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The Young Lit Fix

Shadowhall Academy, The Whispering Walls by Phil Hickes,
Illustrated by Keith Robinson
Published by Usborne Books £7.99 paperback
Review by Nicky Mathewson

Suffolk, England, September 1987, Lilian Jones is about to start her first term at Shadowhall Academy and too many things feel like they’re changing too quickly. She doesn’t know how she feels about boarding school, but her mum was so keen she felt she couldn’t say no. Some of the other boarders have been there since they were 8! So she is sure everyone will already be settled into friendships that she will remain on the outside of. It is fair to say that Lilian was feeling pretty scared as she approached the Gothic looking school with gargoyles and iron gates.

After a quick tour of the school Lilian meets her roommates who are Serena; incredibly intimidating and full of confidence, Marian; super friendly and helpful, she is just as Gothic as the building, and Angela; Angela is also a newbie and appears to be even more terrified than Lilian.

Their shared fear of a new school is exacerbated by knocking coming from behind one of their bedroom walls that first night. Medieval plumbing? A leaky pipe? It was an old building after all. No, because when Lilian touched the wall and asked “Hello?” there was definitely a responsive knock.

With some investigation the girls find that Shadowhall’s history is chequered with ghostly goings on and in order to sleep peacefully they needed to get to the bottom of this.

Spectral girls and near death experiences are not what Lilian or her friends signed up for but the path to solving the mystery is a dangerous one and they are determined to put an end to the haunting.

I absolutely loved this ghostly thriller. Likeable and believable characters in a gloriously spooky setting. Phil Hickes who gave us the Aveline Jones trilogy has delivered again. Perfect for fans of mystery and creepy boarding schools! Age 9+

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