Bratton capably intertwines the mirror-as-portal concept with the Bloody Mary urban legend, grounding it in Beth’s use of "Bloody Mary" to taunt Mary after she gets her first period. Jamie’s eerie family history, including connections to the time 3:33, adds suspense to the tension-filled novel. Mark and Jamie’s sleuthing efforts go improbably smoothly, from the sheriff’s ready acceptance of the supernatural to clues and specters appearing as they’re needed; older teen readers may balk at the ease with which answers turn up. However, this lack of obstacles lets the story fly by.
The conclusion of the investigation is somewhat diminished by Jamie fainting at a crucial moment and only learning afterward what transpired, but an eerie final page will leave the reader with chills. A swift pace and genuinely spooky atmosphere are the high points of this suburban ghost story.
Takeaway: This eerie novella and its smart adolescent sleuths will appeal to younger teen fans of spooky stories.
Great for fans of R.L. Stine’s The Betrayal, S.A. Hunter’s Scary Mary.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B
"JC Bratton delivers a spine-tingling supernatural thriller with desperate ghosts, old secrets, and unrequited love in Who's at the Door? A mysterious connection between the housebound protagonist and a young missing girl sets a haunting tone that will keep readers devouring pages from start to finish. This novella is packed with twists throughout and the rapid, heart-pounding chapters fly fast as this dark mystery grows ... For a spooky afternoon escape, Who's at the Door? is an ideal choice." ★★★★