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The Crossroads

(Haunted Mystery #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  2,062 ratings  ·  362 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
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Ranger Jones It is a 5th to 8th grade novel.

It is a horror and mystery novel for their age group though adults will read it.

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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,062 ratings  ·  362 reviews

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jv poore
This is exactly the type of book I searched for when I was in Middle Grade. I loved this fast-paced, spooky, suspenseful story which was sweetened by a pretty amazing step-mom who inherently trusted her 10-year-old step-son, in spite of his tendency to weave wild tales.

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
May 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Ranger Jones
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, mystery, horror
Very good!

I have had to stop myself from reading this in class because I loved it.

This is a good horror/mystery book that I would recommend it to anyone except young kids.
There is a lot of death and gore but this was an amazing book.
I have not read many horror and mystery books like this.

Highly recommended!
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Jul 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 4-6grade, horror
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
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Maybeline Tay
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Jordan Connell
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sheila Becker
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
I am not a horror fan but really like the other books I've read by Chris Grabenstein, so I found this series at the library. Still not a fan of the genre, but also really like these books. Way to confuse myself. Suspense is about as far as I usually go and since this is a kid's book, I can live with it, though I still had to be a little careful about when I read it.
Bonnie Thrasher
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant horror story for pre-teens. Absolutely ADORED this one. Eleven year old Zack Jennings's abusive mother has just died of cancer. He still hears her berating him, and feels fault on many levels. His father works out of town a lot, but just married a cheery woman, Judy, who is eager to be a nurturing step-mother to Zack. They move back to Mr. Jennings's hometown to a new construction at the crossroads of Hwy 31 and Hwy 13. This crossroads and the enormous Oak tree is the center piece of t ...more
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a unique story with fun twists and turns.
Lynette Burnett
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved it! I will definitely read more of this series! Fun!
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The main character in this book was named Zack. In the book there was a ghost of the town that was out to kill Zack. Zack's mom had died earlier that year so no figure he had a step mom. Zack was one of those smart but popular kids in his 8th grade classes. Except in English where he thinks the teachers looks like his mother. If anything went wrong during his day he would hear his mother's voice say something that she would of said if she was alive at that moment.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A real great read! I just started this book because I'm in children's horror phase but man oh man, wasn't it so exciting that I needed and did read it in one sitting. I'm glad I found author Chris Grabenstein. His story telling is easy and engaging, there is not one boring slump in whole book. It's fast-paced and interesting right from the start with right amount of humor. It's ideal for middle-grade but suitable for younger kids too and even adults will find it enjoyable.
Spook Harrison
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loads of fun, will recommend to family! Kids get the best stories!!! I'm already reading the second in the series, which I picked up after loving the first Lemoncello book. Really pleased with it as it tackles some very adult material (emotional abuse, trust and lies, friendship) in a way children can process. I also liked that chapters are of varying length; that's something that appeals greatly to the young reader in me, and that you learn a little at a time so you keep on reading. Very good!
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
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
Chrissy McNeill
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome Mystery

Loved this book! Perfect reading for anyone over the age of 10! My granddaughter recommended it to me and she is10. Schools should assign this for Summer reading curriculum.
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
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 learn
Jun 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nice creepy ghost mystery, great for junior high.
Sep 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 20, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing

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, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
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CHRIS GRABENSTEIN is a #1 New York Times bestselling. His books include the LEMONCELLO LIBRARY series, the WONDERLAND series, and many fun and funny page-turners co-authored with James Patterson. You can visit Chris at

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)