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Something Upstairs

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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  1,609 ratings  ·  171 reviews
Avi's haunting ghost story is available for the first time as a Scholastic paperback!

When 12-year-old Kenny Huldorf moves to Providence, Rhode Island, he soon discovers that his attic bedroom is haunted by the ghost of a teenage slave named Caleb. Before long, Caleb summons Kenny back in time, where Kenny finds himself entangled in Caleb's murder and deeply troubled by the
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Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Scholastic Press (first published 1988)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,354)
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Jennifer Lavoie
Okay, so I remember reading this book back in fourth or fifth grade. And I'm now twenty-eight years old teaching in a middle school. This book really stayed with me, and I remember reading it, because I just loved it. However, I'm really embarassed to say this, but up until I finished the book and then looked up Avi's page online... I thought this really did happen.

You see, the way Avi writes the Author's Explanation in the beginning had me hooked as a kid and even today! I thought for SURE tha
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Tamra
Jun 07, 2010 Tamra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, especially youth
I would give this book more stars if I could! I loved this book as a kid and read it several times, thinking it would be less scary since I knew what was going to happen. Not so.

It's a completely compelling book, and one I would recommend to any youth. It's got some fun ideas about time travel (who doesn't want to time travel?) as well as some fun twists to the story. AWESOME.

Love it, love it.

*update*
Re-read Nov. 2009. Still just as compelling as the first time (my husband had to call me into
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Amy Y.
The book Something Upstairs is about this boy named Kenny whose family moves into an old 1800's house that squeaks and creaks. Tedious, Kenny turns the attic into his very own bedroom with a wide open space and spacious windows. Kenny explores his new bedroom but then discovers a dried up stain on the wooden floor, but Kenny just ignored it. Then late at night, Kenny is awoken by a strange mist coming out of the stain. A shadow of a young African-american boy who claims he was shot in the early ...more
Mrs. Jacobs
I wish, so wish, that someone had been a bit more careful with the cover of this book. It looks juvenile. In fact, its cover prompted me to give the book to my 10-year-old rather than put it on my classroom bookshelf. However, it's definitely a middle school book. The plot is rich and thought-provoking; the ethical decisions with which the protagonist struggles are deeper than what a 10-year-old usually experiences. This historical understanding that needs to be brought by the reader requires mo ...more
Cassandra
Please don't judge this lovely little book by its unfortunate cover.

I've already come to respect Avi as a quality writer of original and engaging YA fiction, but I think this one takes the 'surprisingly better than expected' prize. Avi manages, in just over a hundred pages, to weave a complex, compelling story that combines the campfire ghost story with elements of time-travel yarn, murder mystery, and historical fiction, with a thoughtful look at the consequences of racism and a gripping moral
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Katrina
I found this at the library and basically needed to check out two things to activate my account. I thought it would be a short interesting read, and it's been forever since I read anything by Avi. We'll see how this goes.

So, Avi is an author mostly read in middle school. So what. This was a quick read (only 116 pages), and a good one. It left me actually wanting to know more, but the story was done. The way this story is told is as a recounting of a young boy's personal memory. Avi is the narrat
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Angie Fehl
Nice, light easing into my fall reads here! This was one of my favorite Avi books when I was a kid and was recently compelled to pick it up again to see how I saw the story as an adult. While I didn't find myself quite as riveted to the page as my childhood self seemed to be, I was still highly entertained, loving the nostalgia it brought back to me.

The intro to this story is Avi explaining that this is a "true story" told to him by Kenny Huldorf, the main character of Something Upstairs, Kenny
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Mya Rivera
This book is inspired by a real story. Avi was on a tour around the country when he heard about this story. Kenny moved to Providence, RI from LA, and chose the attic for his bedroom. He likes the house, until one night he comes across a scathing noise in his closet and he went to go see and saw it was a ghost. The ghost was rising up from the floorboard Kenny was scared and he started to hide himself in the blankets then when he looked up the ghost had disappeared. As the nights go on Kenny con ...more
Grecia Flores
***spoiler alert***We like scary books.I think the genre in fiction because ghosts aren't real.I like this book because is an inventure book.

The setting of the book is a little city the Kenny moves in.Kenny wanted to know what was making the noise in the night.But he was scare to know what was it and it was dark.So he got a flashlight that was onder his pillow.Then he went to the little room that the noise was coming from.The conflict is person vs person because Kenny and Caleb which is the ghos
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Louis Florian
Something Upstairs


The book “something upstairs” takes place in Rhode Island, where a boy moves into a new house with a horrible accident happen in the attic. A former slave was murder named Caleb the same age as Kenny (protagonist) and can’t be set free, until he finds out how he died and only Kenny can help but no one believes him about Caleb.
I think the book was great and had a good plot from the beginning to the end of the story. It had a lot of suspense, drama, mystery in one book. One of
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Atsumi Kihara
This is a historical fiction novel called “Something Upstairs” by Avi. The main character is a twelve years old boy called Kenny Huldorf.
He moves from Los Angeles to Providence, Rhode Island. He lives in a house of past events, built in 1789. Kenny's room is in the attic. One night Kenny wakes to a scraping noise in the old slave room. When he looks inside, he sees a ghost that tries to get out from a stain on the floor. It moves a box full of books out of the way. Once it is out, the ghost fe
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Bethany
My book is about a young boy named Kenny from California, who’s life changes when his dad gets a job in Rhode Island. He doesn’t expect what adventures are in store for him, once he gets to his new home .
I personally liked that this book because it has excitement and has a mystery feel to it. And I really like when Kenny starts to help find the murder of his new ghost friend. Two things I would change about this book would be Kenny’s parents not getting or wondering more about the ghost living
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Julie Decker
Kenny moves into a new house and soon ends up meeting Caleb. Meeting new friends is pretty common in a new neighborhood, but what if your new pal is a ghost? Yep! Caleb was a slave during the Revolutionary War era, and he shows Kenny--in a very real way--what he went through during those awful times. However, Kenny isn't just a passive observer in this tale; he faces danger himself while trying to free his friend once and for all, and though Caleb is really the major focus of the story, Kenny is ...more
Jamie
I very much liked the ending, though I shan't reveal it, as not to ruin it for others.

The prose was well-written, and though intended for children, I found the language and style engaging and challenging enough to provoke thought in a younger reader (I am not!), but not discouragingly so.

The characters seemed well-thought, as did the background (location). I was able to envision the story and liked the dialogue, but even more so, the inner dialogue of the protagonist.

This is the second Avi boo
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Amanda Cowher
I read this book back in 1993, and it at the time was one of the spookiest books I had ever read.
Amy
Read with my class- suitable for 4-8 depending upon the reading level. This book really hooks kids!
Julia
According to a question I read in a contest for young readers through my library, this book had a time- traveling house. How could I not read it? Kenny has moved from California to Providence, RI. In his ‘new’ house, built in 1789, he meets (view spoiler) Caleb, who needs his help. Meh, not for me. Many of the reviews here, love it, pay attention to them; or maybe there could have been more going on in this very slight novel.

Read for Battle of the Books; I requested
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Tammy LaPorta Rainwater
Read this with my son for school. I felt it was well below their age (8th). I think it was more for the theme. Their Social Studies unit Ida from that time period and also deals with slavery. At least I'm hoping why they're reading this for LA.

The story is ok. A quick read with just a bit more than 100 pages. I think the wrap up is a little anticlimactic but what can I expect for this reading level? I liked the use of history, time travel and the supernatural element of it. At least I got to spe
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Emma Noelle Olsen
I will review this book as soon as possible. All I'll say for right now is that it surprised me in a good way!

Before the spoilers start, here's my overall review: If you like a good mystery, this is the book for you. If you haven't read this book and want to, now is a good time to stop reading this review.
10/22/13
Something Upstairs by Avi is the story of Kenny, who is moving from sunny southern California to rainy, boring, historical Providence, Rhode Island. Even though he's disappointed abou
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Jacquelyn
I picked this book up yesterday when buzzing through Barnes and Noble. I love books by Avi, and this one caught my eye. I'm sure my students will enjoy it, too. Avi pulls you in at the beginning of the book with the "author's explanation and keeps you wanting more. The mystery keeps you wanting to know what the main character will choose to do and . . .is it TRUE?? I read it in a matter of an hour - couldn't put it down.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for TeensReadToo.com

Twelve-year-old Kenny Huldorf tells the story of how when he moved to Providence, Rhode Island, he discovered his old house was haunted by the ghost of a slave named Caleb.

After doing some research, he discovers that someone murdered Caleb. Taken back in time by the ghost to solve the murder, Kenny becomes entangled in a mystery that will test his wits, his life, and the life of his newfound friend.

Will Kenny manage to right the wrong and save Caleb by unco
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Gail
Avi guides the young reader into a fantasy book that mimics the complexity of a historical fiction. This is a great introduction to a shifting time line that is inherent in a lot of those complex historical fiction texts. This would make a great guided reading book to accompany the book clubs that Lucy Caulkins describes in her reading program.
Amber Lynch
Enjoyed this historical fiction book.This book is about a boy named Kenny who moves from California to the historical town of Providence, Rhode Island. Kenny learns when he is exploring his new house that there is someone else who is in the house with him and his family. He then begins to explore the house in more detail and learns a lot about the history of his home. Kenny begins to unravel the mystery of Something Upstairs.

This book could be used to discuss the topic of slavery with students a
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fletch
Back home reading my old books. I must have read this short young adult book at least 8-10 times. It's about a white kid from LA who moves to Providence, Rhode Island and finds a ghost who died a slave in his attic. He promises the ghost Caleb that he will find his murderer and free him from the little room in the attic. I wasn't sure whether I would like this book as an adult, but it's actually pretty cool. The villain is an old white historian who moves between the past and the present, contro ...more
Sarah
Written in classic ghost story fashion--where the author informs readers that this is a true story told him by a student, this eire tale is more time travel then true ghost story. The young hero is drawn into the history of his new house and town, both literally and figuratively, when he finds himself manipulated by different "memories" from the past--those in particular of a slave boy murdered in the atic of his historical home.
Suitable for younger readers, in the third or fourth grade, this b
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Anthony Faber
Kids' book. Interesting concept, but faulty execution. Too didactic (although it does talk about slavery in the north, which is often ignored), the 19th century characters speak anachronistically, and the action doesn't quite ring true.
Mistyblue
As a big fan of Avi, I had high hopes and was not disappointed. This book has just the right amount of scary and suspense. Can't wait to read it to my class next Halloween.
Michelle Barker
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Swankivy
I read this as a kid. I liked the historical lessons imparted while also relating a story about the supernatural. Very well-written, cool story. A boy called Kenny meets a ghost named Caleb and learns all about his life as a slave during the Revolutionary War era. It was engaging and realistic--especially for a supernatural story--and though of course some of it was a little creepy, it wasn't actively "scary" to me. I liked that there was some risk for Kenny trying to solve Caleb's murder. And t ...more
Purple$$
I loved this book!! It was very mysterious. I hope I can find others like these! I recommend this book to 3rd and 4th graders. Happy Reading
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Avi is a pen name for Edward Irving Wortis, but he says, "The fact is, Avi is the only name I use."
Born in 1937, Avi has created many fictional favorites such as The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, and The Crispin series. His work is very much desired by readers young and old.
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More about Avi...
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Crispin #1) Nothing But the Truth Poppy (Tales of Dimwood Forest, #1) The Seer of Shadows

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