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The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

This week's review is our semi-regular guest reviewer Miss Shayne.  This week she's reviewing the second title in a series; the first title of this particular series was one her Staff Picks 2015.

After reading the first book in this series, I was confused.  The author left us hanging with a game changer!  It was then I realized that this book is part of a series.  Maureen Johnson’s cliffhanger successfully drew me back in.  I had to have more.

This is the second book in the Shades of London series.  With shiny new characters and a more complex plot than the first book, this book had everything the first book lacked.  And I enjoyed the first book, too. After nearly being murdered, our protagonist Rory had to be taken out of school to go live with her parents and undergo some therapy.  A string of shady events lead her back to school where she must try tirelessly to catch up with her classes.  This is impossible though because Rory leads a bit of a double life that her “normal” friends can’t know about.  Rory is an asset to a group of young adults that hunt for ill-mannered (and sometimes murderous) ghosts.

It’s hard finding a place to stop with this book. The author always has a detail at the end of a chapter that makes you want to read the next one right away.  (This kept me up late at night . . .) The author also does this at the end of the book, so you want to read the next book right away.

Without giving too much away, there is another game changer at the end of this book. The ending of this book had me expressing every emotion: sadness, rage, and finally, inner peace.  How could the author do this to us?! If she didn’t resolve this for us, I would never be able to read the next book.  I then came up with the only ending I would accept in my head.  I accurately guessed the resolution to the final problem, so I decided I would continue reading the series despite my earlier threats never to read again.

My only beef: when will everyone realize that our main character is fully capable of holding her own? The squad kind of needs her now, so just let her join your ghost sleuthing team! She has nothing better to do now anyway!  You scratch her back; she’ll get rid of mean ghosts!  It’s a win-win.  Stop treating her like a child.

--Reviewed by Miss Shayne


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