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The Crossroads (Haunted Mystery #1)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  1,692 Ratings  ·  302 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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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 really liked it  ·  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
Jan 17, 2016 Zahra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The book was a fascinating tale, a mix of horror and mystery. In the story a young boy called Zack lives with his dad and step mom Judy. As a beginning, Zack moves to a house by the cross roads. This place has a lot of history. Zack has this special ability were he can actually see ghosts. It's been bothering him since his mom died. Zack thinks he is finally rid of this, but maybe he wasn't so right.
As Zack moves to this new house, were an old tree captures the evil spirit of Clint eberhart (I'm
Maybeline Tay
Oct 06, 2015 Maybeline Tay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Escape from Mr Lemoncello's Library, so I did a search on more of Chris' books and decided to read this. This book did not disappoint. However, I'm not sure I will recommend this to the young ones. I think it a wee bit too intense. Firstly, this is a ghost story with suicide, murder and violent intents thrown together. Secondly, there's a backstory of how a mom ( with serious emotional and perhaps mental health issues) who died could still affect her son. It didn't feel directly releva ...more
Jordan Connell
May 23, 2012 Jordan Connell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
The Crossroads is a pretty good ghost story aimed at kids in maybe 5th-7th grade. It was creepy, there was some violence, and there were kids in peril. All of this was enough to make kids in this age range appropriately freaked out, but not enough to be really and truly terrifying to them.

While the ghost story does take center stage in this book, it's also a story about Zack having to come to terms with the verbal and emotional abuse he suffered at the hands of his now deceased mother. He learns
Jan 23, 2011 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grades-4-6
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
Jul 21, 2008 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 fabulous fabulaphile
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
Jun 29, 2008 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 01, 2016 C-shaw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A library book. Oh boy, a new Chris Grabenstein series! I love his Dr. Lemoncello books. Chris grew up in my home town, he's my age and graduated at the same time and from the same school as two of my best friends, so their paths must have crossed. How special!
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Best description of this book is: Stephen King light.
Jan 17, 2015 Kait rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, childrens, 2015, audio
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 04, 2009 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic-horror
"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
The Crossroads is a scary book about a boy named Zach whose family moves into his father's hometown in order to start a new life. Their new house is located right in the crossroads of the town where a bus accident in 1958 took the lives of all but one of the passengers. Zach makes friends with Davy, a boy who lives on a farm nearby and begins to feel that their move might work out, but Zach's stepmother starts to research some of the strange incidents that begin occurring in and around the cross ...more
Apr 03, 2016 Steph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hearing the author speak about this novel made this an even more interesting book. Definitely creeped me out and majorly held my interest, but too mature for the 4th-5th graders that the writing seems to be geared towards. Possibly the perfect middle school book for students who love a freaky read.
Apr 22, 2012 Ryoha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Conan Tigard
Nov 13, 2015 Conan Tigard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Crossroads is the type of book I absolutely love. I could not stop reading it until I reached the end. Right from the beginning, I was intrigued by the story and couldn't wait to see what tales of terror would unfold. I must admit that I do like scary books. I don't like horrible things like splatter movies, but I do enjoy a good scare or two. When I say that this book is a horror book, remember that it is intended for young readers. Sure, it can be a little scary, but it isn't "scare you de ...more
Oct 19, 2014 Spencer rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Nov 25, 2014 Dalila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 15, 2009 Patty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 03, 2015 Jocelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book because it had mystery and it was a little bit creepy at some points. Zach got a brand new house, a brand new mom, even a new dog. There is a problem though. There is a ghost that is seeking revenge. Zach is on his list.

Zach is just a normal kid ,but he has a problem. He can see ghosts. When he was young, his mother made him believe that he was at fault for what happened to her. Zach started to get a sense of relief when they moved. He began to forget about it when he
Sep 22, 2012 Samantha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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!
Aug 31, 2008 Brandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
While it was a reasonably enjoyable read, and parts of it - particularly some of the atmospheric bits in the first part of the book - were quite good, it felt a little like it was trying to be too many things at once by the end. Horror, action, family drama, ghost story, even a touch of the police drama. And I can't help thinking that kid me would've been put off by the fact that the story happened almost more to and around the main character than as a result of his actions. (Barring parts of th ...more
Lacy Lovelace
Feb 11, 2016 Lacy Lovelace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always been intrigued by the cover and description of this book. I found it in the "middle school-aged" section of books at Hastings and have been wanting to read it for awhile. It really is a good book, but I don't really know if it's truly appropriate for middle school-aged kiddos. Maybe 8th grade but there are some pretty dark themes in this book (suicide, killing, death, etc.). The author definitely did well on the creepy factor although I think Judy came to conclusions too quickly. In ...more
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reading log #3 2 6 Dec 18, 2011 06:40PM  
  • The Dead Boys
  • The Intruders
  • Breathe: A Ghost Story
  • The Seer of Shadows
  • The Ghost's Grave
  • The Girl Behind the Glass
  • The Stone Child
  • The Wooden Mile (Something Wickedly Weird #1)
  • The Hunt for the Seventh
  • Any Which Wall
  • Stonewords: A Ghost Story
  • Bayou Dogs (The Haunting of Derek Stone, Book #2)
  • The Old Willis Place
  • The Twilight Prisoner (Jack Perdu, #2)
  • Half-Minute Horrors
  • Death and Taxes (The Sons of Liberty #2)
  • The Haunting of Charles Dickens
  • The Robe of Skulls (Tales from the Five Kingdoms, #1)
CHRIS GRABENSTEIN is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY, MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY OLYMPICS, THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS, WELCOME TO WONDERLAND: HOME SWEET MOTEL and many other books, as well as the coauthor of numerous fun and funny page-turners with James Patterson, including I FUNNY, HOUSE OF ROBOTS, TREASURE HUNTERS, and JACKY HA-HA. Chris lives in New ...more
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)

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