The Soul Keepers

288p. Feiwel & Friends/Swoon Reads. Aug. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250168306.
Gr 9 Up—Following a stranger named Basil to the Harbinger—an otherworldly ship of souls—Rhett is stunned to learn that he and his parents were killed in a car accident. No one can tell him the Harbinger's destination, but he quickly learns that he is now a syllector and will help collect souls and save them from wandering the world confused. The overwhelming personal changes he faces take a back seat to his new cause; his concerns for the souls of his parents and threats from psychons, monsters who eat souls, become his priority. This pirate thriller starts off running and doesn't stop, but the relationships between Rhett and his new companions—all young like himself—mirror the reality of the adolescent need for acceptance in a way that transcends entertainment. Rhett may be only 17, but he matures beyond his youth as he finds purpose in the meaningfulness of his work. The strong character development in this story gives layers to the engaging fantasy element.
VERDICT This series starter will please teens who enjoy the ghostly tales and dark sarcasm of Neil Gaiman and Ransom Riggs.

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