The House on Stone’s Throw Island
A Ghost Story
Scholastic Press, September 2015
A quintessential ghost story, The House on Stone’s Throw Island immediately elicits chills and thrills with introductory glimpses of uniformed men, seemingly from another place, a different time. Plainly panicked, a muddy girl appears and disappears, as if stuck in a loop.
With a permanent population totaling two solemn care-takers, Stone’s Throw Island was crowded when two families preparing to unite via a fairy tale wedding, pour from a ferry, followed by the wedding director and her trusty assistant. In an almost unreliable-narrator style, the curiously detailed background of the aforementioned, anxiety-riddled wedding director unravels. Obviously imperative, this character nonetheless seems better fitted for the supporting cast. Of course there is a method to his madness, but Mr. Poblocki is fantastically sly and sneaky about the reveal.
Intrigue and mystery beckon as myths and legends swirling the surrounding isles off the coast of Maine are shared. Soon, wickedly weird phenomena plague the guests. There’s barely time to ponder the peculiarities before a storm overtakes the tiny land mass, scattering the inhabitants.
An oddly appealing teen-aged duo, recently forced into friendship, grab the reins and drive the adventure down two totally different paths. Separately, they discover the true tragedy of Stone’s Throw Island. The theory that Germans actually invaded the United States during World War II seems unfathomable; but an old diary lends credence. With one junior sleuth trapped in a secret passage, the other packed like a sardine in the rapidly flooding, ancient jail cell; it seems their acquired knowledge will become futile.
Mr. Poblocki boldly brakes the breath-taking race against time and elements, evoking unexpected emotions and hope. The bond built between the compelling, quiet comic-book writer and polar-opposite, outspoken skeptic, along with the friendships formed when pseudo strangers are tossed together, smooth and sweeten the story. The storm passes, some lives go on.
Reviewed by jv poore, October 2015.