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Author: Crowe, Sara
Ash Tyler hopes to make his psychologically scarred father proud by training for his town's Stag Chase, but when he meets the mysterious Bone Jack, dark energies take root and the world as he knows it is upended.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 187752
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 3.50
Points: 15.0 Quiz: 70287
Kirkus Reviews (12/01/16)
School Library Journal (12/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/02/17)
The Hornbook (00/01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 12/01/2016 Gr 4–6—Haunting, ominous, and mesmerizing, this is a fantasy that captivates. Set in the English countryside, the story weaves medieval myths into a contemporary tale about war and its effects. Fifteen-year-old Ash Tyler is preparing for the annual Stag Chase. As he trains, he remembers all the times he ran this land with his father, and he wonders when his father will come home from war. When Ash's father finally returns, Ash cannot believe his eyes. His father is so different—a mere shell of a man. More determined than ever, Ash vows to run and win the race for his father. Legend has it that when the land is sick, the old ways return. Ash witnesses eerie visions in the hills and encounters a mountain man named Bone Jack. Ash researches myths and finds that Bone Jack is believed to be a magical creature who can appear as a human or as birds. Ash becomes increasingly on edge as he is warned off the race by his ex—best friend Mark. Mark has taken to the forest, killing birds and repeating old stories of bone and blood. Mark believes the land is broken and Nature is ailing. Old magic is returning, and old ways require blood sacrifice and the killing of a youth, the stag. Crowe is a masterly storyteller whose lyrical prose will enthrall young readers. VERDICT A page-turning and atmospheric offering for middle graders who crave dark fantasy.—Pamela Thompson, Col. John O. Ensor Middle School, El Paso, TX - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 12/01/2016 Ash has been training for months for his village’s annual Stag Chase, the modern iteration of an ancient ritual to usher in a prosperous season. This year, Ash will be the revered Stag Boy, leading a pack of Hound Boys on a chase around the mountains. He should be elated, but he’s struggling with both the return of his PTSD-afflicted father and his ex–best friend Mark’s eerie descent into a violent, weird obsession with both the pagan roots of the Stag Chase and a mythical being, Bone Jack, who monitors the gateway between life and death. Crowe cultivates an unsettling atmosphere with ghostly apparitions, threats of violence, and descriptions of grotesqueries, such as a rotting stag head and a cape of crow carcasses. Amid the looming danger, Crowe leaves plenty of room for meaningful conversations about family, loyalty, and mental illness, particularly pertaining to Ash’s father. Though this might seem like just another ghost story, there’s subtle depth here, too, and teen fans of both horror and literary fiction will find lots to like. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.