DiscoverMiddle Grade

Zeb's ParaNORMAL Life


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A young teenage medium must combat the forces of evil to return a disembodied girl to her corporeal form.

The line between living and dead is not as clear as it at first might seem. Mixed-race Zebulon Harris inherited his African-American dad’s brown, curly hair and his white mother’s sparkly blue eyes. As a young teenager, he struggles with many of the challenges others face, like keeping his clothes and room clean or talking to girls. Unlike other teens, though, Zeb is a medium, and instead of just being able to see dead people, he can also touch them. Luckily, he lives in a world where the paranormal is common enough to land him in a special school where he can harness and improve his skills.

One day, Zeb is using the bathroom and, to his great surprise, he meets a white, red-haired girl named Karen exiting one of the stalls. It takes him days to realize nobody else can see her and the trademark purple streak in her hair, and Karen soon becomes the subject of a project for one of his least favorite classes. Zeb’s job is to help reunite her spirit with her body, which has been taken by his father, a dark necromancer whose power has overwhelmed him. Together with his mother and dead grandmother, Leona, they work to combat the forces of evil and return Karen to her physical form.

Fast-moving and entertaining, this book is ideally suited to middle-grade readers. While the writing itself lacks maturity in story development and usage, it manages to keep readers interested in learning what will happen next. Colloquial language and short, comfortable sentences comprise the majority of the book, making it accessible even to reluctant readers. Loose references to religion and magic exist in this story, but they do not overwhelm it. A handful of chaste, romantic moments pepper the narrative, but action is the primary focus. While the story itself is entertaining, the book lacks the world-building necessary to make this an immersive tale. Perhaps, in the implied second installment, more detail will be placed on the world itself and Zeb’s place and feelings within it.

Echoes of the Harry Potter series can be felt throughout the book, especially as Zeb learns his own strengths and combats the forces of evil. Young, independent readers with an interest in the paranormal will find this to be a light, entertaining story.

Grades 5-7

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My career has focused on children’s literature, primarily, but I have a love for YA books, too. I began reviewing books in 2015, since which time I have had over 500 published reviews!

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Chapter One

About the author

Audra Avery is a southern bound writer from the mountains. Her writings are influenced by her love for all things mysterious, curious, and miraculous. She’s placed in multiple screenwriting contest including: the 2015 Beverly Hills Screenplay Contest and the 2013 Canadian Short Screenplay Contest. view profile

Published on August 26, 2020

Published by Jan-Carol Publishing

50000 words

Genre: Middle Grade

Reviewed by