Book Review: Scritch Scratch
October 21, 2021
I purchased this book from Volumes, along with author Lindsay Currie’s first book, which I’ve previously reviewed. I’m glad I got them both at the same time, as although I mostly enjoyed her prior, I wouldn’t have purchased this one. That would have been a shame, as the present volume is much more fun and enjoyable.
If it surprises you that I’m speaking fondly of a book for young adults, then you haven’t read my review of Why You Should Read Children’s Books.
The protagonist is once again an angst-filled teenage girl, but this time she’s smart and likable, and she loves Chicago. (Perhaps too much angst, but as a middle-waged man, what do I know?)
The spooky elements are worthy of an older audience. I particularly enjoyed this phrase: “I sit completely still for a moment, the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck slowly rising like zombies from the dead.”
I stumbled a bit over the book’s unusually compressed timeline. When you read 3/4ths of the way through the book that all these events happened in a week, your analytical mind yanks you out of the story to see if that statement jives with what you’ve read so far. (It doesn’t.) Until then, elapsed time was both unclear and not necessary to think about. I had the same experience reading Currie’s book, and perhaps someday I’ll get to ask her about it.
There’s also an odd fixation on a drowning that took place “in only 20 feet of water.” Like the timeline, the depth reference is not essential to the story, and its frequent citation only serves to disrupt the reader with thoughts about how the author has apparently never heard of drowning in a bathtub.
Unlike Currie’s previous book, the portions specific to the city were appropriate and accurate. (Except for referring to a gangway as an alley, but that may have been at the insistence of her Editor, as the term is not widely used outside the city.) And there is a lot of Chicago in this book, with a nice collection of history and local lore embedded within. I particularly enjoyed the pitch-perfect visits to the Chicago History Museum.
Both books taken together mesh well, although at some points it was hard not to wonder if the characters from the last book are going to pass by the characters in this book while they’re at the same locations. (An Easter egg that would have been fun for Currie fans.)
If you’re desiring a fun, somewhat spooky, Chicago-centric adventure and ghost story, this is the book you should get. You can find it on the Amazon, of course.