by Keir Graff
Twin brothers discover their new home is also a portal--for an hour a day--to a parallel dimension in this rollicking middle-grade adventure, perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society
Colm and Mal are twins so identical their own mom can't tell them apart, but they're different in just about every other way. Mal's a pragmatist while Colm's a dreamer, and they bicker and battle constantly. Neither brother is excited to be moving to Chicago for a fresh start with their mom just after their dad's death. But nothing cures homesickness like intrigue--and their new home, Brunhild Tower, has plenty of it: mysterious elderly neighbors who warn against wandering the building at midday, strange sounds in the walls, and an elevator missing a button for the thirteenth floor.
One day, that button appears--and when the doors open on the missing floor, the boys are greeted by the strangest puzzle yet: a twin building that is stuck in time and bustling with activity. All of Brunhild Tower's former residents live on in this phantom tower, where the rules of the real world don't apply. But when the brothers and their newfound friends discover they're all trapped by an ancient curse, they must band together to set everyone free before it's too late.
I don't get to read middle grade as much as I want to - especially for review! So, I was very happy for the opportunity to read The Phantom Tower. It was fun, and it made me happy - exactly what I was looking for in a middle grade read.
The Phantom Tower, through the characters, backdrop, etc., has created a way for children and readers of all ages to enjoy a fun mystery, while also addressing the difficult topic of having feelings, and learning some life lessons. First and foremost, however, is the fun. The book really took me back to my childhood and how I so badly wanted to have a mystery of my own. Think of Nancy Drew (or Hardy Boys, if that was your thing) meeting a horror movie, if the movie was rated G somehow, and you've got this book!
I don't think you have to be a kid to read kids' books - so I recommend this book to all readers who would like a fun mystery to read - with some fantastical elements!