The stakes are very high in this fantasy written by 12-year-old Z. Jones.
The story begins with the death of Beth Jones’s grandmother, a death the 13-year-old girl is blamed for because she shouted at her grandmother, “causing” a heart attack. Her grandmother had been confined to a mental hospital ever since she started talking about seeing odd creatures.
Soon, Beth seems to be seeing the same strange beings. This allows her cruel mother to place her in the mental institution too. Beth’s father had left the family years before and then died, so there is no one who can fight on her behalf.
Beth struggles at the hospital, but finally bonds with some of the other children there. They, too, begin to see strange things. Following the clues Beth deciphers in the letter her grandmother had been writing to her when she died, she and her friends set out to discover the source of the mysterious creatures, hoping to put an end to the torment they cause.
Although the author handles the emotional life of her protagonist rather well, the reality of her circumstances isn’t always believable. It is unlikely a doctor would tell a child she caused her beloved grandmother’s death; protocols at an institution would be handled differently; and the fantasy elements are somewhat contradictory or not fully developed. There are also errors in grammar, syntax, and logic, which are completely understandable, given the author’s age.
However, Jones has a strong imagination and an ability to construct complex situations and relationships and is to be commended for the discipline, passion, and creativity demonstrated in this story.
Also available as an ebook.