Whispering Pines by Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski
Rae’s father vanished without a trace—and Rae knows what happened to him. But no one believes her when she says that her father didn’t run off, that he was actually taken. Now, a year of therapy later, Rae’s mother decides they need a fresh start, and so they move to a new town in the hope that life can return to normal.
The problem is, there is nothing normal about the town of Whispering Pines.
No one knows this better than Caden. He’s lived in Whispering Pines his entire life, and he’s seen more than his fair share of weird—starting with his own family, as the town is the perfect home base for his mother’s ghost hunting business.
When several kids go missing and then show up like zombies with their eyes removed, many locals brush it off. Just another day in Whispering Pines. But Caden has a dark secret, one that may explain why someone is stealing eyes. And Rae, who knows how it feels to not be believed, may be just the person Caden needs to help him put things right.
This middle grade fantasy has been compared to Stranger Things, and I definitely see the similarities. An evil creature from another dimension has been abducting children from this small town. And to amp up the creepy factor, he steals their eyes. I enjoyed the characters of Rae and Cade – both kids have lost someone dear to them and will stop at nothing to find answers. The mystery kept me guessing till the very end. Though, this is the first in a series, so there is plenty left to answer. And the suspense definitely builds throughout to a heart-pounding finale. I really enjoyed this fast-paced adventure.