By: Stephanie Watson
Publisher: Lerner Classroom
Publication Date: August 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2010
Josh was having nightmares that were totally freaking him out. They started out great as he imagined himself as the star of the Bridgewater High football team at the championship game. One kick and they’d win, but as soon as he pulled his foot back to kick the ball . . . well, let’s just say it was totally freaky. Heck, he probably wouldn’t even make the team and as the new kid in town from New York he was getting more than his share of bullying from linebacker Ned Onager. When he thought about it, he asked himself, “How come someone so mean and stupid was the one who had so much talent on the football field?” Geez, at least Sabina Lawson asked him to join her friends at lunch.
Sabina wore black clothes, pink hair, and was “one of the smartest girls in school” and Josh really appreciated the invite. It turned out that everyone at the table had someone that irked them half to death, including Sabina. Dan and Jackson didn’t have Ned tossing their lunch trays in their laps, but Mark’s drunken stepfather didn’t sound very appealing either. Sabina invited them all over to her house to check out an ancient game she’d found at her house called “Black Magic.” Sabina’s ancient old house at the end of Sparrow Drive was holding a deep dark secret that would soon make their problems seem petty . . . very petty.
There weren’t any instructions to the game, but the gang would figure it out. Spell cards. Crystal. No sweat. Someone who had played the game long ago had written down a few instructions: “Choose one of those special spells. Think of someone who has wronged you. You will reverse the force of evil and send good spirits your way.” Josh became unsettled when he saw a girl crying inside the crystal, but he quickly put that vision aside when some seriously good stuff started to happen to all of them within a few days.
They’d all been chillin’ with the game and flying high with all the good things happening. Josh for one was thrilled that he’d made the team, but none of them noticed what was written in the corner of the board, or if they did they were ignoring it. “Beware all who play. Death awaits.” Sabina had put her hex on Lindsey, her chem lab partner who never did her share of the work. Lazy Lindsey had been sent to the hospital with a little case of the hives, but when they got there her mother was outside her room screaming, “It’s tearing holes through her. I could see almost all the way inside her.” Was “Black Magic” just a childish game or was there really something to it? Had their hexes really started to work? Who was going to be next in line on the receiving end of this evil?
The not so fun, freaky club game “Black Magic” and the evil it brings to the students of Bridgewater High will spook even the adult reader. The mystery surrounding this supposedly simple, innocent board game was just like something out of The Twilight Zone. The beginning drew me in quickly even though I knew it was someone’s nightmare, but the more I got into the book the better it became. The character development was excellent and the reader will quickly feel like they’ve known these teens since they were pushing Radio Flyers. If you like a bit of gore, want to set your teeth on edge, and like shivering under your covers you’ve come to the right place. Sabina, Josh, Dan, and Jackson are waiting for you at the end of Sparrow Drive with a little game called “Black Magic.” Are you ready to join them?
Quill says: If you like bedtimes stories that will set your teen's teeth on edge, go ahead and buy this one...I just dare you!