The Agony House
Author: Cherie Priest
Illustrator: Tara O’Connor
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc., 2018
Source: Public Library
Many regular readers know that I am not typically a fan of graphic novels, so this next review may surprise you. However, The Agony House is not your typical graphic novel. It’s a wonderful kind of blend. Yes, it is a novel, but embedded are sections that are purely graphic. Those embedded sections are essential to the story and are added in such a way that they don’t detract from the plot, but instead help build the suspense in this book.
Denise Farber and her family (mom and stepdad) have recently moved back to New Orleans. Their plan is to open a bed and breakfast in a home that requires a lot of renovation before the business actually opens. As Denise discovers, the house has a mysterious past. She suspects that Joe Vaughn, a well-known comic book author from the 1930’s who is famous for the Lucinda Might character and stories, died in the house under suspicious circumstances. Clues to his death might be found in an old, unpublished comic that Denise has found in the attic. Additionally, there are some things about the house that are just a bit creepy. Could it be that there really are ghosts lurking about the old house? And if so, what could they tell Denise about a past that is full of sinister secrets?
The comic book character, Lucinda Might, may be a “kick-ass girl detective,” but Denise Farber isn’t so bad herself. She’s feisty, brave, and a totally authentic teen. There is a real mystery going on, one that keeps Denise on the move and the reader on the edge of their seats right up until the end. This book was a totally satisfying read.