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Monday, April 26, 2010

Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett

Johnny and the Dead: Johnny Maxwell Series Book Two by Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Doubleday: Transworld Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (173 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 suns
Reviewed by Orchid

The town council wants to sell the cemetery, and its inhabitants aren't about to take that lying down! Johnny is the only one who can see the outraged ghosts, and the previously alive need his help to save their home and their history. Johnny didn't mean to become the voice for the lifeless, but if he doesn't speak up, who will?

The continuation of the “Troubled Times” of Johnny Maxwell’s family have led to him and his mum living with his grandfather. He and his friends often take shortcuts through the cemetery on their way to and from school.

A rumor goes around the town that the council have sold the cemetery for redevelopment for the huge sum of five pence (about seven cents American). Most people in town mutter about this but do nothing. Johnny wonders what the dead would think about being moved to a new site. Curiosity makes him knock on the door of one of the mausoleum tombs. To his surprise the deceased occupant appears and asks him what he wants.

Alderman Bowler is only the first of the dead to appear to Johnny. Soon most of the cemetery inhabitants, who object to being called ghosts, are talking to him. When they find out about the redevelopment, the dead demand that Johnny help them stop it.

Johnny’s friends cannot see or hear the dead, but they believe in Johnny so they promise to help.

How can Johnny, his friends and the dead fight the council and the developers when the bulldozers are ready to start their engines and destroy the cemetery? And what will happen now the dead have risen and want to experience the live world again?

Once again Terry Pratchett has given us a fascinating story. Twelve year old Johnny Maxwell looks at life slightly differently than most boys his age, but only Terry Pratchett can make the situation funny, weird and slightly spooky all at the same time. This is an excellent book for children from twelve years upwards. There is just the right amount of mystery, humor and scariness to bring the book to life and fascinate the reader.

With summer on the horizon this book can be enjoyed when you have the time but put down when there are other things to do, but it always draws you back to find out how Johnny can solve other people’s problems (including dead people). A very enjoyable read.

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