Story Time by Edward Bloor (2005)
Middle Grade Fiction | Horror-ThrillerBlurb:
“George and Kate are promised the finest education when they transfer to the Whittaker Magnet School. It boasts the highest test scores in the nation. But at what price? Their school’s curriculum is focused on beating standardized tests; classes are held in dreary, windowless rooms; and students are force-fed noxious protein shakes to improve their test performance. Worst of all, there seems to be a demon loose in the building, one whose murderous work has only just begun.
A bitterly funny satire about the state of modern education from the author of Tangerine and Crusader.”
pooled ink Review:
This is a book full of murder and demons, nerds and tyranny, blood and money.
Edward Bloor has written a story for middle school kids perfect for a late night thrill or a Halloween chill. He combines a fantastic and terrifying blend of young teen fears: school, harsh rules, and poltergeists.
When a super nerd school that produces students who score the best on all national standardized tests invades the lives of Kate and George they’ve gone too far. Kate has been dreaming of playing the lead role in Peter Pan and she’s not about to let some utilitarian school steal that and all of her public school friends away from her.
The school turns out to be located in the vast (and vastly creepy) basement of the Whittaker Building…which is also the town library…which is also the most haunted building in town with a disturbingly bloody past. Mysterious protein shakes, green-tinged fluorescent lighting, endless exam cramming in a deep basement, flickering lights at odd hours, strangled screams, missing bodies, Whittaker’s tyranny, and June’s absurd fear all drive some serious determination into Kate who drags along her Uncle George to tear the school apart and toss out the skeletons lurking in the library’s locked closet.
I will say that as an adult re-reading this book opened my eyes to just how annoying and demanding Kate can be. When I first read this book when I was in eighth grade and was actually the same age as Kate I felt she was harsh to her mom but her whines flew right over my head for the most part. So that’s not a criticism so much as it is a reason why this book will relate far better to middle school kids as opposed to, well, anyone else. Bloor does indeed have a talent for writing books that speak to a specific audience.
This book is entitled Story Time and in a way that sounds innocent. For me those two words bring back lovely memories of when my teachers or librarians would read us stories as we sat in a circle and munched on our snacks. But while this particular library also hosts beloved “story time” events they run along much darker lines. So don’t be fooled by the title.
Story Time is a thrilling, spine-tingling, hair-raising encounter of demons lurking in an old dusty library, although the most frightening part may indeed be the school itself and its teaching methods.
Sure to bring the perfect touch of thrilling fear into any kid who ventures to read Edward Bloor’s fantastic telling of two kids taking on a bloody vat of deep pride and old secrets, this is Story Time.
Purchase here: Story Time
Meet Edward Bloor!
Born October 12, 1950, in Trenton, NJ; son of Edward William and Mary (Cowley) Bloor; married Pamela Dixon (a teacher), August 4, 1984. Father to a daughter and a son. Education: Fordham University, B.A., 1973.
Career: Novelist and editor. English teacher in Florida public high schools, 1983-86; Harcourt Brace School Publishers, Orlando, FL, senior editor, beginning 1986.