This Carnegie nominated book is actually a collection of 13 short ghost stories, all being told to the main character, Jack. The story begins with Jack opening the door to a candlelit room in an abandoned house, to find twelve people, each one an interesting character, sat around a table with candles in front of them. They invite Jack to pull up the thirteenth chair, and the storytelling begins. As he listens to each tale, and one by one the candles go out, it’s a race against time for Jack to figure out what’s going on, before it’s finally time for him to tell his story.
I really enjoyed the format of this book; the style of each short story varied depending on the narrator, and they were all original and intriguing. The overarching storyline, with Jack trying to work out what’s going on before he has to take his turn, was a good way of bringing the stories together. I felt that this book was a really good level: spooky enough to be enjoyable, but still definitely suitable for a primary school aged audience. If you like a good ghost story (but you still want to sleep easily at night!) then this is the book for you.
Reviewed by Emily