My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.
All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost—and the ghost saw me.
Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House . . . before its skeletons come back to haunt me.
About the Author
When librarians finally granted Kelley Armstrong an adult card, she made straight for the epic fantasy and horror shelves. She spent the rest of her childhood and teen years happily roaming fantastical and terrible worlds, and vowed that someday she'd write a story combining swords, sorcery, and the ravenous undead. That story began with the New York Times bestselling Sea of Shadows and continues with Empire of Night.
Armstrong's first works for teens were the New York Times bestselling Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising trilogies. She lives in rural Ontario with her husband, three children, and far too many pets.
Read an Excerpt
12 years earlier...
Mommy forgot to warn the new baby-sitter about the basement.
Chloe teetered on the top step, chubby hands reaching up to clutch both railings, her arms shaking so much she could barely hang on. Her legs shook too, the Scooby Doo heads on her slippers bobbing. Even her breath shook, puffing like she’d been running.
“Chloe?” Emily’s muffled voice drifted up from the dark basement. “Your mom said the
Coke’s in the cold cellar, but I can’t find it. Can you come down and help me?”
Mommy said she’d told Emily about the basement. Chloe was sure of it. She closed her eyes and thought hard. Before Mommy and Daddy left for the party, she’d been playing in the TV
room. Mommy had called, and Chloe had run into the front hall where Mommy had scooped her up in a hug, laughing when Chloe’s doll poked her eye.
“I see you’re playing with Princess–I mean, Pirate Jasmine. Has she rescued poor Aladdin from the evil genie yet?”
Chloe shook her head, then whispered. “Did you tell Emily about the basement?”
“I most certainly did. No basements for Miss Chloe. That door stays closed.” When Daddy came around the corner, Mommy said, “We really need to talk about moving, Steve.”
“Say the word and the sign goes up.” Daddy ruffled Chloe’s hair. “Be good for Emily,
And then they were gone.
“Chloe, I know you can hear me,” Emily yelled.
Chloe peeled her fingers from the railing and stuck them in her ears.
“I c-can’t go down there,” Chloe called. “I-I’ m not allowed.”
“Well, I’m in charge and I say you are. You’re a big girl.”
Chloe made her feet move down one step. The back of her throat hurt and everything looked fuzzy, like she was going to cry.
“Chloe Saunders, you have five seconds or I’ll drag you down here and lock the door.”
Chloe raced down the steps so fast her feet tangled and she tumbled into a heap on the landing. She lay there, ankle throbbing, tears burning her eyes as she peered into the basement,
with its creaks and smells and shadows. And Mrs. Hobb.
There’d been others, before Mrs. Hobb scared them away. Like old Mrs. Miller, who’d play peek-a-boo with Chloe and call her Mary. And Mr. Drake, who’d ask weird questions like whether anyone lived on the moon yet, and most times Chloe didn’t know the answer, but he’d still smile and tell her she was a good girl.
Chloe used to like coming downstairs and talking to the people. All she had to do was not look behind the furnace, where a man hung from the ceiling, his face all purple and puffy. He never said anything, but seeing him always made Chloe’s tummy hurt.
“Chloe?” Emily’s muffled voice called. “Are you coming?”
Mommy would say “Think about the good parts, not the bad.” So as Chloe walked down the last three steps, she remembered Mrs. Miller and Mr. Drake and she didn’t think about Mrs.
Hobb at all . . . or not very much.
At the bottom, she squinted into the near darkness. Just the night lights were on, the ones
Mommy had put everywhere when Chloe started saying she didn’t want to go downstairs and
Mommy thought she was afraid of the dark, which she was, a little, but only because the dark meant Mrs. Hobb could sneak up on her.
Chloe could see the cold cellar door, though, so she kept her eyes on that and walked as fast as she could. When something moved, she forgot about not looking, but it was only the hanging man, and all she could see was his hand peeking from behind the furnace as he swayed.
Chloe ran to the cold cellar door and yanked it open. Inside, it was pitch black.
“Chloe?” Emily called from the darkness.
Chloe clenched her fists. Now Emily was being really mean. Hiding on her–
Footsteps pattered overhead. Mommy? Home already?
“Come on, Chloe. You aren’t afraid of the dark, are you?” Emily laughed. “I guess you’re still a little baby after all.”
Chloe scowled. Emily didn’t know anything. Just a stupid, mean girl. Chloe would get her
Coke, then run upstairs and tell Mommy, and Emily would never baby-sit her again.
She leaned into the tiny room, trying to remember where Mommy kept the Coke. That was it on the shelf, wasn’t it? She darted over, and stood on her tiptoes. Her fingers closed around a cool metal can.
“Chloe? Chloe!” It was Emily’s voice, but far away, shrill. Footsteps pounded across the floor overhead. “Chloe, where are you?”
Chloe dropped the can. It hit the concrete with a crack, then rolled against her foot, hissing and spitting, soda pooling around her slippers.
“Chloe, Chloe, where are you?” mimicked a voice behind her, like Emily’s, but not quite.
Chloe turned slowly.
In the doorway stood an old woman in a pink housecoat, her eyes and teeth glittering in the dark. Mrs. Hobb. Chloe wanted to squeeze her eyes shut, but she didn’t dare because it only made her madder, made everything worse.
Mrs. Hobb’s skin rippled and squirmed. Then it went black and shiny, crackling like twigs in a campfire. Big chunks fell off, plopping onto the floor. Her hair sizzled and burned away.
And then there was nothing left but a skull dotted with scraps of blackened flesh. The jaws opened, the teeth still glittering.
“Welcome back, Chloe.”
I bolted up in bed, one hand clutching my pendant, the other wrapped in my sheets. I struggled to recapture wisps of the dream already fluttering away. Something about a basement . . . A little girl . . . Me? I couldn’t remember ever having a basement–we’d always lived in condo apartments.
A little girl in a basement, something scary . . . Weren’t basements always scary? I shivered just thinking about them, dark and damp and empty. But this one hadn’t been empty. There’d been . . . I couldn’t remember what. A man behind a furnace . . .?
A bang at my bedroom door made me jump.
“Chloe!” Annette shrieked. “Why hasn’t your alarm gone off? I’m the housekeeper, not your nanny. If you’re late again, I’m calling your father.”
As threats went, this wasn’t exactly the stuff of nightmares. Even if Annette managed to get hold of my dad in Berlin, he’d just pretend to listen, eyes on his BlackBerry, attention riveted to something more important, like the weather forecast. He’d murmur a vague “Yes, I’ll see to it when I get back” and forget all about me the moment he hung up.
I turned on my radio, cranked it up, and crawled out of bed.
A half-hour later, I was in my bathroom, getting ready for school. I pulled the sides of my hair back in clips, glanced in the mirror, and shuddered. The style made me look twelve years old . . .
and I didn’t need any help. I’d just turned fifteen and servers still handed me the kiddie menu in restaurants. I couldn’t blame them. I was five foot nothing with curves that only showed if I wore tight jeans and a tighter T-shirt.
Aunt Lauren swore I’d shoot up–and out–when I finally got my period. By this point, I
figured it was “if,” not “when.” Most of my friends had gotten theirs at twelve, eleven even. I
tried not to think about it too much, but of course I did. I worried that there was something wrong with me, felt like a freak every time my friends talked about their periods, prayed they didn’ t find out I hadn’t gotten mine. Aunt Lauren said I was fine, and she was a doctor, so I
guess she’d know. But it still bugged me. A lot.
“Chloe!” The door shuddered under Annette’s meaty fist.
“I’m on the toilet,” I shouted back. “Can I get some privacy maybe?”
I tried just one clip at the back of my head, holding the sides up. Not bad. When I turned my head for a side view, the clip slid from my baby-fine hair.
I never should have gotten it cut. But I’d been sick of having long, straight, little-girl hair. I’d decided on a shoulder-length, wispy style. On the model it looked great. On me? Not so much.
I eyed the unopened hair color tube. Kari swore red streaks would be perfect in my strawberry-blond hair. I couldn’t help thinking I’d look like a candy cane. Still, it might make me look older . . .
“I’m picking up the phone, Chloe,” Annette yelled.
I grabbed the tube of dye, stuffed it in my backpack, and threw open the door.
I took the stairs, as always. The building might change, but my routine never did. The day I’d started kindergarten, my mother held my hand, my Sailor Moon backpack over her other arm as we’d stood at the top of the landing.
“Get ready, Chloe,” she’d said. “One, two, three–”
And we were off, racing down the stairs until we reached the bottom, panting and giggling,
the floor swaying and sliding under our unsteady feet, all the fears over my first school day gone.
We’d run down the stairs together every morning all though kindergarten and half of first grade and then . . . well, then there wasn’t anyone to run down the stairs with anymore.
I paused at the bottom, touching the necklace under my T-shirt, then shook off the memories,
hoisted my backpack, and walked from the stairwell.
After my mom died, we’d moved around Buffalo a lot. My dad flipped luxury apartments,
meaning he bought them in buildings in the final stages of construction, then sold them when the work was complete. Since he was away on business most of the time, putting down roots wasn’t important. Not for him, anyway.
This morning, the stairs hadn’t been such a bright idea. My stomach was already fluttering with nerves over my Spanish midterm. I’d screwed up the last test–gone to a weekend sleepover at Beth’s when I should have been studying–and barely passed. Spanish had never been my best subject, but if I didn’t pull it up to a C, Dad might actually notice and start wondering whether an art school had been such a smart choice.
Milos was waiting for me in his cab at the curb. He’d been driving me for two years now,
through two moves and three schools. As I got in, he adjusted the visor on my side. The morning sun still hit my eyes, but I didn’t tell him that.
My stomach relaxed as I rubbed my fingers over the familiar rip in the armrest and inhaled chemical pine from the air freshener twisting above the vent.
“I saw a movie last night,” he said as he slid the cab across three lanes. “One of the kind you like.”
“No.” He frowned, lips moving as if testing out word choices. “An action-adventure. You know, lots of guns, things blowing up. A real shoot-’em-down movie.”
I hated correcting Milos’ s English, but he insisted on it. “You mean, a shoot-’em-up movie.”
He cocked one dark brow. “When you shoot a man, which way does he fall? Up?”
I laughed, and we talked about movies for a while. My favorite subject.
When Milos had to take a call from his dispatcher, I glanced out the side window. A
long-haired boy darted from behind a cluster of businessmen. He carried an old-fashioned plastic lunch box with a superhero on it. I was so busy trying to figure out which superhero it was, I
didn’ t notice where the boy was headed until he leaped off the curb, landing between us and the next car.
“Milos!” I screamed. “Watch–”
The last word was ripped from my lungs as I slammed against my shoulder belt. The driver behind us, and the one behind him, laid on their horns, a chain reaction of protest.
“What?” Milos said. “Chloe? What’s wrong?”
I looked over the hood of the car and saw . . . nothing. Just an empty lane in front and traffic veering to our left, drivers flashing Milos the finger as they passed.
“Th-th-th–” I clenched my fists, as if that could somehow force the word out. If you get jammed, take another route, my speech therapist always said. “I thought I saw some-wha-wha–”
Speak slowly. Consider your words first.
“I’m sorry. I thought I saw someone jump in front of us.”
Milos eased the taxi forward. “That happens to me sometimes, especially if I’m turning my head. I think I see someone, but there’s no one there.”
I nodded. My stomach hurt again.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Chloe Saunders's life is flipped upside down the first time she see a ghost and it sees her. She's sent to Lyle House, a place for troubled teens. There she meets Liz, Rae, Tori, Simon, and Derek, five seemingly normal teenagers - well, as normal as teenagers with psychotically problems can get, that is. But things aren't what they seems like in Lyle House. A place where its secrets could end up killing you. Incidents begin happening, raising suspicions on what's really going here. With the help her unstable powers and a couple of ghosts, Chloe starts to uncover secrets about herself, the other residents, and Lyle House itself. She finds out enough to know that she has to escape. At first, I kept saying, "I'm not going to review this. I'm not going to review this." What do you know, I'm reviewing this. After a few hours, I realized this was the only thing I kept thinking about. The first few chapters were a bore. I was about to give up on this book, but instead, I skipped them - which should have really annoyed me, but with this book it didn't for some reason - and kept reading. Things got interesting when Chloe arrived at Lyle house. At that point, the story never seemed to drop and it just kept going and going. Situations between the characters really draw you in and keep you in up until the end.
This book was so much better that the Twilight Saga! It was full of action and suspense the whole time! I can't wait for the Awakening!
I absolutely loved this book! I couldn't put it down. I read it in one day, almost in one sitting but sadly I had to go to school.
I think my favorite thing about this book is how Chloe is just like a normal teenager except that she can see and talk to dead people. Her mom died when she was young and her dad is always away on business so she is normally alone, except for a few friends and her aunt Lauren who tries to fill in for Chloe's mom. She usually keeps to herself so when things start to get weird she can't really tell anyone.
So, at the beginning Chloe is in a school for the arts and she is just like all the other people in her school, except a little bit of a late bloomer. On the same day that she gets her first period she also sees her first dead person or at least the first person that she knows is dead. After being chased through the school by a dead janitor, Chloe is sedated and sent to the hospital and told that she must spend at least two weeks in Lyle House, a group home for unstable teens.
Once in Lyle House, Chloe meets some interesting people such as Liz, Rae, Simon, and Derek. Derek is a little scary at first, always sneaking up on Chloe and accidentally throwing her across a room. Once she gets to know him, though, she realizes that he is just like her and can't control his powers. At first, Simon seems like he is just in the group home to stay with his brother, Derek, but once she starts talking to him she realizes that he is a supernatural also but his powers aren't as obvious as Chloe's and Derek's. Liz also seems to have some powers but she never realizes that she is controlling them. She is transferred shortly after Chloe arrives because instead of getting better she seemed to be getting worse. Rae also may have powers but it was really hard to tell. She was placed in the group home shortly after giving her mom first degree burns when she never had a lighter or anything else that could have caused them.
There are others in the group home, such as Tori and Peter, but Peter gets sent home after Chloe arrives and Tori is the group's resident witch and not in the supernatural way. Tori believes that because her mom is on the board of Lyle House she can do and get whatever she wants but Chloe interferes with her plans as soon as she arrives. Tori manages to get Chloe in many terrible situations, some potentially deadly, but it's only because she doesn't want her mom to be disappointed in her. Tori doesn't play a really big role in the story, all she really does is get everyone in trouble.
Chloe, Derek, Simon, and Rae discover Lyle Houses' secrets and realize that, maybe they aren't there because they are crazy but because of their powers. They realize that they need to escape and that they need to do it soon. Once out, though, things don't go exactly as planned. They are hunted down by the nurses and owners of Lyle House and chased through warehouses by guys with tranquilizer guns. Once the girls escape and find a safe place they think things are going to get better but none of them realized that someone close to them betrayed their trust.
Of course, I'm not gonna say who. That would give everything away. I truly loved this book and if you really want to know how it ends you will just have to find a copy to read. This book is first in a new series by Kelley Armstrong. The next book, The Awakening, will be out on April 28.
I was just a barnes and noble one day looking for some new books to read and the cover of this book caught my eye...it sounded interesting so i bought it but read all the other books i bought first...i was a little iffy about it at first but the more i read the more i loved it...i read the book in less than a day and will def. read it again! I cant wait for the next books to come out! I'm looking forward to see what happens next!
Kelley Armstrong has managed to mix a supernatural drama with a dash of teenage angst and a whole lot of conspiracy. This novel had an underlying sense of eeriness throughout it, waiting to burst. The middle of the story did drag a little, I will admit, but the end was thoroughly exhilarating. This book was amazing and the ending left it completely open for what is sure to be a fantastic trilogy. When Chloe was a toddler, she lived in a house that had ghosts in the basement. One of the ghosts was a hanged man. Another liked to scare her. Chloe's mom talked her dad into moving them to another place and Chloe forgot all about the experience and now doesn't believe in ghosts. Her mother died when she was 8 and she's been raised mostly by housekeepers as her dad travels for his job. I was surprised how quickly and totally I got into The Summoning. I love Kelley Armstrong, and everything I have read by her thus far, but ghosts just aren't my thing. Troubled teens, paranormal abilities and boarding school type places are definitely my thing though. Especially when it's written well, which always applies to Armstrong's works. There are some great mysteries here, plus a lot of tension that could be leading fun places. This is a series I'm very excited to continue.
I found this book on accident in Walmart, of all places. I bought it because it was cheap and the back flap made it sound interesting. I am so glad that I decided to pick this book up. It is a great read full of twists and turns and suspense. The author does a wonderful job of making the characters come alive and creates a fun journey for the reader filled with all sorts of surprises. This book is incredibly fun to read, it has witty and funny moments and also times where you will be at the edge of your seat rooting for your "friends" to overcome whatever adversity they face. If you are looking for a fun summer read, this is definitely a book you won't want to pass up.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars An Exciting New Novel, July 1, 2008 From when Chloe Saunders was just a little girl, she saw ghosts. Of course then, she thought they were only nightmarish imaginary friends. And her life seemed to become almost normal when they moved out of that haunted house and after her mom died. But when Chloe hits puberty, she starts seeing the ghosts again. Now she's forced to stay in Lyle House so she can learn to cope with her 'schizophrenia.' But the other kids at Lyle House have also been incorrectly diagnosed with mental problems. There's a reason certain doors remain locked and there special kids are gathered in this institution. As Chloe works to uncover these sinister secrets, she starts to question everything around her, from her 'schizophrenia,' to what happened to her roommate who was taken away, and even to her mother's death. My first reaction after finishing this novel was WOW. Kelley Armstrong does an amazing job of connecting Chloe's past with her present and weaving the other characters' stories in as well. the story was highly suspenseful and action-packed and the exciting twists and turns kept me guessing. The novel focuses mainly on plot, so there isn't much characterization, but the suspense, secrets, and action were more than enough to hold my interest. I most definitely recommend this novel, especially to fans of the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson or the Uglies and Midnighters series by Scott Westerfeld. The Summoning will be part of a trilogy, which I am very excited about.
Great plot! Couldn't put it down. I started one night and read till morning.
I'm not in high school, so I was a little nervous that I just wasted my $ but I was pleasantly suprised. This is a good series that has me itching to find out what will happen to the kids. If you enjoy an easy read with a good storyline then read this series...
This book is now one of my favorites. I loved how Chole(the main character) was just like any normal 9th grader. If your thinking about reading please do. This book was amazing. I can't wait for the seguel to come out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Summoning is not just another Twilight knock off. The characterization is strong; the characters are individuals with personal motivations for their actions. The love interest is not who is it appears at first glance--this plot twist, among others, will keep readers returning to this series. Fans of YA Supernatural like City of Bones will enjoy.
I am not a young adult anymore but still love reading all kinds of books. I already loved Kelley Armstrong's books for adults so I had to check this one out. I finished it in less than a week and was disappointed when it was over, I went out and bought the second book in the series the day it came out. I usually like to wait for paperbacks as they take up less space on my limited bookshelf but I just had to buy both of these right away, hardback and all.
"A banner week for me. Getting short-listed for the director spot. Nate asking me about the dance. My first period. And now my first criminal act. After I fixed myself up, I dug into my backpack for my brush and emerged instead with the tube of hair color. I lifted it. My reflection in the mirror grinned back."
Chloe Saunders is a very special girl. Not just because she has an in-depth and intense obsession with movies, filming, and directing. Not just because of her unusual home life. She is special, because on top of all this, Chloe Saunders can see ghosts.
On the day of her first period, she goes to the bathroom and skips class. She dyes her hair, feeling particularly rebellious. Upon exiting, Chloe sees a strange man wearing an old custodian's uniform, who follows her around school. She thinks she is in trouble for skipping class...
When he starts to talk to her, she ignores him. He gets angry, and deliberately shows her his face... and she sees it is burned so badly she can barely distinguish his features. When he disappears into thin air, she starts making a scene and freaking out, and school officials round her up. When she accidentally punches a teacher, they sedate her and take her to the hospital.
From there she is sent to Lyle House, which is a place for troubled teenagers. There she meets a wide variety of people - a pyromaniac, a girl with a poltergeist, an unusually moody girl, a boy with extremely bad people-skills, and a boy who, strangely, she finds nothing unusual about. As her new friends' stories unfold, Chloe begins to question the
motivation behind Lyle House.
With everything from ghosts and magic to romance, humor, and growing up, THE SUMMONING will have you laughing, wondering, and in disbelief. This book has many plot twists that will keep the reader guessing throughout the course of the novel. Kelley Armstrong uses great characterization and dialogue, which makes THE SUMMONING an overall good read.
This book started out well and ended even better!
Love this book and this Series. Chloe is so cool and relatable i love the romance and how vivid the picture is painted in your head, it immediately captures you and sucks you into Chloes world.
BEST BOOK EVER, and best series! Perfect start, middle and ending! I'd defiantly recommend people this book!
Amazing read! I could not put this book down! I highly recommend this whole series!
Is this book worthy enough to read/buy?
Good book but leaves u with a cliff hanger. Good thing there is another already out :)
Entertaining.....if you're into supernaturals....
I loved it. It kept me interested. Had lots of twists. I highly reccomend it.
I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did, it was hard to get into at first, but once it got going it was good.
This book was great. I felt myself turning page after page and wanting to read more. Although the beginning wasn't what I quite expected, it wasn't such a bad thing and the ending was awesome and I am definitely going to add the sequel to my wishlist. The plot was great from beginning to end. It was well written, clear and had enough teasers, and although naturally all questions weren't answered some which bugged me the most were so I wasn't entirely left hanging. This book had a great way of gradually introducing you to the paranormal aspect of the plot, sort of as if you're Chloe herself and just learning about it with her. I like the way it's done as it makes it more realistic. The plot is darker than I expected and more serious for a YA book. The paranormal parts, especially when Chloe starts practicing her gift, has a skin crawling creepy effect and it's definitely well written to give you the goose bumps. The ghosts she sees, are also well done and their descriptions are chilling and menacing. I'm not that attached to Chloe even though she's the main character. I found as I read later into the book I suddenly became much more frustrated and I wanted to hit her upside the head for her stupidity at times. I'm surprised Derek has managed to keep his temper in check with Chloe bumbling about sometimes. Although Derek may seem abrasive, I actually like him the most in the book so far. He's surprisingly mature despite his surly manner and horrible attitude. He seems to be the strongest character, I think in the book. Tori was horrible and I was hoping Chloe would clock her across the face. Perhaps sometime I'll be satisfied to see Tori in a horrible demise. She's just an awful person and I hope I never meet anyone like that ever. Chloe does seem to develop through the novel although I don't think she really matures yet. I think perhaps because she doesn't really have all the information and facts concerning her and her "condition/gift". So, she still has room for development which I am looking forward to seeing in the next book. When I said the beginning wasn't what I expected, I meant that I expected a lot of paranormal activity to happen. It didn't. It was gradual, and even then there is bits and parts of it, but not as much as I thought. There's a lot of "real life" in the book and it adds realism to the plot and it's a refreshing surprise to read something like this. So it's not really a criticism, it was just interesting to read and something new to see, I think. Overall, a wonderful creepy page turner, mix in realistic life scenes and a huge cliffhanger ending, you'll want more from this series. A lot more.
I was so excited to read this book that I finished it in a night. It was that good!! I couldn't put it down for even a second. Kelley Armstrong delievers the perfect book and to boot #2 "The Awakening" is just as good maybe even better. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys this genre of books.
Not only was this book absolutely amazing, but i couldn't put it down or even stop thinking about it! Written amazingly. One chapter the next, there's a cliff hanger at the end of each, making you thirst for what is going to happen. Great story line, amazing characters that you fall in love with. And even the ones that you don't like will surprise you. It kept me up into the dark hours of the night, and once i finished all I wanted to do was go to the bookstore and buy the next one! Overall an amazing book. A must read.