Every now and then I love to stroll through Half Price Books. So, awhile ago a really cool middle grade novel caught my eye. It was called The Unholy Grail by Anthony Horowitz. The sad thing was that it was book two in a series and they didn’t carry #1. So off to the library I went to hunt down book 1, Groosham Grange, and I was in luck. This series is a very strange paranormal grouping that cracked me up.
Book One- Thirteen year old David Eliot lives at home with his very strange parents. He can never live up to his father’s wishes, so one day his dad ships him off to an exclusive school, Groosham Grange.
The school and teachers are totally weird, and the students are worse, like zombies, but human. David makes friends with another new student, Jill, and together they try to uncover the secrets of Groosham Grange.
My Thoughts- OK, this book was way beyond weird. The things that happen involving accidents and David’s parents are just so out there. I’m pretty sure kids would eat it up. The whole book Jill and David are trying to escape, and at the end you’re like no way! Totally out of the blue ending.
Book 2- David is still at Groosham Grange, but now he is one of the top students. High honors is between him and another student named Vincent. If he can hold on to the top spot then David will win the Unholy Grail, a cup of magical power. Everything gets in David’s way, and soon he realizes that someone doesn’t want him to win. Add that to the knowledge that a spy is at the school, hoping to destroy everything David believes in, and voila, turmoil.
My Thoughts- Not as creepy as book one, but good none the less. You really don’t know who the villain is until the very end, which is good writing. Also, David’s character is so completely different from book one, it is weird, yet he still remains a good guy. The best parts are when David’s family shows up for the “awards” presentation. Their characters are so over the top, you can’t help but cringe and laugh at the same time.
The hardest thing to overcome is the different emotions evoked in book 2. Book 1 has all these evil monsteresque teachers, and then in book 2, they’re the same, but portrayed as good guys. One of the themes of the book is that it is hard to tell the difference between good and evil, sorry, that didn’t fly for me. Plus, David and Jill don’t turn into the same type of zombie like students that were part of book 1. That was a little confusing, they seem to be the same as always. Anthony Horowitz has an amazing zest for the imaginitive.
Just two really strange middle grade books that I’m sure kids will love.