Grave Secrets (Deadtime Stories Series #1)
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Grave Secrets (Deadtime Stories Series #1)

4.8 20
by Annette Cascone, Gina Cascone
     
 

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The Deadtime Stories by "Twisted Sisters" Annette and Gina Cascone —they'll scare you silly! Now being filmed as a live-action series coming soon to a screen near you.

Some secrets refuse to stay buried….

Amanda Peterson has a pet cemetery in her backyard. It's where she's buried all her family's dear departed pets, like Ralphie the hamster, Herman

…  See more details below

Overview

The Deadtime Stories by "Twisted Sisters" Annette and Gina Cascone —they'll scare you silly! Now being filmed as a live-action series coming soon to a screen near you.

Some secrets refuse to stay buried….

Amanda Peterson has a pet cemetery in her backyard. It's where she's buried all her family's dear departed pets, like Ralphie the hamster, Herman the goldfish, and Snitch the canary. But when Amanda and her friends set out to bury a dead squirrel, they accidentally dig up a grave that's already occupied—and not by a pet. The scary old lady who lives next door has lots of buried secrets. And she'll do anything to keep them that way….

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“These titles are shivery fun.” —School Library Journal

“The flowing story line and relatable characters and plot…pack a sweet and sour punch [for] readers who have come to delight in mild horror.” —VOYA

VOYA - Mirta Espinola
This spooky, fun-filled story is a throw-back to the twilight zone, when what you see is definitely not what you may believe. The Cascone sisters and authors tell the tale of a haunted doll, a melancholy ghost named Anna, and the neighborhood kids who witness paranormal events. Amanda, the main character, and her friends dig up a doll that constantly calls out "Mama," but when the doll is lost, Anna, the ghost, haunts them all until her doll is back in her possession. The children discover that their scary old-lady neighbor has more to do with the lost doll and the ghost than they thought. What they uncover will have all readers' knees knocking. This ghastly paranormal tale merges friendship, misconceptions, and the paranormal to be scary yet comedic. It begs the question: Can you judge a book by its cover? Not really. This story addresses that issue as well as others and, combined with the element of surprise, tempts the reader to read on. The flowing story line and relatable characters and plot can be followed with ease by grade school or middle school students to pack a sweet and sour punch to readers who have come to delight in mild horror. This tale of terror is for any book lover if they dare to open the book. Reviewer: Mirta Espinola
Kirkus Reviews
The Deadtime Stories from the mid-1990s are rising again--this time in conjunction with a planned series of live-action TV-movies. In this lightly edited reboot, preteen Amanda discovers an old doll buried in her backyard and shortly thereafter begins receiving ghostly messages written in sand or bathroom steam along the lines of "I want my baby back--now!" Then the doll disappears. Getting it back entails multiple encounters with Anna, the child ghost from whom it was stolen long ago, and the hostile, spooky old lady next door known to Amanda and friends as "Barnsey." The shudders here are laboriously manufactured by contrived cliffhangers at each short chapter's end, an obnoxious character who revels in sharing eerie rumors about Barnsey's supposed witchy ways, nighttime expeditions into her yard and, particularly, with frequent screams: "And Kevin, who had been screaming his head off over Anna's appearance, stopped screaming mid-scream the moment he saw Barnsey." There's no overt gore or violence, Anna fades away once she's reunited with her doll and Barnsey, unsurprisingly, suddenly turns into a nice old lady. Formula horror from the 1990s still feels formulaic today. (Horror. 9-11)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765369703
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
08/28/2012
Series:
Deadtime Stories Series, #1
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
471,072
Product dimensions:
7.60(w) x 5.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

1

There was no stopping what was about to happen. And Amanda Peterson knew it. Even as she watched Jarrad Clark and Kevin Stewart racing toward the back of the yard, she knew it was hopeless.

“No!” Laura Baxter screamed. But it was already too late.

The ball game was over. Amanda had hit a home run. Only nobody cheered. And Amanda didn’t run the bases, or do a victory dance, or even smile. She just stood frozen, watching in horror as the ball sailed over her back fence into the yard of the house that stood at 704 Shadow Lane.

“I’m out of here,” Laura announced, dropping her glove and heading past Amanda toward the gate. Laura always bugged out at the first sign of trouble.

“Oh, no you don’t!” Amanda caught Laura by the back of her shirt as she tried to escape.

“I am not going over there to get that ball,” Laura said, shaking her head adamantly. “I don’t care what you say. I’m not doing it. So don’t even ask me.”

Like anybody would. Cool, calm, and collected were not adjectives that applied to Laura in any situation. Even momentary discomfort was too much for her to bear. That was why Laura walked around with only one ear pierced. She told everybody it was a fashion statement. But Amanda knew the truth. Because Amanda was there when it happened. The first pinch of the piercing gun sent Laura into hysterics. And she practically destroyed the whole Piercing Pagoda trying to escape. Laura was definitely not the kind of person you sent on a life-or-death mission.

“I wasn’t going to ask you to go,” Amanda assured her. “I’m gonna go. I just don’t want you to leave me all by myself in case something terrible happens.” Amanda released her grip on Laura. “I wouldn’t leave you,” she added deliberately. Then she turned and headed for the back fence. Laura followed a moment later, just as Amanda knew she would.

Jarrad and Kevin were peering intently through the gap where a section of the Petersons’ fence had come loose from the post. “It’s not good,” Jarrad said gravely as he stepped back so that Amanda could see for herself.

Peeking through the crack in the fence was like peeking through a crack in time. The property at 704 Shadow Lane was so strange and eerie that it seemed like a horrible hallucination. Even in the middle of the day, it was dark there. The enormous old trees in the back of the yard blocked out the sun completely. And the ancient gray stone house loomed in the shadows, gloomy and foreboding. All of the windows were hung with heavy draperies that were always closed. Except the basement windows, which were covered with grime and thick iron bars. It was easy to imagine that it wasn’t a basement at all, but a dungeon. The only thing scarier than the house at 704 Shadow Lane was the old woman who lived inside it.

“Over there.” Kevin pointed out where Amanda’s ball had landed. “Right next to the shed where she throws the rats after she bites their heads off.”

Amanda shuddered. It was just one of the many rumors about old Mrs. Barns. And while Amanda didn’t want to believe that it was true, she knew enough about Mrs. Barns to be afraid that it just might be.

“If I were you,” Jarrad said, “I’d forget about going in there after that ball.”

“She can’t do that,” Laura shrieked, horrified by the suggestion. “What if Barnsey gets her evil old hands on it? What happens then? Huh?”

“Probably the same thing that happened to that Lizard kid,” Kevin answered.

“What lizard kid?” Jarrad asked.

“The Lizard kid,” Kevin repeated impatiently. “You know, the kid that blew up on his own front yard.”

It was an old story that had been handed down so many times that there was no one around who had actually seen it happen. But all the kids still believed that it had.

“Lu-zard,” Jarrad corrected him.

“Lizard, Lu-zard, who cares what his name is.” Kevin rolled his eyes in exasperation. “The kid’s still dead, isn’t he? And all because Barnsey got her hands on something that belonged to him.”

It was a water pistol. At least that’s the way Amanda had heard it. And while there were several other variations of the story, one thing was certain. There really was a Frederick Luzard. And he really was dead. They’d seen his headstone in the cemetery. He was eleven and a half years old when he died, the same age as Amanda.

“Nobody really knows what happened to that kid,” Jarrad said, trying to be the voice of reason.

“Cut me a break.” Kevin was not about to drop the subject. He was scared to death of Mrs. Barns and took every opportunity to spread the fear around. “Everybody knows what happened to that kid. He burned up just like that!” Kevin snapped his fingers. “Barnsey put a spell on him. And the kid fried.”

“It’s too awful to even think about.” Laura cringed.

“Yeah, well, think about what she did to Todd French!”

Todd French was the only person they actually knew who claimed to have suffered under an evil spell cast on him by Mrs. Barns. It all started the day after one of his brothers tossed his baseball cap onto Barnsey’s property to see if Todd was brave enough to go and get it. But he didn’t go get it. And according to Todd, it was the worst decision of his entire life.

“Barnsey did not put a spell on Todd French,” Jarrad insisted.

“Oh, yeah,” Kevin shot back. “Then how do you explain the twenty-seven stitches he got in his head the day after Barnsey got his cap?”

“It was nine,” Jarrad corrected him. “And he walked into the sliding doors at the supermarket.”

“Because Barnsey made him,” Kevin insisted. “And a week later, she made like six of his teeth fall out.”

“No, the dentist had to pull two of his molars out to make room for all the rest of those buck teeth he’s got.”

“And what about the bed bugs?” Kevin asked.

Amanda was waiting for the logical explanation. But even Jarrad seemed to be stumped by the bed bugs.

“Todd French does not have a spell on him,” Jarrad finally huffed. “Besides, he’s still alive, isn’t he?”

“For now,” Kevin said ominously, looking directly at Amanda.

“You can’t let Barnsey get her hands on that ball.” Laura pointed out what Amanda already knew.

Amanda wasn’t entirely convinced that Todd French was suffering at the hands of Mrs. Barns. But she didn’t want to take any chances, either. “I’ve got to go get it,” Amanda announced. And before she could change her mind, she started to squeeze through the fence.

“No.” Jarrad stopped her. “I’ll go.”

“Yeah.” Laura jumped on the offer. “Let Jarrad go. He can run faster than anybody.”

Amanda really wanted to let Jarrad go in her place. But she couldn’t. If Jarrad messed up and Barnsey got her hands on that ball, Amanda would be the one to fry for it anyway. “I’ve got to do it,” Amanda told him. “It’s my ball.”

She could tell by the look on Jarrad’s face that he was relieved she’d let him off the hook. Amanda knew Jarrad would have gone in her place if she asked him to. He was always trying to prove to the rest of them that they didn’t have to be so scared of Barnsey. But deep down, she was sure that Jarrad was every bit as scared as she was.

“Just don’t let her catch you,” Kevin warned, “or you’ll end up in her dungeon with that other little girl.”

The dungeon was Barnsey’s basement. It was where she tortured all of her victims—before she finally buried them.

“Why don’t you just shut up?” Jarrad backhanded Kevin. “There is no little girl.”

“Is too,” Kevin insisted. “I know someone who saw her.”

“Oh, really,” Jarrad said. “Who?”

“Todd French,” Kevin answered.

“Again with Todd French?” Jarrad was exasperated. “Todd French can’t even see his own two feet in front of him. Why do you think he has to wear those goggle glasses to school?”

“Well, he saw the little girl,” Kevin declared. “And he said that she was all bloody and stuff.”

Amanda could see the panic on Laura’s face as she turned back toward the fence. If Amanda was going to do this, she had to do it now, before she chickened out.

“Keep your fingers crossed,” Amanda told the rest of them. “And watch out for Barnsey. If she sees me, I’m dead.”

Amanda took a deep breath. As she squeezed through the gap in the fence, she could feel her heart pounding all the way down to her fingertips. She focused her eyes on the ball. Not so far away, she told herself. Amanda was a fast runner, almost as fast as Jarrad. She could be there and back in less than a minute. It was going to be okay. She’d make it just fine.

“Go,” Jarrad urged her, peeking through the gap from the safe side of the fence. “Fast!”

As Amanda tore off, she heard Kevin calling after her. “Watch out for the rats!”

Rats! She’d forgotten all about the rats! But there was no stopping now. Besides, rats—even ones without their heads—were a whole lot less terrifying to Amanda than the thought of Barnsey getting her hands on that ball. Still, she watched the ground carefully, praying that she wouldn’t step on anything—dead or alive.

Amanda made it to the shed. The ball was lying right near the open door, and there were no headless rats piled around it. But as she bent down to grab the ball, she heard something moving around inside the shed.

Amanda’s heart stopped. What if the rats were in there? Or worse yet, what if it was Barnsey? What if Barnsey was waiting to grab her and take her to the dungeon with the other little girl?

Amanda grabbed the ball and took off, running fast enough to break Olympic records. She looked back only once. No one was behind her. Ahead of her, and closing fast, was the fence. She could see the amazement on her friends’ faces. Just a few more feet, and Amanda was home free.

“Move!” Amanda ordered the rest of them as she hit the fence hard. “Get out of the way!”

Jarrad, Kevin, and Laura stepped back to make room for Amanda to squeeze through.

“You did it.” Laura congratulated.

“I can’t believe it!” Kevin chimed in. “You made it!”

But Amanda was only halfway through the fence when she felt icy, skeletal fingers clamp down on to her wrist, as cold and as inescapable as handcuffs.

Copyright © 2011 by Annette Cascone and Gina Cascone

 

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Meet the Author


"Twisted Sisters" ANNETTE CASCONE AND GINA CASCONE have written more than twenty-eight books and two movies together. Their books include young adult thrillers, as well as the Deadtime Stories series for middle-grade readers. They have also produced and written numerous treatments and books for series packagers such as Parachute Publishing, where they worked on the mega-successful Goosebumps series by R. L. Stine. They both live in Central New Jersey.

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Grave Secrets 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh my gosh i love this book best book ever!!!!!!! <3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My friend got this book and said it was good.i didnt believe her but then i read it and now i love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You need to read i bought the boo kat barnes and nobles because i cant bring my nook to school and i bought it becaus ei love rhis book im obseessddd
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Super creepy and cool i totally recomend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AWESOME!!!! I REREAD IT A MILLION TIMES!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Strange O_o
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book at my school bookfair and I thought the front looked rather terrifying. I absolutely love ghost stories and it excited me. The book is wonderful and has a great storyline. I highly recommend it to anyone around my age. (10-16).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im 10 and it takes me 3 days to read books like this but it only took me 3 hours super creapy i think you should read this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awsome this is the best book ive read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I watched theshow and read the book its awsome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was the best horror book i have ever read!!it was so thrilling! Its such apage turner for me! Another book i recomend is: WAIT TILL HELEN COMES
Ladystorm More than 1 year ago
Deadtime stories are filled with mystery, suspense and all the great stuff that makes scary stories for young readers. I really enjoyed reading Grave Secrets which is the first book of the deadtime stories series. I can't wait to share this story with my 11yr old niece as she has just started getting into these types of stories! Amanda and her friends dig up more than they bargained for when trying to bury a dead squirrel. Something or someone is haunting Amanda and with each thing that happens its making her more and more scared. He friends think she has fell off the deep end as they don't see or hear the things she is seeing. Her friend Kevin believes it has something to do with the old lady next door because he is convinced that she bites the heads of rats, and does things to make bad things happen to kids who have lost items in her yard. Amanda lost her bracelet in the old ladies yard and Kevin just knows that is what is happening. He is the real wimp of the whole group, though Laura is not far behind him. Jarrad is the braver boy of the bunch, but he is mostly all talk. He can say things are real as long as he doesn't see them, but when he sees them, well he is just as chicken as the rest. Together they make for a really fun blend of characters and fun friends. If you like reading Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine then you will enjoy Deadtime Stories: Grave Secrets.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imagin this... you wakeing up and you were going to tell your friend about the scary dream you had. But when you grabed your phone you see the video... I WANT MY BABY BACK!! Then you yell... AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the best book ever with the best happy ending. i suggest you read this PLEASE ^ ^ &bull; &bull; * U
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the sample and i liked it but the full boook is a lot of money should i get it or not plzz tell me yes or no
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tap here i love this book it scary
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I watche the shoe on nickolodion
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grave secrets is a book you can't just judge by the look of it. You won't understand the charactors or the twists in the book if you turn it down. Once you start it you have to finish it. In the beginning a girl named amanda and her friends laura,kevin and jarrod all find a dead squirrel and try to burry it when they find a strange doll. Who cries mama when amanda relizes something all blame goes to mrs. Barns the old lady next door in this book there is an incredible twist no one expects