Source: Library book sale.
Book Description from Back Cover:
Elijah and Elisha are teenage twins who, along with their parents, have been secretly commissioned by the President to investigate strange mysteries, crimes, and unusual occurrences. Their job is to find out not only what happened, but why.
In Baker, Washington, three popular student athletes lie in incoherent comas, with loss of muscle coordination, severe paranoia, and hallucinations. It's whispered that they're victims of Abel Frye, a ghost that's haunted the school since a student hanged himself there in the 1930s. Now the hangman's curse is spreading, and students are running scared. A student the jocks bullied is rumored to be a witch controlling the ghost and determining the next victim.
The twins and their parents are headed to Washington to look for answers. Is Abel Frye's ghost responsible or something else? And who is responsible for the bizarre hangman symbol that suddenly appears scrawled on the victim's lockers?
Hangman's Curse is a fast-paced and exciting young adult mystery. It's also a fast read. The twins were clever and engaging characters who were willing to stand up for what's right, even if it hurt. The suspense was created by the physical danger to the students from bullying and from the mysterious "hangman's curse." The sleuthing and ending was more TV-style than realistic, but it was good fun.
The twins were home-schooled in a Christian home and they spoke up when students and teachers said things counter to their faith (or were illogical), like that it's alright for people to bully each other because it makes them get stronger...or weeds them out. This speaking up was a critical part of the story as they made friends with the outcast students by being willing to speak up against the accepted line.
I enjoyed this little excerpt from pages 61-62:
"I think Tituba's the heroine of the play," Karine was saying. "I mean, Arthur Miller was trying to point out the evils of religion and, I mean, isn't there a Tituba in all of us? We all want to be free to believe whatever we want without being judged for it."
"Well, of course. The Crucible is a cry for tolerance," Sondra agreed. "It's wrong for anyone to impose their morals on others. Very simple." Then she noticed Elisha smiling as if something was funny. "What?"
"You just said that something is wrong," Elisha replied, still smiling.
Sondra didn't get it. "So?"
Elisha explained, "You can't say it's wrong to impose your morals on others because, when you tell us something is wrong, you're imposing your morals on us, and you can't do that because you just said it's wrong to do that."
There was a very minor amount of "he cussed" style bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting, fun novel.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Chapter One
Baker High School quarterback Jim Boltz wiped his hands on his jersey, angrily this time. He'd almost fumbled the snap again, the third time in the first quarter. His hands were slick with sweat. They were shaking. He clenched them into fists.
"Y'okay, Jim?" asked the center.
"M'okay!" he snapped back.
He was looking bad; he knew it and his team knew it. He had to get it together, had to quit missing, dropping, forgetting. This was an important game, Baker against Whittman. The Baker High School stadium was filled to capacity. He took his place in the huddle, his stomach in knots.
"Okay, uh, double-wide right, tight end left, 755 fly, on one. Ready..."
"We just did that play," said Dave, one of the wide receivers.
Jim stared at the turf. He was thinking about breathing.
Howie suggested, "How about power-I, right, play action 242..."
Jim's brain finally snapped into gear. "Uh, yeah, yeah, uh, tight end down and out, on two. Ready..."
"Break!" they all yelled.
The huddle broke and they headed for the line of scrimmage.
Jim forgot the play. He tagged his fullback and got a reminder.
"Ready, set, red twenty-one, red twenty-one, red twenty-two, hut, HUT!"
He got the snap, faded back, looked for his receiver, saw a face in the stands...The face was pale. The eyes were cold and cruel, and they gazed at him unblinkingly.
Jim's hand trembled. He almost dropped the ball.
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