Book Review: The Orphan of Awkward Falls

The Orphan of Awkward Falls, by Keith Graves

When Josephine moves with her family to Awkward Falls, her grumpy attitude begins to disappear when she sees their incredible, historic home. While exploring the grounds, she visits the old mansion next door and meets Thaddeus Hibble, a young genius inventor. Meanwhile, at the Asylum for the Dangerously Insane, the murderous Fetid Stenchley escapes with vengeance on his mind. And Thaddeus is his next target.

Thaddeus is an eccentric young boy, with few social skills and a penchant for saving his neighbors animals in a Dr. Frankenstein-like way. Josephine is brave and curious, and feels herself strangely drawn to help the boy who seems abandoned in his home. Stenchley is simple-minded, but a crazed lunatic driven to cannibalize.

As the story unfolds, we follow Josephine along the path of discovery with many surprises and gruesome twists along the way. Marketed for middle readers, the subject matter is definitely horror with plenty of mystery and adventure. There is imagery of Dr. Frankenstein-like experimentation, mentions of cannibalizing, and bringing the dead back to life. Yet the characters are wacky and eccentric, with bits of humor to lighten the mood. Young fans of Darren Shan should enjoy this thriller, with plenty of mystery, suspense, and danger.

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