Cover image for Behind the bookcase
Title:
Behind the bookcase
Author:
Steensland, Mark.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Delacorte Press, [2012]

©2012
Physical Description:
263 pages : illustrations, map ; 22 cm
Summary:
Sarah, her brother Billy, and her parents are moving into her deceased grandmother's house for the summer in order to fix it up and sell it, but this is a house of locked rooms and many dark and dangerous secrets.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
650 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.3 7.0 154419.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.7 13 Quiz: 59791.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780385740715

9780375989636
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Item Holds
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Being fixed/mended
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

Spending the summer at her grandmother's house is the last thing Sarah wants to do - especially now that Grandma Winnie has died - but she has no choice. Her parents have to fix the place up before they can sell it, and Sarah and her brother, Billy, have to help. But the tedious work turns into a thrilling mystery when Sarah discovers an unfinished letter her grandmother wrote.


Author Notes

MARK STEENSLAND became a journalist at the age of 18, writing about movies for such magazines as Prevue and American Cinematographer . He has also directed, and produced numerous award-winning films that have played in festivals around the world. Behind the Bookcase is his first novel.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Steensland's lackluster debut, 11-year-old Sarah, who identifies herself as "cautious"-maybe even "a scaredy-cat," as her annoying eight-year-old brother taunts-shows her courage when her late grandmother's house turns out to be as haunted as it appears. Arriving from California with her family to prepare Grandma Winnie's dilapidated house for sale, Sarah discovers an unfinished letter from her grandmother, which expresses the worry that "Strange things are happening behind the bookcase" in her bedroom. Intrigued, Sarah begins exploring, and falls into the land of Scotopia, "where shadows come from," peopled by such creatures as a one-eyed giant hand and ruled by Balthazat, a talking cat. Adventures come fast and furious as Sarah-who instantly and inexplicably morphs into an adventurous, brave, and steadfast child-travels between reality and a trio of fantasy lands (eerily imagined by Murphy in b&w spot art), narrowly escaping dangers as she strives to secure the balance of the world. While Steensland's story has a quick pace and occasional surprises, there's little to distinguish it from others in the genre. Ages 8-12. Agent: Jenny Bent, the Bent Agency. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-When her grandmother dies, Sarah's family spends a week traveling by car from California to get the dusty and smelly house cleaned up and ready for sale. Sarah's mother has no fond memories of her childhood home or her mother, and the dark corners and strange noises spook timid Sarah. When she finds an unfinished letter written by the grandmother she never knew that refers to "strange things happening behind the bookcase," she is curious and shimmies the bookcase from against the wall and travels to a strange land called Scotopia, where she meets a talking cat, a boy with half a face, a walking hand, and all sorts of strange creatures. This fantasy takes the creepiness of Neil Gaiman's Coraline (HarperCollins, 2002), mixes it liberally with the surrealism of Alice in Wonderland, and adds a dash of Edward Gorey through moody black-and-white illustrations. Readers who are patient with the seeming randomness will soon be rewarded with a suspenseful, magical adventure that, while there is resolution, ends with a promise of a sequel. Sarah and her brother bicker constantly and initially work against each other but soon join forces to prevent the destruction of both our world and Scotopia.-Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Behind the Bookcase By Mark Steensland Random House Children's Books ISBN: 9780385740715 Chapter 1 Arrival Truth be told: the place looked creepy. Sarah simply couldn't believe that anyone she knew--let alone some-one from her very own family--could have anything to do with such a house. Never in her life had she seen such a disaster. The puke-green paint was peeling. The lawn (what there was of it) was more brown than green. The flower beds were overrun with weeds. The roof was missing so many shingles it looked like a checkerboard. The driveway was cracked. The steps were sagging. It was awful, made even worse by the fact that they would be celebrating her twelfth birthday in it. Even though they had just spent an entire week in the car, driving here from California, Sarah would have gladly turned right around and gone back home. "This is it?" she asked, just to be sure, hoping they had somehow made a mistake, that they had turned onto the wrong street and this wasn't really Grandma Winnie's house at all. In the front seat, Mom and Dad exchanged a long look and then Dad said grimly, "Afraid so." Sarah's younger brother, Billy, meanwhile, was wearing a huge smile, which got even bigger when Dad confirmed that this was indeed where they would be spending the summer. "Awesome!" Billy said, with a reverence that thoroughly annoyed his sister. "What could be awesome about this?" "Look at it," he said. "It's like a haunted house." "Billy," Dad said. "Don't say that." "But it is!" he insisted. "I'm sure it's just because Grandma wasn't feeling well the last few years. She couldn't keep the house up." "No, honey," Mom said. "It's always been like this. That's why the bullies called me Creepy Carol in school. Now can you understand why I wanted to leave as soon as I could? And get as far away as possible?" Dad tried to put his arm around Mom, but she opened the passenger door and got out of the car quickly. Dad gave Billy one last sour look and then got out with her. "What's wrong with them?" Billy asked. "This is where Mom grew up," Sarah said. "Her mom died in there. Do you think she liked hearing you say it looks haunted?" "Oh," Billy said, his smile suddenly evaporating into a look of timid shame. "I didn't think of that." "Of course not," Sarah snapped. "You don't think of anyone but yourself." "That's not true." "Prove it," Sarah said as she grabbed her backpack and opened her door. The air outside the car was hot and humid. Where they were from in Southern California, it was hot, but not wet like this. Sarah felt as if her mouth were pressed against a damp towel. Billy got out of the car behind her and went over to where their parents were standing. "Sorry, Mom," he said. "I didn't mean it the way it came out." Mom patted Billy on the head. "It's okay," she said with a sniffle. "I understand." She faced the house, shielding her eyes from the sun with one hand. "In a way, I'm glad you like it. At least one of us does." Mom and Dad turned away and started toward the front door. Billy faced his sister and stuck his tongue out at her. She rolled her eyes and joined their parents on the steps. Mom fished in her purse until she found a yellow envelope. After Grandma Winnie had died, Mom had gotten a whole bunch of these yellow envelopes in the mail. When Sarah had asked about them, Mom had explained that they were from lawyers telling her about things she had to do to settle Grandma's affairs. The biggest of all these things was selling the house. That was why they were there. Mom and Dad had decided they would do what they could to fix it up before they sold it. But now that Sarah had actually seen it, she didn't think one summer would be enough time to fix the house. Not unless they rented a bulldozer and just pushed it flat. Mom opened the envelope and took out a key. While Dad held the squeaking screen door, she put the key in the lock, turned it, and pushed the front door open. A gust of cool air came out of the darkness beyond and swept over all of them. To Sarah it felt like running through the sheets hanging on the laundry line in their backyard at home. In fact, it felt so much like something--or someone--pushing past her that Sarah gasped a little and stepped back. Was Billy right? Was Grandma's house haunted? Mom and Dad looked at each other again and Sarah could tell they had felt it, too. Mom just stood there, as if she were frozen in place. "Honey?" Dad said. "Are you okay?" Mom nodded slowly, then turned around. "Sarah?" she said. "You want to go first?" Sarah shook her head quickly. The cool air wasn't the only thing spooking her. Maybe it was because the June sun was so bright, but the darkness beyond the open front door looked as thick as a pool of swirling oil. "I will!" Billy shouted, and pushed his way past Sarah and up the steps. Dad couldn't help but laugh as Billy went in. Sarah didn't think it was funny at all. Instead, she was seized with the desire to grab her brother by the shoulder and pull him back. She was afraid that once he touched the darkness, it would suck him in like a whirlpool. She had to stop him. But it was too late. He was gone. Excerpted from Behind the Bookcase by Mark Steensland All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher. Excerpted from Behind the Bookcase by Mark Steensland All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.