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Something Wicked's in Those Woods

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After their parents' death, Javi Cisneros and his little brother, Nico, move from their home in Puerto Rico to live with their Tití Amparo in northern California. As Javi struggles to adapt, he becomes increasingly worried by Nico's new imaginary friend, Hamish, and by the mysterious happenings that appear to threaten his family. Javi soon discovers that Hamish is not imaginary but a real ghost! With the help of his friend Willo, Javi battles with poltergeists and psychokinesis as he works to unravel a ...

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2000 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Stated 1st edition. New book. 224 p.; 0.87" x 8.52" x 5.81". Juvenile reading level.

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Overview

After their parents' death, Javi Cisneros and his little brother, Nico, move from their home in Puerto Rico to live with their Tití Amparo in northern California. As Javi struggles to adapt, he becomes increasingly worried by Nico's new imaginary friend, Hamish, and by the mysterious happenings that appear to threaten his family. Javi soon discovers that Hamish is not imaginary but a real ghost! With the help of his friend Willo, Javi battles with poltergeists and psychokinesis as he works to unravel a long-unresolved crime. But time is quickly running out—can Javi rid his family of the supernatural forces before someone is hurt?

When their parents are killed in an accident, eleven-year-old Javier and his younger brother leave their home in Puerto Rico to go live with their aunt in Northern California, where a ghost from an unsolved crime and Javi's new-found psychokinetic powers make their adjustment all the harder.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
First-time novelist Montes combines several staples of middle-grade fiction--orphans, immigrants and a ghost story. After the death of their parents, 11-year-old Javier and his five-year-old brother, Nico, must leave their home in Puerto Rico to live with their psychologist aunt in northern California. Nico seems to adjust with ease, helped along by an imaginary friend named Hamish. Javi has more trouble, particularly after he (to the dismay of his aunt) starts believing that Hamish is the ghost of a boy kidnapped and lost almost 70 years earlier, in 1932. Local girl Willo offers friendship, but tensions increase as strange things begin to happen--lights flicker; the TV plays even when unplugged; water faucets and sprinklers turn on by themselves. Is Hamish responsible for the disturbances? Is the "evil one" lurking in the woods to blame? Or could Javi's anger and frustration be the cause? Javi's adjustment is portrayed in convincing detail, but often at the expense of the mystery plot. While the slow pace may deter some readers, those who persevere will be rewarded with a spooky climax. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-When their parents die, 11-year-old Javi Cisneros and his younger brother Nico leave Puerto Rico to live with their aunt in northern California. Depressed, grieving, and angry at life in general, Javi becomes aware that strange things are happening. Nico claims to have a new friend named Hamish, whom no one else can see, and their neighbor, Willo, declares that some wicked creature lives in the woods behind the house. More supernatural disruptions center around Javi and his increasing anger. At first he blames the events on the ghostly Hamish, who is anything but an imaginary friend, but soon it's clear that more than a little boy's ghost is at work. With Willo's help, Javi uncovers Hamish's unsolved kidnapping in 1932, linking it to the powerful sense of evil that permeates the surrounding woods. Events start to rush forward as a dream lures Javi into the woods to rescue Nico and face the wicked ghost of Hamish's kidnapper. Peppered with poltergeists, ghosts, and psychokinesis, the convoluted plot moves at an uneven pace, with sections of excitement and others that drag. For such a smart kid, it takes Javi too long to figure out that Hamish is a ghost, and that he, not Hamish, is responsible for some of the psychic disturbances. Nonetheless, the book has plenty of eerie scenes, not to mention the draw of the supernatural.-Linda Bindner, formerly at Athens Clarke County Library, GA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Montes makes a strong debut with this multistranded tale of two orphaned Puerto Ricans whose struggle to cope with being transplanted to northern California is considerably complicated by encounters with ghosts and other supernatural phenomena. Javi is understandably on an emotional sleigh ride. He's grieving for his parents, feeling fiercely protective of little brother Nico, and surrounded by an oftenunfamiliar new world. Furthermore, he's trying to hold Tití Amparo at arm's length. She's a psychology professor who is having a hard time herself adapting to these two new additions to her single household. His worry sharpens when Nico acquires Hamish, an invisible playmate. Imaginary and harmless, Amparo insists, but Javi's not so sure; there's something menacing about the surrounding woods, Nico suddenly knows more English than he used to, and just once Javi catches a glimpse in a mirror of a small blond boy in a sailor suit. Then furniture starts moving on its own, faucets are left running, and the lights begin flashing on and off—not Hamish's doing, Nico claims. While these and other events create mounting suspense, Javi is also trying Amparo's large but not limitless fund of patience, encountering and responding strongly to prejudiced remarks from both a peer and an adult (a librarian, of all things), and improving his halting English thanks to Willo, a new friend. With Willo's help, Javi discovers at last that there are two ghosts—a Depressionera child who perished with his brutal kidnapper—plus a poltergeist, created by Javi's own anger and psychic abilities. The stage is set for a nailbiting rescue when Nico runsoffinto the stormswept forest in search of Hamish, and is trapped by the malicious kidnapper's spirit in an old root cellar. At once a perceptive look at how regional differences in American culture can either mesh or clash, and a rippingly good ghost story, this should find a large and eager audience. (Fiction. 1013)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152023911
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/1/1900
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.81 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Marisa Montes lives in northern California. Something Wicked's in Those Woods is her first novel.

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