Oooh, eerie pictures. I like!
So, Jacob Portman's grandfather is a kooky old man with weird pictures and weird stories to go with them. Much like my own grandfather, he's full of it. And a little paranoid. Jacob's grandfather, not mine.
But then one day Grandpa calls Jacob all in a tizzy and Jacob hurries over to his place because Grandpa wants his guns and someone has locked them up and thrown away the key. Well, Jacob gets there and Grandpa is AWOL. Jacob finally finds him in the woods behind his house where he whispers some cryptic nonsense about loops and birds and whatnot as he is dying.
Jacob becomes depressed as shit and starts seeing a therapist while trying to figure out what his grandfather's dying words mean. He ends up on a tiny little island looking for the house his grandfather stayed in for some time as a child, and where things aren't quite what they seem. Turns out old Grandpa wasn't quite so full of it after all.
I have to say, while I was reading this I was all, "ooh, ahh" with the pictures and whatnot, waiting for something really spooky to happen. And in the beginning it kinda was, with the mysterious creature in the woods and all, but then ... meh. I mean, the writing is good, the characters interesting, but it just didn't feel like the book ended up going where it promised. I so wanted to enjoy this more than I did. Which means nothing, really, because I'm currently reading book #2 anyway.
BTW: This is listed as a YA book, and I get it because Jacob is 15 and the children are all youngish and nothing super adult happens, but there are references to incest and whatnot that made me look around to make sure my 10 year-old wasn't looking over my shoulder. Because really, I'm not ready to have that conversation with him yet.
"Mommy, what's incest?"
Just no. And yes, I realize 10 is not necessarily the target age group for a YA novel, but he reads at a middle school or higher reading level, so this is possibly something he could be picking up.