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charlie and the grandmothers

By Katy Towell

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
PublisherKnopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Year: 2015


Charlie and Georgie Oughtt have been sent to visit their grandmother Pearl, and this troubles Charlie for three reasons. The first is that he's an exceptionally nervous twelve-year-old boy, and he worries about everything. The second is that the other children in his neighborhood who pay visits to their grandmothers never seem to return. And the third is that Charlie and Georgie don't have any grandmothers.

Upon their arrival, all of Charlie's concerns are confirmed as "Grandmother Pearl" quickly reveals herself to be something much more gruesome than even Charlie's most outlandish fears could have predicted. He and Georgie are thrust into a creepy underworld created from stolen nightmares, where monsters disguised as grandmothers serve an ancient, evil queen by holding children captive as they slowly drain each one of their memories and dreams. But something is different about Charlie. His worrisome nature, so often a burden, gives him an edge in this frightening world. Will he be able to harness this newfound power to defeat the queen and save his sister?


“A heartwarming adventure about overcoming one’s fears and the unbreakable bond between siblings. Fans of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline (HarperCollins, 2002) and Jonathan Auxier’s The Night Gardener (Abrams, 2014) will enjoy this middle grade fantasy/horror story. VERDICT Strongly recommended for collections where middle grade horror is in demand.”
—School Library Journal

“Crossing Neil Gaiman with Roald Dahl, this dark but engaging tale has a bright future.”

“Satisfyingly creepy.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Towell's evocative storytelling has plenty of goosebump-raising power for the average middle reader...[ ] This is good-and-scary reading just right for the sunny days of summertime.”

“Delightfully chilling.”
—Portland Monthly