Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “School of the Dead” as Want to Read:
School of the Dead
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

School of the Dead

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  557 ratings  ·  121 reviews
From Newbery Medalist Avi comes the spine-tingling story of Tony Gilbert, who must solve a mystery surrounding the ghost of his uncle Charlie.

For most of Tony Gilbert’s life, he always thought of his uncle as “Weird Uncle Charlie.” That is, until Uncle Charlie moves in with Tony and his family. He’s still odd, of course—talking about spirits and other supernatural stuff—
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 21st 2016 by HarperCollins
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about School of the Dead, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about School of the Dead

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  557 ratings  ·  121 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of School of the Dead
Kris - My Novelesque Life
2016; HarperCollins
(Review Not on Blog)

I was really looking forward to finally reading a book by Avi, but I may have chosen the wrong book. I like fantasy and horror and was eager to read this novel after taking a look at the synopsis. I enjoyed the set up of the book but the story fell apart, for me anyway, was about when Tony is making new friends. I felt a bit let down with the way the story progressed. I will have to try another Avi book.

***I received an eARC from EDELWEISS***
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Avi's newest is engaging, truly mysterious, and kind of terrifying. I always love characters in children's books who are just KIDS, nothing fancy, and Tony - admittedly braver than most - is just a normal everyday kid in extraordinary circumstances. I saw the twist coming but I imagine the target audience will be properly surprised - and a little grossed out - but even though I was expecting it Avi does a great job of still keeping the reader on your toes regarding who to trust. I must say the ...more
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tony Gilbert's strange great Uncle Charlie moves in with the Gilbert family and Charlie develops a strong attachment to him. Uncle Charlie talks constantly about ghosts and spirits and the Penda School in San Francisco that he attended as a child. After Uncle Charlie's death, Tony's family moves to San Francisco. When Tony attends the Penda School, he sees a ghost in the window which leads him to discover other weird happenings at the school. Tony, his classmates, the faculty, and his parents ...more
Jul 31, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Cute and clever but definitely aimed at a middle-reader audience. For that age, I'd call this at least a 4-star book. For adults, it's charming but a bit thin.
Heather Adkins
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This eerie ghost story isn’t
about some happy-go-lucky haunting. These ghosts are creepy, and they don’t have
your best interests in mind. Don’t read this in the dark!
Holly Reynolds
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book, even though aimed at a middle school level, was creepy. It was a quick, suspenseful read.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
I feel like Avi just phoned this one in. The characters are so flat and their reactions to frightening situations is lame and unbelievable. Just didn't like it.
For kids who want a somewhat creepy but not really scary ghost story (5ht-6th grades)
I really did not enjoy this. I think it's partially a case of the audio highlighting problems with the text, including some repetitive writing. So many sentences that start with adverb phrases! There are also some strange details: Tony doesn't know who's calling him on his cell phone? How is that possible in 2016? My biggest issue, though, is the treatment of Tony's female classmates. (view spoiler) ...more
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book has a very cool, fun story line. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read something fun, a little scary, and really exciting.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Meh. I expected more from Avi. The storyline is intriguing (plenty of ghosts and a mysterious school) but the execution and writing aren't great, especially coming from a Newberry award winning author. I listened to the audiobook while exercising and started making myself stop and do 20 squats every time the narrator read the words "there was fear in her eyes." I had a sore butt by the end--someone had fear in their eyes every 30 seconds or so.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this book but I ended up enjoying it. It was a nice quick read. They consider this horror but since it's middle grade it wasn't scary. Which was nice. I'm not into scary books.
Pop Bop
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed

Avi's particular appeal to me is that he often manages to produce books that have sophisticated and mature content, but still work well for his middle grade audience. I think that's exactly what you get here. And this time out we're in ghosty/horror territory.

On the supernatural side we get ghosts, a hero in peril, people who need to be saved, a creepy old building, conspiracies, twists and turns that keep us guessing about whom to believe and whom to trust, and then a socko
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
A modern day ghost story with a twist a bit of creepiness. Tony was lucky to spend some fun time with his "weird" Uncle Charlie before he dies. After passing, Tony and his family move to San Francisco so Tony can attend Uncle Charlie's alma matter - The Penda School. The school is creepy and full of strange things, including sightings of dead Uncle Charlie. Tony meets Jessica - whom many do not like and as he figures out, many are scared of . As he sets out to solve the mystery of the school, ...more
Dale Safford
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was a little creepy, and didn't make me feel real good while reading it. I wouldn't want a young teen to immerse themselves in this kind of thinking. The ending is just too, too strange. For my first book by Newberry-award winning author Avi, I wasn't too impressed.

Tony Gilbert becomes very close to his Great Uncle Charlie, and when he dies Tony can't stop thinking about how he misses him. He and his parents move to California, where Tony can attend the Penda School where Uncle Charlie
Holy guacamole, I don't care how old you are, School of the Dead will have you hooked. I was not prepared for how intense this book was. I thought I knew what to expect from Avi, but I was wrong, I did not expect this.

To me, the best part of the book is that like the main character, Tony, you don't really know who is telling the truth. In this case, trusting the wrong people could prove deadly. I appreciated the books POV. It wouldn't have had the same feel if the narrator had been all knowing.
Mortisha Cassavetes
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2018
WoW! I just loved this book! What an amazingly unique story of ghosts! I just love ghosts and this middle grade book was awesome! I definitely need to get a physical copy of it for my shelf. The story follows young Tony Gilbert who's family took in his Uncle Charlie who was sick and needed care. Tony and Uncle Charlie became great friends until his death. Not long after Tony's family moved to Uncle Charlie's old home town and Tony was enrolled in the Penda School, Uncle Charlie's old school. Now ...more
Tom Never
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sometimes, somehow, happens within your hands a book that feels personal and that almost talks about you.

4.stars because it's engaging and mysterious. At one point i was expecting something but wishing for something else.

In most children novels or novels with children as main characters, these kids act way more mature than their age. Not the same with this book. It feels real.

Suggested to kids and adults(who like this genre or kids books) alike.
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book to read around Halloween, as that is when the climactic scenes take place. One of the things I liked best about this book was that it was hard for Tony to know whom to trust, students and adults. I could picture several places related to the setting of the book as well. There were a few things that seemed a bit repetitive, and I'll admit that after I was finished, I checked out the eBook to read a couple of parts.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Middle grade horror is very rarely actually frightening. I enjoyed the heavier-than-normal stakes the main character has to face, although the horror elements really felt more philosophical than actual.

I gave this one 3.5 stars because of the setting and the tone. While nowhere near on the quality of Poppy, this book tackles a genuinely terrifying subject: who do we trust, even among the people who are supposed to care for us?
Forever Reading
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I should have known that once I started reading this book, I wouldn’t be able to put it down. There are so many twists and turns that my interest never waned. At first, I thought I liked some characters, then I no longer liked them. I actually started liking other characters. Although I found the ending to be a fitting one, I would have liked a little more closure about the Penda boy. This book is a good read.
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
I picked up this book looking for a candidate for an October book club. I did not choose it as I felt this just lacked a little. The premise was great, but the story seemed to drag a little in parts and the characters didn't really feel fleshed out to me. I have read better Avi books and better spooky books for middle grade.
Cameron Colon
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristina Jean Lareau
An engaging ghost story with well-developed characters and a protagonist whose development over the course of the story is obvious and well-written. Takes are in San Fran with a family moved from CT. Themes of death, life, friendship, trust and betrayal add to the story's depth.
Donna Dobihal Smith
It was slow on the uptake for me, thus the 3 stars, but once things started to speed up, it was exciting and suspenseful. Kids will love it - both boys and girls.
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book because it was always keeping you on your toes. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes a good ghost story. I hope to read more AVI books in the future.
Natalya Kahmann
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Pretty good, but it had more potential. Still an enjoyable read.
Leanne Humphrey
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Pretty good—a twist on ghosts and a bit scary.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Avi rarely lets me down. I want to write books like Avi writes books.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Detective's Assistant
  • The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
  • The Mortification of Fovea Munson
  • Nightbooks
  • Fire Pony
  • The Young Man and the Sea
  • The Third Mushroom
  • The Ghost Road
  • All Four Stars (All Four Stars #1)
  • The Doll in the Garden
  • The Initiation (Lock and Key #1)
  • The Enormous Egg
  • Čas hrdinov
  • This Is All Your Fault, Cassie Parker
  • Ghost and Bone
  • Saturdays at Sea (Castle Glower, #5)
  • Out of the Wild Night
  • 24 Hours in Nowhere
See similar books…
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 popular among readers young and old.
“Nothing is quieter or has more secrets, I thought, than a book that's closed.” 2 likes
More quotes…