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The Crossroads (Haunted Mystery #1)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  1,306 ratings  ·  251 reviews
ZACK, HIS DAD, and new stepmother have just moved back to his father’s hometown, not knowing that their new house has a dark history. Fifty years ago, a crazed killer caused an accident at the nearby crossroads that took 40 innocent lives. He died when his car hit a tree in a fiery crash, and his malevolent spirit has inhabited the tree ever since. During a huge storm, lig ...more
Kindle Edition, 354 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jaglvr for

There's a tree that stands watch over the crossroads of County Route 13 and Connecticut State Highway 31. There's a memorial on the tree. Someone leaves a dozen fresh roses there every Monday. And the tree is at the back edge of Zack Jennings's new yard.

Zack, his father, and his new step-mother have left the city and moved to Connecticut. Zack lost his mother to cancer, and now that his father has remarried, the family is making a new start in Zack's fathe
Humorous, fun filled writing is abundant in the novel "The Crossroads", while still dealing with some serious topics. Zack, our new boy in town, is suspicious about that old tree that stands at the corner of the intersection in his large backyard. Mysterious things have been happening and Zack and his best friend Davy, who talks charmingly as a boy from
Kentucky, investigate to find out why. Meanwhile, we have step mom named Judy who is also investigating and trying to find her footing in this n
Dec 27, 2011 Rebecca rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 4th grade and up
Recommended to Rebecca by: Booklist
Here's a good tween ghost story with a lot of plot twists and some creepy/somewhat-violent moments. It took me a while to get used to the main character Zack's shyness and introversion after just having read the confident, cocky narration of the boys in "Frindle" and "Swindle." Also, I read this one in spurts, and lost track of some of the characters and their...state of being living. So you might want to read this uninterrupted. I liked that there was an evil old lady, but NOT an evil stepmom. ...more
Jordan Connell
I'm not going to lie, this book got me back into reading. it wasn't an amazing, life changing story but it had a great plot that made just want to keep reading. I finished it in two days and started reading more. I had been in sort of a book funk where nothing I was reading was getting me excited. Thank God for The Crossroads.
Awards Won: Agatha and Anthony

Have you ever wondered if one action can set off a series of events? This book uses imagination to address such a question. The Crossroads does contain some passages that may not be suitable for younger readers.
I have finally found the book that satisfies my craving for good, old-fashioned, creepy ghost stories! This would be the perfect campfire read this summer! But a word of not read it alone at night, especially if your house is surrounded by trees (like mine).

Zack, his dad and new step-mom have moved to a small town in Connecticut. And it just so happens that their new property includes a tree that designates the site of this community's worst accident in which 41 people died. And whi
colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
I picked this up on something of a whim one day at the library. I was browsing around, not really sure what I was looking for, when the cover caught my eye. Being that crossroads are elements of lots of supernatural stories, and creepy trees are always good, and the blurb sounded interesting, I decided to give it a go.

At first I was a little tured off by the simple, straight-forward writing. I know it's an MG book and all, but even books written for the 9-12 set can have some embellishment, ya k
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
This proves that one cannot judge a book until one has finished reading the story in its entirety. I so loved the first 3/5 of the book -- it's dark, it's sinister, it's mysterious. The short chapters with many surprising or cliff-hanging end-sentences work really well. It's also fun to have an adult who acts somewhat child-like and who helps with solving the issues but not in a condescending way. And then, the story becomes loose at the resolution part. First, there are simply too many quick de ...more
Zack Jennings, his dad, and his new step-mother move to a new house in Connecticut. He and his new puppy, Zipper, run into many ghosts--and they all seems to deal with the crossroads of Route 13 and Highway 31 where a terrible accident happened many years ago involving a bus and Clint Eberhart. Miss Gerta Spratling and her elderly chauffeur every Monday visit the huge old oak tree near the crossroads, and on the Jennings property, where Miss Spratling has a memorial to her fiance, Clint Eberhart ...more
"The Crossroads" is the first in a new series (#2 is "Hanging Hill") of supernatural thrillers. High on tension and low on gore, it is a great intro the genre for 9-12 year olds. Zack Jennings is a character that readers will love to follow: brave despite his fears, cursed with an ability to see ghosts, and blessed with some secret strength to fight the ones that are bent on evil. The crossroads outside his new home are not just a meeting place for two roads, but a nexus of different times and d ...more
My son was assigned this book as part of a reading group and I've got to say, he was totally pulled in from the very beginning. It's one of the first assigned readings I remember that he wanted to read through and didn't want to put down. As soon as he finished it, he put it in my hands and told me that I HAD to read it. I did--and loved it! It is seriously creepy, but funny too--and the mystery of what happened and what is going to happen next makes it awfully hard to put this book down. And th ...more
This book was really amazing because it had rich details in the story and I could image everything that was in the book. This book is a fantasy story about a haunted tree in a certain intersection. Jack Zennings, the main character has suspesions about the tree and went to investigate.
Meanwhile nuns tried to free the spirit inside the tree and construction workers tried to chop the tree down but it did not work. I recommend this book to anyone who has not read it.
This book is rich in details a
Oct 19, 2014 Spencer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Spencer by: My mom
Zack's life is just getting better. He moves into Connecticut on a large estate with his dad, his new stepmom, and a new dog. However, deep within a tree lurks an evil spirit, one killed 50 years ago and trapped for eternity within the tree. One night, lightning strikes and the tree releases the spirit of Clint Eberhart, who has a list of people that he is prepared to kill. And one of them is Zack. The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein is a haunted mystery about an evil spirit out to kill many pe ...more
Have you ever noticed a face in a tree and wondered if there was a man trying to hurt you? Well if you ever did or didn't you should read this book. The genre of this book is horror and history. This book is fiction.

This book takes place in Connecticut and is about a kid named Zack who moved back to his fathers old town when his father married his new stepmother named Judy. Zack's mom had passed away from cancer who haunts the New York City apartments, so now they moved back to his fathers old t
Wow, Chris Grabenstein can write as well for young adults as he does for adults. The Crossroads has a young teen as the main character and his ability to see inside trees to the people who are trapped there is fascinating. Sounds a bit strange but the way it is woven into the life experiences of this young man makes it all totally believable. A ghost story of top caliber. I'll be waiting for the next entry in this series with as much anticipation as I do the entries in the Ceepak series.

I began this book at roughly 11am today, and here it is almost 4pm. I could not put the book down. Every moment I spent away from the book felt wrong. I could feel the characters calling me back to the story like the ghosts beckoning the living to get rid of the stump. An absolutely fantastic read. I can't wait to read the rest of the series!
While I'm not the intended demographic target for this book, I really enjoyed it, almost more than the Ceepak books. Overall, this was an enjoyable, quick read, but I would've loved to delve further into the stories of the other ghosts. Were I 13 instead of 33, this book probably would've scared the pee out of me.
I loved this story. It only took a few hours to read, but it was a page turner that took me back to being a kid listening to the teacher read after lunch. It was funny, a little weird, and very enjoyable.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 02, 2008 Evan marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to me by an e-mail from Booklist...sounds creepy!
Christianna Stavridi
I found this book on my recommendation list and decided it was a light and fun story to read.-Yes,I know it's a scary story gender but I didn't expect I would get spooked.I was wrong.And glad I was.

The crossroads is the story of Zack,an awkward kid who surprise,surprise can see ghosts.It begins when Zack moves to a new town with his father and new step-mom writer Judy.Turns out an accident occurred years ago at the crossroads close to his house.And its cause? A no-good man out to cause trouble a
Reviewed by A Simple Taste for Reading:

This is the type of book I absolutely love. Perfect for children and young teens! When 11 yr. old Zack Jennings moves with his father and new step-mom, Judy, from New York to Connecticut, he hopes this will be a new start. He’s always felt partially responsible for his mother’s death from cancer, and leaving the home where she died is a relief from the constant reminder of how unhappy she was, and how much she blamed
Grade 5–8—A well-told ghost story with plenty of twists and chills. Eleven-year-old Zack believes that his mother, who died from cancer, haunts his New York City apartment, continually disapproving of his behavior. He is immensely relieved when Dad marries Judy, a kind woman, and they move to Connecticut. Unfortunately, Zack cannot seem to escape the dead. Shortly after arriving in North Chester, they meet Gerda Spratling, the last survivor of the town's founding family. The abrasive woman mourn ...more
Titis Wardhana
Ghosts all over...

Zack, ayah, dan ibu tirinya pindah ke kampung halaman ayahnya. Di sana ada perempatan keramat di mana hantu2 pada ngumpul. Di perempatan itu lima puluh tahun lalu terjadi kecelakaan antara bus yang berisi penumpang penuh sama mobil sama motor polisi. Judy, ibu tiri Zack, pernah ditolong sama hantu sopir busnya waktu bannya kempes, meski saat itu dia gak tau klo itu hantu. Zack berteman sama salah satu saksi mata kecelakaan itu yg juga hantu, tapi Zack juga gak tau kalau itu han
Lindsay (Everyday Is An Adventure)
Okay, here's the dilemma. As a middle school teacher I can clearly see how kids will LOVE this book - it has all the classic elements that younger audiences are into: a ghost story, supernatural beings, a mystery, a main character that you just want to like right from the start, and an evil antagonist who comes around to haunt the living. I am considering adding this title to my book club rotation list for my 6th grade students.

That being said, the adult side of me struggled with this one becaus
Aug 09, 2009 Patti rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like suspense & who like ghost stories
This is a great book, with just enough suspense and/or scariness to it to keep the reader turning the page. Zack's dad remarries after the death of his mother, to Judy, who is fun and affectionate with him. Zack's own mother was not--she was actually quite mean to him, but his father, while not neglecting his home, just didn't see how his first wife treated their son. Not only does Zack have a new stepmother, but his dad moves them to the small town where he grew up, and adds a dog, Zipper, to t ...more
The story "The Crossroads" by Chris Grabestein is a below average story and I wouldn’t recommend it . The story goes by very slowly and when you think it picks up it doesn’t. On page 56 Zack and his dog ran into this spooky lady and she said “Now, scoot. Skedaddle. This is my tree. And don’t you dare let that mangy little mongrel piddle against it, you hear me boy?” It was getting intense at the time, but on the next page he changed topics. You thought it would make you put the book down becaus ...more
I started reading this book as I normally do at 9 p.m. I always read prior to going to bed. Unfortunately, I couldn't go to sleep after reading a few chapters. You would think that if a book made you a little jumpy, that you wouldn't keep reading it, but I couldn't stop thinking about this book and so the next night I finished it. It was good. Ghost stories are kind of spooky to me, but this one was full of twists and turns. The story is about a boy who sees things in trees. His mother hated him ...more
Amy M
There were a number of things I enjoyed about The Crossroads but, overall, my disappointment outweighed my enjoyment.

Some of the things that Zach said and did not, in my opinion, fit with his age. In addition to working with teens at my job, I also work with tweens. From that experience and from hanging out with my niece, who is 11 1/2 years old, Zach acted a bit young at times. However, that is kind of nit-picky of me.

I loved that Zach's stepmom was a positive influence on him and not a wicked
Awake at Midnight
Reviewed for: Awake at Midnight

Zack Jennings just lost his mom. It wasn’t an easy death either, it was a cancer death, and to make things worse, Zack’s mom could be cruel. The book starts with a new beginning for Zack, his dad, and his new step-mom, but the stress of coping with his mother’s illness has already defined Zack as a fighter. Good thing, too. Because he can see ghosts. And one of them has it in for his family.

In the front yard of Zack’s new house, a huge old oak sits watching with ma
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reading log #3 2 5 Dec 18, 2011 06:40PM  
  • The Dead Boys
  • The Intruders
  • Breathe: A Ghost Story
  • The Girl Behind the Glass
  • The Hunt for the Seventh
  • The Seer of Shadows
  • The Ghost's Grave
  • The Wooden Mile (Something Wickedly Weird #1)
  • Curse of the Night Wolf (Barnaby Grimes, # 1)
  • The Stone Child
  • Even More Short & Shivery: Forty Five Spine Tingling Tales
  • Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake (Gilda Joyce, #2)
  • Sweet Miss Honeywell's Revenge: A Ghost Story
  • The Old Willis Place
  • Half-Minute Horrors
  • The Ghost Next Door
  • The Memory Bank
  • City of the Dead
Chris Grabenstein is an award-winning author of books for children and adults, a playwright, screenwriter, and former advertising executive and improvisational comedian.

Winner of two Anthony and four Agatha Awards, he is also the co-author with James Patterson of The #1 New York Times bestseller I FUNNY.

A former writer for Jim Henson's Muppets and past president of the New York Chapter of the
More about Chris Grabenstein...

Other Books in the Series

Haunted Mystery (4 books)
  • The Hanging Hill (Haunted Mystery, #2)
  • The Smoky Corridor (Haunted Mystery #3)
  • The Black Heart Crypt (Haunted Mystery #4)
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library Tilt-a-Whirl (John Ceepak Mystery, #1) Mad Mouse (John Ceepak Mystery, #2) Whack A Mole (John Ceepak Mystery, #3) Hell Hole (John Ceepak Mystery, #4)

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