chicago and discover a forgotten tragedy that might hold the key to their mystery.

This was a beautifully written book, it is at times both frightening and upsetting and it ties together real Chicago history with plenty of classic spooky moments that will probably have young readers trembling under their covers if reading alone at night. I had never heard of the S.S. Eastland and having surveyed everyone I spoke to in the days after finishing the book, found that no one else had heard of it either, a shocking revelation when you consider the fame of the Titanic. Scritch Scratch made me want to learn more about this unimaginable disaster so that it not forgotten.

I did find myself unsure about the author’s choice to have a real victim of the tragedy appear as the ghost. While the subject is handled with incredible sensitivity and with the intention of educating readers about the disaster, having a child who died in unimaginably horrifying circumstances be used as the antagonist (at least initially) of the story could easily be viewed as inappropriate. That is something I wrestled with throughout the book once it became clear that this was no typical literary ghost but instead a real person whose photograph can be easily googled, and I still don’t know exactly how I feel about it.

Despite this, I did enjoy reading Scritch Scratch and found it incredibly educational, however, young readers may find much of the subject matter upsetting and parents may wish to read this one in advance to determine its suitability.
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Claire is a scientist. And scientists do not believe in the paranormal.

Scientists base their logic on facts and knowledge and the mere thought of ghosts is laughable.
That's what she's always told herself and that's what she believes. 

It's funny because all of her life she's been surrounded by ghost stories and the supernatural. Her father is an author and runs a ghost themed tour bus ride highlighting Chicago's most haunted locations. Claire wants nothing to do with it until one night she has no choice but to be a part of it. It's on the tour that Claire meets the impossible. She chances upon the ghost of a young boy in old fashioned clothes and deep sad eyes. Of course Claire thinks she's simply imagined him but as the days go on and time ticks by she realizes that the ghost and his haunting of her is very real. The ghost wants her and why she doesn't know. What she does realize is he won't stop to get what he wants and the incessant scritch scratch is more than a warning.


I've said this before and I will say it again but oftentimes than not horror books aimed at children are scarier than horror for adults. This book is a great example of it.  There are genuinely creepy moments in Scritch Scratch that even made me shudder. I think one of the things I like most about the book is the friendship dynamic though. Look, Claire is in 7th grade and middle school is absolute HELL. I feel that Lindsay Currie did a great job on portraying that and the friendships that go on during that period. It was also nice to learn more about Chicago's haunted and devastating history. 

There are some issues with the pacing and I felt as though the ending was rushed and tied a little too nicely at the end. I'm h0oping there will also be a second book because these are characters  that deserve to be read about some more.

If you're looking for a creepy middle grade book for this haunting season, Scritch Scratch is perfect for you.

Thank you very much to Netgalley and the publisher for this copy of my ARC. All opinions are my own.
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This book was creepy, but still a good read. The book focused on a girl named Claire who is being haunted by a ghost. She tries to find out what is happening and eventually solves the mystery with her friends and brother. This book is good for readers ages 10-13.
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It’s bad enough that Claire has to deal with a best friend who’s outgrowing her, financial tensions around the house, her dad's embarrassing ghost tour business, & her annoying older brother & his antics, but now there’s a spirit haunting her!? Seventh grade is the worst.
This book was a blast, with the perfect amount of chills for middle grade readers.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this creepy middle grade title; it's perfect reading for October. I was very interested to find that true Chicago history was integral to the plot and I was inspired to  learn more after I finished the book.
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Scritch Scratch is based on real Chicago history, and it is creepy as can be. Author Lindsay Currie wastes no time setting the scene. Claire’s experience on the bus tour is enough to wig out even the calmest of people, but add in a continued haunting, and it’s downright freaky. The haunting elements had me reaching for a blanket halfway through and made me glad this book is being marketed to older middle-readers (10 and up).

But Scritch Scratch isn’t only about a ghost. Its other main theme focuses on friendship and family. As the stakes rise, and Claire starts pushing people away, they push back. Both Claire’s brother and best friend make it clear they are there for Claire and want to help — even though learning the truth is clearly frightening.

I did have a problem with Claire’s parents; her father in particular. A specific parenting choice he makes, but that we don’t learn about until the end, made me angry. Claire exhibits clear signs of exhaustion and emotional distress. One would hope an “expert” would have played a bigger role. This objection probably won’t even register with younger readers, but as a parent, it spoiled the ending just a bit.

Scritch Scratch is a good choice leading up to the Halloween season.
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Scritch Scratch was a spooky middle-grade novel, ideal for this time of year. In this story, Claire's father owns a tour bus company that focuses on ghost tours. During one of the tours, Claire sees a ghost boy and has to then figure out why she is being haunted. I loved the deep dive into forgotten elements of Chicago's history. Recommended for students who like a little spookiness but nothing too terrifying; for ages 10 and up.. Pair with Ghost Squad, which has similar themes.
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Scritch Scratch is a thrill ride meets ghost story adventure set in historic Chicago. Claire's skeptical of the supernatural in general, but especially of her father's ghost tour around the city. When she helps him lead the tour one night, she's confronted with ghostly evidence she can't ignore. I enjoyed reading from Claire's point of view, the inclusion of historical ghost stories centered in the city of Chicago, and the relationships between the characters. Chicago is almost a character in its own right throughout the book.
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Disclaimer: I worked for the publisher when this book was acquired. It gave me chills then and gave me chills now.
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This had so much potential to be scarier. There were minimal chills, and it felt like the author was trying to hard to teach a history lesson, albeit an important and interesting one.
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Claire is a scientist. All she wants to do is focus on the science fair project with her best friend and ignore how her father is so completely obsessed with ghosts. Yet, when he needs her help, Claire participates in his ghost tour, reluctantly… That night she sees a young boy on the bus. A boy that no one else sees and one who vanishes, just as quickly as he appeared. In the days that follow, Claire experiences terrifying things and has to accept the fact that she is being haunted by a ghost. Will Claire be able to make the ghost vanish from her life or will she forever be spending the nights locked on her closet, afraid for her life?

Lindsay Currie crafts an amazing, creepy tale filled with important life lessons. Through the eyes of a scared girl, determined to logically explain everything, readers will learn appearances are not always what they seem. Readers will see the value of friendship and the importance of remembering the past. Just in time for fall, families will enjoy reading this book with a good cup of hot chocolate.

This was my first read by Lindsay Currie and it was incredible. I am normally not a fan of spooky stories, unless I am in the mood to be scared. I was not expecting the level of spooky, and definitely had goosebumps. However, it was the ending and the powerful message that I thoroughly appreciated. We should all remember the past, as well as not judge people by their appearances. This book is a definite must-read for families.

Note:

I signed up to honestly review this book, via Netgalley.
This review was originally posted on the Ariesgrl Book Reviews website.
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It's September, so I am already in Halloween season. Fall means apple cider and Halloween (so scary movies and candy) and this year, I'm also hoping to read more horror books, too.

This book was absolutely what I wanted. It's a great gateway to creepy things for middlegrade readers (it's so, SO spooky) and I love everything about it. 

I don't want to get into spoilers, but suffice to say that there is a ghost and a tragic backstory and Claire does research. RESEARCH! It makes my nerd heart grow about a hundred sizes. 

If you want something scary but that won't keep you awake, read this. It is a complete joy. Highly recommended.
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