The Doomsday Archives: The Wandering Hour

Zando. (The Doomsday Archives: Bk. 1). Jan. 2024. 224p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781638930303.
Gr 3-7–The coauthors of “The Adventures Guild” trilogy have written a fantastical horror set in New Rotterdam, a small seaside town teeming with urban legends and mysterious disappearances. Eighth grader Brian Skupp encounters an hourglasslike object on his school bench. As he’s studying it, he notices everyone is frozen in time. Keys don’t fall. People don’t move. The only person who seems to see him is a moving ghostlike woman with fangs. The ominous phrase, “He was never heard from again” segues into one (of many to come) wiki articles about mysterious happenings in the area. The book starts again with three present-day friends, Emrys, Hazel, and Serena, and their story of how they found the Doomsday Archives. The hourglass makes a comeback, as do a variety of life-threatening monsters who like to swallow things, and weird occurrences, such as the Midtown Mummy, an ember bishop, and a wandering hour. This would be a good read-aloud for a middle school class for the month of October, especially if paired with their town’s local urban myths.
VERDICT A story about kids helping keep their town and neighbors safe will speak to those who love to sink themselves into a different realm and play armchair detective/hero, this is a great choice for middle grade shelves.

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