Halloweentown meets Supernatural in this spooky middle-grade series from the acclaimed author of the Storm Crow duology!
Thirteen-year-old Annabella Ballinkay has never been normal, even by her psychic family’s standards. Every generation uses their abilities to help run the Ravenfall Inn, a sprawling, magical B&B at the crossroads of the human world and the Otherworld. But it’s hard to contribute when your only power is foreseeing death.
So when fourteen-year-old Colin Pierce arrives at Ravenfall searching for his missing older brother and the supernatural creature who killed their parents, Anna jumps at the chance to help. But the mysteries tied to Colin go much deeper than either of them expects. . . .
As the two team up to find answers, they unearth Colin’s family’s secret past and discover that Colin has powers beyond his imagination. And now the supernatural creature, one with eerie origins in Celtic mythology, is coming after him. If Anna and Colin can’t stop the creature by Halloween night, the veil to the Otherworld could be ripped open—which would spell destruction for their world as they know it.
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|Publisher:||Random House Children's Books|
|Series:||Ravenfall , #1|
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Lexile:||790L (what's this?)|
|Age Range:||10 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Everything looks different in the dark.
By day, Ravenfall’s ballroom is all sparkling stained glass and high, arching ceilings—the perfect place to sit and sketch for hours. By night, my family’s inn becomes a minefield of laughing guests, friendly locals, and what I’m pretty sure is at least one werewolf over by the fruit punch, judging by the bite-sized pieces of raw steak he’s digging into.
The crowd would be fine, if it didn’t make not touching people impossible. Before I turned thirteen and got my psychometry powers—a fancy way of saying Congrats! You get visions of death now—I’d have been weaving through the crowd, chasing down our cat Max before he could prank a guest.
Now I’m hiding in a plant.
You’d think no one would wander over to a dark corner overhung with singing ivy—currently rustling out a tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and trying to wrap its crimson vines around my ankle—yet I’ve had to dodge a wayward guest three times already.
Granted, Ravenfall’s ballroom is full to bursting. It’s mid-October and the countdown to Samhain and my family’s biggest party of the year is well under way, even if half the people here don’t even know that Samhain is the Celtic origins of Halloween, or that it’s pronounced Sa-Win.
But in the town of Wick, Oregon, where magic is never far from your fingertips, Halloween is the biggest holiday of the year, and Ravenfall is the place to be. Our Samhain party at the end of October is the only time the house lets down its magical wards, letting in everyone from the local witches and mazzikim to the selkies that live in Hollowthorn Woods. Under glamour, of course. We like to give the out-of-towners something to talk about, not run screaming from.
The house went all out in celebration, decorating the two-story room’s white stone ceiling with a swirling galaxy of pastel pink and blue and yellow. Glittering mist gathers in the corners and spirals down in ribbons.
When the ivy starts playing with my hair (a curly hair “no freaking way”), I escape along the wall behind the buffet, where the house is trying to foist a slice of pumpkin cake with tiny orange icing stars on a baffled guest. I wonder how long he’ll spend looking for strings that aren’t there. The local magical folk know not to bother—the house can control the inanimate objects inside it, so long as it’s touched them before.
I’m halfway to my new hiding place behind the bar when I spot my twin sisters talking to Mr. and Mrs. Andrade beside the stairs to the second-floor balustrade. The couple runs the animal shelter in downtown Wick—you know, cats, dogs, the occasional pocket dragon for the more magically inclined. They’re laughing and smiling, Kara no doubt using her mind-reading abilities, and Rose using her empathy to entertain them. Locals in the know often try and hide their thoughts from Kara or emotions from Rose and see if they can guess them.
Jealousy pangs through me. I want nothing more than to be out there doing readings for guests or entertaining locals, but unlike the rest of my family, my psychometry powers are useless. When I touch someone who’s seen death, I get a vision of it through their eyes. And asking people, Hey, remember that time that person died? is not a fun party trick.
Mostly I’ve gotten used to the visions—blood and monsters come with the psychic family gig, especially in Wick—but sometimes I touch someone who’s seen a really bad death and I can’t get it out of my head for weeks. The nightmares keep me up, no matter how much lavender Gran slips under my pillow.
Which is why tonight I planned to stay firmly planted in the ivy corner, but my plans have a habit of unspooling like a ball of yarn in Max’s paws.
The twins spot me and detach from the Andrades, joining me along the wall.
“Taking the easy way out again, Anna?” Kara asks, always looking to get under my skin.
“Are you frightened?” In contrast, Rose is all willowy-soft voice and gentle concern. Of course, with her power to sense emotions, she can literally just look at me and know the answer to her question.
Five years older than me, they’re already tall, but in shimmering silver dresses and matching heels they’re practically skyscrapers. They share a knowing look that makes me want to introduce their nice dresses to the singing ivy. They’re as different as two fraternal twins can be, from their powers to their personalities, but they always know what the other is thinking. Of course, Kara cheats.
“You know I can’t go out there,” I grumble, shoving my hands into my dress pockets. Kara always says pockets on a dress are tacky—and a missed opportunity for a cute bag—but I never wear a dress without them. What if I found a handful of faerie dust by the wood? Am I supposed to carry a bag around everywhere?
“You doubt yourself too much.” Rose absently twists a red curl around a finger. “Don’t hide from your powers, Anna. Embrace them.”
“Like we do.” Kara nods at a passing man with a feral grin. “Take that guy for starters. He forgot to put on underwear tonight.”
“Oh,” Rose says softly. “He’s embarrassed.”
“And that woman’s a banshee.” Kara points across the room at a pale-faced woman following an elderly guest a little too closely. She gives me a sly look out of the corner of her eye. “Of course, if you’re too scared . . .”
I glower at her. “I am not.”
Kara tosses her hair over her shoulder. “I bet you can’t last a minute out on the dance floor.”
“Watch me!” And to prove it, I dart into the crowd.
Immediately, I swerve to avoid two dancing men in glittering vests, then duck under the arm of a woman making sloshing gestures with her pumpkin root beer as she talks. I make it to an open space in the middle and slow, looking for an escape. I proved my point; now I’m getting out of here before—
I gasp as a hand brushes mine. A chill shoots through me in a burst of power I’m still not used to. Everything turns hazy, and suddenly I’m reliving someone else’s memory. Compared to other visions my powers have given me, this one is strangely warped, as if looking up through muddy water.
I’m in someone’s motel room. A man stands at my side, but I focus on the one tied to the chair before me. His pale face is covered in bruises, but his gray eyes are resolute. He’s not giving me the information I need. At his feet lies the body of a white woman with bright red hair and empty green eyes staring up into nothing. She didn’t answer my questions either.
The man next to me nudges me aside, and I step away, bowing. His voice is the rush of autumn leaves, the air faint with the scent of pine. I can’t make out his words. He wraps his hand around the man’s neck. A golden light buds beneath his palm, flowing from the captive’s throat and up the veins in the man’s arms.
Then the motel room door opens.
A boy no more than fourteen stands just inside the doorway, another older teenager behind him. The younger boy drops his keycard with a gasp. The last of the light leaves the victim, and he slumps forward, dead.
Then I’m on the kid, tackling him to the ground. We wrestle. I nick his shoulder with a knife as he throws me off. There’s a terrible sound, and I roll over to see a knife in the other man’s ribs. The older teen pulls another blade out and sends it flying into the man’s shoulder as he flees through the window.
All at once, the cold recedes and I come back to myself at the party. I’m on the ground, breathing fast. Whoever I bumped into—whoever gave me that vision—is gone.
Rose and Kara help me to my feet with identical frowns.
“Something felt off about that man,” Rose says wonderingly.
“I couldn’t hear his thoughts.” Kara absently brushes some glitter stars off my dress. “Anna?”
But I barely hear them. I can’t get the look on the dead peoples’ faces out of my head.
“Anna?” Kara says more softly, but I only shake my head and pull away, fleeing from the party.
My pencil flashes across the page, trying to capture the look on the dead man’s face. I can never get the eyes right, the way they empty when someone dies, like a candle flame smothered by its own wax. I smudge his iris with my finger, making the color steelier, more ghostly.
“Still wrong,” I mutter. “He doesn’t need eyes, right? Who needs eyes?”
I toss the sketch pad past the cup of Earl Grey on the kitchen table. It goes sliding off the edge, but a chair shifts aside to catch it before it can hit the floor. I give the house a halfhearted thank-you wave before dropping my forehead onto the table. Usually drawing helps me deal with my visions, but there’s something about this one that won’t let go of me.
“It was terrible,” I say to Nora. “Like the time Max caught that faerie trying to poison the garden level terrible.”
The faerie had survived, but there’s still a spot in the garden where nothing will grow from all the blood.
“You were three. How do you remember that?” My mother doesn’t look up from the already spotless counters she’s wiping down.
The wood practically sparkles in the gold-red sunlight, but the house has been in a bad mood all day after straightening up from last night’s party, and nothing cheers it up more than clean countertops and a cup of Earl Grey. The house could do it itself, but it’d be kind of like massaging your own shoulders.
“I’m a sponge of death,” I mutter into the table.
She sighs, looking tired, and I wonder if a migraine kept her up last night. “Did you see anyone’s face, sponge?”
“No, the vision was weird and fuzzy.” I scratch the edge of one of the many sets of initials carved into the tabletop until the house scoots it out of my reach. I nearly tumble out of my seat, and I glower at the nearest wall until the house grudgingly slides it back. It’s not my fault the worn wood is scarred with knife marks.
Nora makes a sound of consideration. “That can happen when there’s strong magic nearby.”
“Whoever I bumped into didn’t even care about them dying,” I add with a shiver.
The man hadn’t died quickly. Death isn’t as they show it in the movies. Bullets don’t always kill instantly, and they don’t leave just enough time for last words. Death lingers, clinging like campfire smoke in your clothes, and all I want is to wash it out.
Nora stops cleaning, her big brown eyes settling on me. My older brother started the tradition of calling our mother by her first name. The twins and I picked it up from him, and now calling her Mom feels weird.
“I’m sorry, love,” she says. “I know how much these visions weigh on you, but you’ll get used to your powers in time. Just give them a chance.”
Ever since my ability showed up a few months ago on my thirteenth birthday, my parents have been trying to convince me how special it is, but I don’t see how. I can only tell people things they already know. What’s the point? I can’t read emotions like my sister Rose or sense auras and summon spirits like Aunt Elaine. Mine’s the only power in the whole family that’s useless.
I belong at the inn as much as a vampire belongs in the sun.
Nora rests a hand on her hip. “It’s terrible what happened to those people, but that vision could be ten years old.”
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