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The Book of Bad Things

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One kid's trash is another kid's terror in this spooky supernatural mystery.

When Cassidy Bean leaves New York to spend the summer upstate, she's disappointed to find that Whitechapel is not the quiet, pleasant suburb she remembers. Ursula Chambers, the strange old hermit at the end of the cul-de-sac, has passed away under mysterious circumstances. And the townspeople are shocked to discover that Ursula was a hoarder: Her farmhouse is teeming with stacks of newspapers, piles of furniture, mounds of antique dolls and taxidermy animals.

Cassidy watches as the people of Whitechapel descend upon Ursula's farmhouse, claiming her abandoned treasures for their own. She listens as rumors spread that Ursula's vengeful ghost is stalking the town with a warning from beyond the grave. And when Cassidy resolves to uncover the truth behind the strangeness, she learns there are more bad things in the world than she ever suspected. . . .

Modern master of the macabre Dan Poblocki is back with another scary story best read at night.

256 pages, Hardcover

First published August 26, 2014

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About the author

Dan Poblocki

24 books557 followers
Author of The Stone Child, The Nightmarys, The Ghost of Graylock, and the Mysterious Four series,The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe, and The Book of Bad Things.

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5 stars
215 (34%)
4 stars
222 (35%)
3 stars
151 (24%)
2 stars
29 (4%)
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9 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 79 reviews
Profile Image for Mir.
4,847 reviews5,004 followers
March 18, 2021
Do not steal from the haunted hoarder house.

I thought this book did a really good job balancing traditional horror elements with more quotidian anxieties and interpersonal problems. The main character, Cassidy, is a poor kid from New York City who suffers panic attacks due to a traumatic experience. She spends summers with a more affluent small town family through a program which makes it all too clear to the kids that they are receiving charity. She thought Joey was her friend, but maybe he just spent time with her because his parents told him to? Now he's avoiding her; has he outgrown their friendship or is something sinister going on or, as his parents believe, is Joey having mental problems? And what's with the morbid new girl next door?
Profile Image for Dana Decker.
46 reviews53 followers
April 5, 2019
This was such a fun book. I love a good creepy middle grade book. This follows a girl who writes down anything bad or scary in a journal so she can learn to cope with her fears and anxiety.Can her fears end up saving her and her friends ? Who knows... Short and fun. Definitely worth your time and space on your shelf. I want to read the rest of his work now. So much fun.
Profile Image for Jarrett.
35 reviews1 follower
April 2, 2019
Very good book showing that sometimes bad things can be good
Profile Image for Nick Pes.
40 reviews4 followers
May 12, 2017
This book follows the story of 12-year-old girl Cassidy and her adventures in Whitechapel, New Jersey. However, the town starts to have peculiar, supernatural activities. After her neighbor Ursula dies, bodies start dying, and worst of all, they're missing. People start seeing Ursula's ghost. The terror continues.

This book was very well-written and as an author Dan has met up to his expectations. I would recommend this book for 5-6th graders.
Profile Image for ☼Bookish pam in Virginia☼ .
1,161 reviews46 followers
August 11, 2014
I finished THE BOOK OF BAD THINGS last night, and if you have a Middle-grader that likes spooky stories, this would be a good choice.

It's a Scholastic book, and I have to say that via Netgalley I've been reading more of their spooky stories for Middle-graders and Young Adults and they're very well done. They might not be for all adults, but I find that I have no trouble enjoying them.

THE BOOK OF BAD THINGS has a female protagonist with male and female friends of all ages -- Zero love story (huzzah!) -- zero profanity, drugs. Some violence. The tale is well plotted and written, and it's not gory.

I hadn't heard of Dan Poblocki previously-- but he's excellent. This is a well plotted story where, when the kids do something dangerous, it's because there really isn't an alternative. Which is to say, you know how in some books you just have to pretend it makes sense not to go to the authorities or the parents,... well, you don't have that problem with this book.

WELL DONE. Older Tweens and Middle-graders (even you older teens and those of us who love YA) should check out THE BOOK OF BAD THINGS. It's a fun book. I enjoyed it and I'll be reading more of Mr. Poblocki.
Profile Image for Cobwebby Eldritch Reading Reindeer .
5,072 reviews266 followers
July 21, 2014
Review: THE BOOK OF BAD THINGS by Dan Poblocki

I discovered the work of Dan Poblocki several years ago, and became an immediate, enraptured fan. Although his newest has characters who are in the category of upper middle/lower YA ( three of the main protagonists are 12 headed for 13), this story is relevant for older YA and also.adults (which I think is true of his earlier writings as well). His writing is engrossing, with a special way of interweaving several backstories (in some cases, parallel narrative). I can't highly enough recommend this book and thus author.
Profile Image for TJ.
977 reviews118 followers
March 4, 2015
Received from: Scholastic
Received Via: NetGalley.com


Why this book?

The cover grabbed me

What I thought

I really liked this book. It kept me at the edge of my seat. I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I read it one setting.It's equal parts mysterious and creepy filled with zombies and ghosts. I just wish I read this when I was younger it really would of creeped me out. I still enjoyed the creep factor though. Overall an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Chelsea Hagen.
106 reviews
August 14, 2016
I enjoyed this book. I liked it's short chapters, making it easier to read. The story kept you interested right to the very end. I liked character Cassie because she was in a foster home and had experienced tragedy.
Profile Image for Pewdiepie.
1 review
October 23, 2018
Quarter 1: Book review
"The Book of Bad Things" follows Cassidy Bean and her friends Joey, Ping, and Hal as they get to the root of strange things happening in the town of Whitechapel.

I've read some of Dan Poblocki's books in the past, and all of them were excellent. I read this book with high expectations, and they were definitely met. It had no love story, a unique story, and most of all, it was actually creepy. It had me laying in bed thinking about what was happening, and what would happen next. This book is also actually realistic too. At least as realistic as a zombie story can be. The kids wouldn't do any dangerous things unless they had to, and it even showed a bit of how death could affect kids, with Joey thinking that his dog could still be friendly, and stopping at nothing to see him again.

There were, of course, a few bumps in the road. There were some spots where the author tried to make you feel something, which mostly fell flat on its face, and there were also some things that didn't make sense, like the monster chasing Cassidy, Ping, and Joey even though they only entered Ursula's house once.

A few disclaimers for younger readers:
This book contains some gory descriptions, death, zombies, and just a lot of dead things. If that doesn't sound up your alley, I wouldn't recommend this book.

Overall, this was a great book. It was well written and had a great plot. This book is also not very well known though, being overshadowed by Dan's other works (mostly Ghost of Graylock). The only reason I found out about it was just messing around in the horror section. But anyways, if you're looking for a good middle-school level horror book, then The Book of Bad Things is for you.
1 review
January 8, 2020
The main Character is Cassidy, she is a kind girl that writes all of her scary things into a little journal. She lives with a not so loving mother, so every summer she goes to White Chapel to stay wither her friends, they are basically family to her. But this summer was different, Joey her friend was acting different. Joey would not talk to Cassidy at all, and shut her away. Weird things start happening, and Cassidy tries to figure it out. The neighborhood hoarder, Mrs. Chambers has died.

People start taking all of the things that Mrs. Chambers had, and the people that took the items start disappearing. Bad things start happening. Then this girl named Ping became friends with Cassidy, because Cassidy did not have anyone to help her with what was going on. Joey claimed he saw some things. Cassidy believed him and saw those things herself. Cassidy starts to try and be friends with Joey again, and they become friends again. Joey becomes friends with Ping, even though he hated her. They go out and try to figure out why people are disappearing. They figure out that whoever took Mrs. Chambers stuff would get killed.

The house that Mrs. Chambers lived on was a haunted house and everything on the land was cursed. Even though Mrs. Chambers is dead, doesn't mean she is not at peace. She goes around haunted those who took the stuff warning them to take it back or else. This scary book is a great horror book. I am very into scary books and this was a good scary book with twists and turns. There were a lot of problems that they faced in the book. I would really recommend this book for how scary it is, and how much good stuff it has in it.
Profile Image for Liesl Miller.
179 reviews2 followers
October 5, 2017
This book was pretty good, actually. It was intriguing and most of the characters were relatively well-developed. Good for middle grade readers, though I don't think I'd recommend it to anyone below 4th grade. Spoiler alert: a lot of people (and a dog) die in this book, plus there are a few disturbing sequences regarding inanimate objects coming to life. It deals a bit with the occult, which is fine, but I know some parents may not like that. All in all, it was a pretty good reading experience. Definitely 10 years old and up, though.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
11 reviews
October 4, 2018
Choice book #2 quarter 1
The book of bad Things by Dan Poblocki
The story follows Cassidy Bean who lives in new York city has been coming to Whitechapel a suburban town for the past 2 summers.But it is not the same as she remembers her host brother is acting odd and the old hermit Ursula chambers has died and is not happy with the people who took her stuff.Cassidy must save the town before it's to late.This was an okay but content wise it's not the best "Thriller" if your looking for one.
44 reviews
July 10, 2020
It's definitely more like a 3 and a half, that just wasn't an option! I really liked it, but it was a little under the level of reading I usually do. It wasn't as scary as some of his other books. I am used to getting chills with his old books, and I missed that with this one. Overall it was pretty good, and if you are younger and want to read something horror/suspenseful then this is a great option!
557 reviews3 followers
March 13, 2019
Cassidy has a notebook that she writes about everything that scares her. It helps with her anxiety. When she visits friends in a quiet suburb; Cassidy and her friends find out that the dead are restless and the entire town is in danger. Part zombie thriller and part vortex thriller, the story has interesting twists and turns.
Profile Image for Jen Bojkov.
1,030 reviews14 followers
June 20, 2019
Good Stephen-King-lite for upper-elementary readers or maybe even younger MS readers. Short chapters interspersed with journal entries about supernatural phenomena make for a fast-paced and engaging read for reluctant readers- as long as they are looking for a spooky book.
Profile Image for Matt Luppo.
41 reviews
April 4, 2022
OMG finally just got done reading this book awesome read from cover to cover I just can't believe it took me so long to read this short book but very good if you're into spooky scary creepy stuff this book's for you hope you read and enjoy it just as much as I did
Profile Image for Stefan.
145 reviews1 follower
July 9, 2017
So long ago I don't think I can give a fair, in-depth review. I love Poblocki as a suspense writer for younger readers, and I would recommend it to them.
Profile Image for Manasvi.
2 reviews
December 7, 2018
An amazing book which brings out the aspects of friendship and teaches us a way to fight our own demons.
Profile Image for Yuiko.
1,568 reviews17 followers
October 26, 2019
Sorta getting bored of it after 60 pages and nothing really happening not to thrilled with it. I should be interesting after page 1 not half to wait this long.
7 reviews
March 5, 2015
Wes Kane
3rd and 4th period
Mrs. Toney
SUMMARY: The book starts out with Cassidy Bean on the bus explaining her book of bad things. She says it’s her safe keeping. She writes down what she is afraid of in it. Then she says that she is going to the Tremonts house. She says it’s for a summer camp type thing. She says that this is her last year because next year she’ll be too old. She says they live in a housing edition.
When she gets there she notices that something is wrong with her best friend at the Tremonts house, Joey. Later in the book you get to know why. His dog died last summer. He is like gothic. This old lady died down the street too. She was a hoarder. When they start cleaning out the house people start taking out stuff and keeping it. They start dying and the reader knows why because they read it happening. The old lady that died (Ursula Chambers) and she kills them. Cassidy gets a vision in her sleep and she sees they need to go to the house. On their way there they meet a girl named Ping. When they get there they realize what’s going on. The house is on a giant ley line. It’s like a vortex in there whatever the people take the house wants back. There is a monster that controls all of it. So it warns them and if they don’t take it back it takes their life instead. They go explore the rest of the house. They go into the basement. There they see the people who have died crawl out of a big crack in the wall like zombies. They out run them. On the way of outrunning them the meet another guy named Hal. They go with pings mom to the university by lying to her. They find out what they need to do. They need to sacrifice something valuable. They go buy a pendent. They go into that crack and find the monster that’s controlling all of it. They sacrifice it. It doesn’t work. By then the zombies had found them. Cassidy realizes that it’s not money worth its sentimental worth. She ends up sacrificing her biggest thing to her. The book of bad things. It stops the monster and the zombies. Then they celebrated.
MAIN CHARACTERS AND DESCRIPTIONS: Cassidy Bean is brown hair brown eyes. She is funny and kind. But she is kind of a scaredy cat. Joey is really pale and wears black clothes.
Ping is funny kind and very smart. She is also courageous. She has black hair. She wears weird clothes though. Hal he is very bruised and has a concussion. This is because he was just in a car crash. He has black hair and brown eyes.
SETTING: The setting of the book is in Whitechapel. This is in New Jersey. It is also at the university and Junk land, (a store in Whitechapel) the Tremonts house, and Ursula Chambers house. All of this is in modern time.
CONFLICT: The conflict of this book is awesome I think. People are dying from a ghost of an old hoarder. The kids know this but they can’t tell anyone because if they do they will either be laughed at or sent to a doctor. But, if they don’t tell anyone they could die.
RESOLUTION: The resolution is almost as good as the conflict. They have to fight the dead people that died by the hands of the hoarder lady. While the guys do that Cassidy and Ping are trying to read from her book of bad things to kill the monster. This is because it’s precious to Cassidy. They do kill the monster by throwing the book at the monster. It’s the biggest sacrifice ever to Cassidy. It was her most loved thing.
OPINION: My opinion of the book is that it was AMAZING. Best book I’ve ever read. I love it. If I was a high school teacher I would read this to the class. I love that it had so many mind blowing parts. I had my mind blown like ten times. I also love that it had actually scary parts. It was like watching a scary movie in my head. But it also had humor. Like I said BEST BOOK EVER. You can’t find another book like this one.
RECOMMENDATION: I would recommend this book to 6th and up. I think even an adult would find this entertaining. But only if you like scary stuff and you’ve got to be ready to have your mind blown or you won’t even think about how awesome it is because it is so mind blowing. This would also go best to kids who are good readers because there are a lot of big words and a lot of words on each page.
Profile Image for Harley.
64 reviews
March 18, 2022
A very interesting read. The characters and plot are interesting. I love the way fears are worked into the writing and plot. Definitely an interesting way to look at fears and how to deal with them.
Profile Image for Kennedy.
89 reviews
March 3, 2017
This book was ok, like I say with all of this authors books this wasn't really a horror book it's just scary for the characters not the reader. This book was also hard to get into, it was kinda boring. I was very disappointed.
Profile Image for zapkode.
1,046 reviews77 followers
September 30, 2015
{My Thoughts} – Cassidy is a sweet twelve year-old girl that has been through a bad experience in her past. She has a neighbor that so nicely saved her from that bad experience and since had given her a notebook to right down all the things that scare her. She carries that notebook with her everywhere.

When this book begins she is going to Whitechapel to live with a host family for the summer. She had been there before and she is friends with their son Joey. Her first few days there she learns Joey is mad at her and she makes friends with a new girl named Ping that recently moved in. There is a lot of commotion going on around the host families house because the neighbor had recently passed away and she’d been deemed a hoarder.

A hoarder is someone that has an impulsion to collect things: regardless if it is trash or treasure and the inability to discard things that have no longer any use. This is a term I am all to familiar with and not one that I enjoy thinking about. However, this book gave some nice insight on what a hoarder was, why they hoard and what they could do if they got help.

The neighbors all gather around the hoarders left over junk and start taking things since she won’t be needing them now that she has passed. Once that starts taking place strange things start happening in their town, strange things that otherwise could not be explained away.

All this nice information was sewn into this interesting story about three twelve year-olds. Cassidy, Joey and Ping and a teenage boy named Hal that have to save the people they love and their friends from a terrible beast. I am going to use beast because it is used with in the book, but the description of said beast left me awestruck. It made me feel like I was there or like I was watching it on a screen in my imagination.

There are so many bad things that one can allow to let bother them. So many bad things that can scare someone. This book is a basic simple horror story meant for younger middle school kids. It is written accurately for their level and has a great level of description that pulls you into the story. It is written based on Cassidy’s point of view and I most say seeing this through the eyes of twelve year-old girl made me wonder how children would really react to situations like this.

The house of the hoarder neighbor that had passed away holds many secrets. The main one is the basis of this book and if you want to know what it is you will need to read the book. I promise that you won’t be disappointed if you enjoy simple horror that lacks blood and gore. I am grateful this book lacked that because it isn’t really something that I am much into. I do know that I will be gifting this book to my nine-year-old son in the near future. He seems to really like this kind of stuff.

This is a must read book for any fan of simple horror. I am certain that you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Profile Image for Amanda Harris.
204 reviews4 followers
September 21, 2014
Cassidy, a soon to be teenager, lives in New York City with her mother Naomi, who most of the time is a no show in her life. Every summer Cassidy visits Whitechapel, New Jersey to stay with her "host family". Last summer wasn't very successful. Joey, the son of Rose and Dennis (the host parents), and Cassidy's friend, was devastated by the death of his prized pet, Lucky. Now that she is back, Joey hasn't really given her a warm greeting. It seems like this summer will be another total disaster. Cassidy blames herself for Lucky's death, after all, it was her idea to visit the hermit's house up on the hill...

The upside? Cassidy meets next door neighbor Ping and their friendship starts to blossom.

The plot thickens as the hermit, mysteriously dies leaving a house full of junk that is a hoarder's paradise. What can the town do to figure out how to deal with this eye sore? The most natural answer is to poach items from the house, however, the citizens of Whitechapel soon realize that wasn't the best solution. Anyone who took items from the house start to die and it seems that Cassidy, Ping, Joey, and Hal (older kid who can drive) are the only ones who are aware of the dire situation and are willing to do anything about it.

Join the 4 kids as they set off to save the whole town, maybe even the nation, as they face their fears by trying to break an evil curse and deal with some pretty sick zombies!

The genres are horror, sci-fi, and adventure. It's Medium pacing in the beginning, but soon becomes fast-paced in the middle and end. The 3 words I'd use to describe this book are: Nail-biting, Twisted, Fear-facing. I'd hand this book to kids 5th grade and up, maybe even some 4th graders, who love scary books, zombies, and The Walking Dead show.

The Zombie Chasers series by John Kloepfer, because they both have zombies in them.

Good Night, Zombie by James Preller, because both books present several kids who are being chased by zombies and Preller's book might even be a great suggestion for those kids who want to read zombie books, but are slightly younger.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
610 reviews176 followers
March 8, 2015
Originally reviewed at Books Take You Places

Cassidy was a wonderful main character, it was easy to love her and I can’t tell you how much I adore how real Dan Poblocki’s characters feel. Cassidy certainly doesn’t have it easy in New York, and I really felt for her and the way that she needs this escape to Joey’s house and family. Joey is dealing with some issues of his own, most importantly the loss of his dog, and the belief that his neighbor Ursula Chambers isn’t all that she seems. Joey’s next door neighbor, Ping, was incredibly refreshing and fun, I loved the way these three interacted with one another and stood together to face down the “bad things” in the neighborhood. Probably my favorite part of the novel was the addition of Hal and his antics, I enjoyed his character thoroughly.

It is no question that I am a big fan of Dan Poblocki, I love everything about the way in which he weaves a story, drawing the reader into the world and moment as his characters experience them. I love being scared, and Dan Poblocki’s novels give me just the perfect amount of moments where I am looking over my shoulder in anticipation. I think The Book of Bad Things is an absolutely perfect read for its intended audience, upon finishing, I fell back to the same hopes that he will write something for adults and soon!

The horror wasn’t too horrific, and I enjoyed the way Dan Poblocki weaves the character’s different personalities together to create a much deeper storyline. Though a tad less atmospheric than The Ghost of Graylock, The Book of Bad Things is a perfect read for this time of year, it has a great amount of mystery, zombies, and friendship. I cannot recommend Dan Poblocki enough.
Profile Image for Paula.
825 reviews4 followers
November 30, 2015
Soon-to-be-teen Cassidy is set to spend her second summer away from the noise and congestion of NYC with the Tremont family of Whitechapel, New Jersey. The trip is part of a program that sends at-risk urban youth to the suburbs to stay with a sponsor family. Upon her arrival, she discovers that all is not well in the community. For starters, Joey, the son who is her own age, is distant and somber. Cassidy thinks this is because he holds her responsible for his dog’s death last summer. She is also surprised to discover that Mrs. Chambers, the Tremont’s neighbor, has died. She meets Ping, a girl new to the neighborhood, who relates other creepy and mysterious events since Mrs. Chambers’ death. Cassidy writes about her feelings of these recent events in her titular journal. (The journal serves as her therapy when dealing with real or imagined fears and the issues that warrant her having a surrogate family for the summer.) Since Mrs. Chambers was a notorious hoarder, the neighbors begin ransacking and taking items from her house. It isn’t long before there are disturbing ghost sightings in the community, and some of the looting neighbors turn up dead and then mysteriously disappear. Cassidy, Ping, Joey and an older teen, Hal, band together to solve the mystery. There are plenty of horror elements: zombies, monsters, and other paranormal trappings. The story moves to a satisfying conclusion, and Cassidy is a believable hero. The title is perfect for middle school readers who demand “scary” stories.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 79 reviews

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