Prosper Redding lives in small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business. But when a stranger – dressed up like a Pilgrim and everything – shows up to the local Founders Day celebrations, nobody else even seems to see him. What’s worse, he steals some chestnuts from a vendor right before Prosper’s eyes, and then has the audacity to grin at him and wink.
When the clock strives five, though, Prosper has to find his sister Prue, leave the festival, and go home. Waiting for them is a surprise family reunion convened by his evil grandmother, comprised of relatives who dislike him. Prosper’s instincts tell him to run, but Prue takes his elbow and propels him into the house. Which is really more like a castle.
Things get worse when his absent father calls in a panic and tells him to grab his sister and run for their lives. Prosper tries to obey, but his uncles catch him. They pack him and Prue off to the dungeon, which is set up for an occult ritual.
All the relatives are there, and they’re all staring at Prosper. A small table draped with velvet – an altar, really – has been placed in the front of the room, and hundreds of flickering candles provide the only illumination. Prosper’s grandmother yanks the cloth off the table, revealing an ancient book. She asks Prue to start reading from it, but Prue just looks at her blankly. “But… It doesn’t say anything…”
But Prosper can see words bubbling up on the page like magic. “What are you talking about? Look right here, it says – ”
That’s when his uncles pin him down, and his grandmother attempts to stab him with a knife.
Fire breaks out, and uncanny wind blows. The creepy Pilgrim from the Founders Day celebration suddenly pops out of nowhere and carries Prosper out of the dungeon. When Prosper wakes up two hundred miles away, however, he doesn’t know if he’s been saved… Or kidnapped.
Officially a YA novel, Alexandra Bracken’s The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding is perfect Halloween reading for youngsters and not-so-youngsters alike. The setting has the same classic New England creepiness as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Picture a gothic version of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls. Bracken’s energetic pace and character-driven voice plunge you deep into a plot from which there is no clear return. Prosper, it turns out, has unwittingly become the host of an ancient demon who has vowed to destroy him and his family. The only way to vanquish the evil is for Prosper to die.
Bracken is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Darkest Minds series. Disney-Hyperion released The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding on Sept. 5, 2017. It is 368 pages, priced at $16.99 in hardcover, $7.99 in paperback, and $10.99 for the digital version. To read an excerpt, point your browser here.
Elizabeth Galewski is the author of The Wish-Granting Jewel, a fantasy novel, and Butterfly Valley, a tale of travel and transformation based on true events. To learn more, please visit her official author’s website at www.elizabethgalewski.com.