The master of suspense delivers a hard-core horror story to thrill and chill. Fans will get more than goose bumps from this terrifying tour de force by William Sleator. The nightmare begins when Doug's family moves to the desolate northern woods; soon he and his little sister, Colette, become caught up in a war between the area's loggers and a dying race of woodland creatures who depend on human body parts for their survival. Tunnels, tunnels, leading everywhere...even right into Doug and Colette's basement. But who built them? Could the rumors about the mysterious, bloodthirsty kidnappers called the Beasties possibly be true? Skeptical Doug doesn't buy it at first, even if an unusual number of the local inhabitants seem to be missing important pieces of their anatomies. But once he and his sister stumble into a cavernous opening and meet the Beastie scout named Fingers, Doug is forced to become a believer. Colette soon is indoctrinated into the society of the Family, an underground civilization of slimy, pale beings with crudely stitched-together body parts. Doug desperately hopes to remain an outsider, but it seems he has no choice. In fact, the Family needs him to make the biggest sacrifice of all. If he tries to escape, he faces an awful truth (one that readers, too, will learn): Once you have met the Beasties, you will never be safe again. Hailed by R. L. Stine as "one of my favorite young-adult writers,"
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William Sleator divides his time between homes in Boston, Massachusetts, and rural Thailand.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4-5?Doug and his precocious younger sister move to a deep forest when their botanist father has the opportunity to study a rare fungus. Before they leave, Doug's friend warns him to stay away from the shadowy woods or the "beasties" will get him. It's not long before the siblings are lured into an underground passage and meet up with the creatures. At this point, the hairs on readers' arms will start to rise and the plot takes the bizarre twist so familiar in Sleator's titles. Doug, presented with several dilemmas, is forced to make uncomfortable decisions without really understanding his choices. Using his trademark techniques, Sleator sets the scene within everyday situations, introduces unusual plot elements with vivid description, develops the story line by leading readers though a labyrinth, and builds to an explosive ending with a message. The Beasties follows this format and includes sibling rivalry, forest conservation, respect for those who are less valued or understood, choices and decisions, friendship, and a healthy dose of the creepy. This is a quick read, with lots of suspense, but its real effectiveness lies in the way it introduces and explores issues of human choice and compassion, and the lingering questions after the reading is complete. The Beasties invites discussion as it delves into issues for which there are no easy answers. Sure to be popular with the author's many fans and a good choice to introduce his work to others.?Molly S. Kinney, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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