I received this book for free from Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Monsters In The Mist by Juliana BrandtMonsters In The Mist by Juliana Brandt
Published by Sourcebooks Young Readers, Sourcebooks on May 3, 2022
Genres: Middle Grade
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
Source: Advance Reader Copy
Buy on Amazon

When Glennon McCue moves into a lighthouse on a mysterious island not found on any maps, he must figure out why those who visit are never heard from again before he and his family fall victim to the island's curse.

When Glennon McCue_'s father takes an overseas position, Glennon finds himself relocated from Minneapolis to his Uncle's light house on Isle Philipeaux, smack dab in the middle of Lake Superior surrounded by nothing but black, ominous waters. The place is frightening and becomes even more so when a storm rocks the island and a ship wrecks outside the lighthouse. Even worse, the survivors are terrified to learn they've washed up on the phantom isle.

There are many stories about Isle Philipeaux; sailors wash ashore...and are never seen again.

Suddenly, Glennon finds himself in the middle of a real-life ghost story, and unless he can figure out the mystery of the island... he and his family will be lost forever, too.

I saw the publisher tweeting about this, and it looked perfect for my kiddo! She and I have been reading together every night, and if you saw my YA Month back in January, you’ll see her taste runs towards ghostly mysteries. Not scary, but definitely mysterious. This book sounded right up her alley. I immediately went over to Netgalley and requested it. Thankfully Sourcebooks approved me.

My daughter is 8, and I will say I wouldn’t recommend this for the under 10 age group. This book is intriguing, and exciting, and heart-poundingly intense. It also deals with some very heavy subject matter.

Glennon, his sister Lee, their mom, and the family cat Seamus, all pack up and move to Isle Philippeaux, and island on Lake Superior. They will stay with their uncle Job while their dad is in Brussels teaching. Their mom doesn’t like to be alone while their dad is gone, and he travels a lot. Someone else we see in bits and pieces, in the way they walk on eggshells, on the way they freeze at the sound of anger, is that their dad is abusive. He may not have ever hit them, but his words are his weapon of choice, and the kids each have their own trauma to deal with. However, this is the 1980s, and it wasn’t commonly talked about. So they join their uncle for a few months. The goal is to leave at Christmas and head home.

But someone has other plans.

The island is weird. Glennon feels it immediately, but he’s learned to doubt himself, so every time something feels off, he ignores it, tells himself he’s making things up. Tells himself, in his father’s voice, to be logical. One night, a violent crash resonates on the island, and his uncle, one of the lighthouse keepers, takes his lantern and heads out to investigate. Glennon goes with him, and sees a ship crashed on the shoals of Isle Philippeaux. They can’t do anything to help, since the fog has rolled in and the storm is violent, but a rope is tossed out and 3 people climb up to safety. However, something feels wrong to Glennon. He can’t put his finger on it, but something feels wrong. He convinces himself he’s being illogical and silly.

Until he realizes that his older sister is noticing too.

The two of them band together to try to figure out what exactly is happening on the isle, and they find a few people to help them, but not without cost. As they try to figure out what haunts the isle, they need to face what haunts them as well. No one leaves the island unscathed. For Glennon, he needs to face the fact that his father is not the hero he wants him to be. And until he can do that, his family won’t be safe.

Since this book hasn’t come out yet, I won’t spoil the mystery of this phantom island, but it’s an amazing twist, and I loved the way it was formed (the island and the plot). That being said, this subject matter was probably too advanced for my daughter, but we had some important conversations with it. I wish the author’s note was at the front of the book rather than the end.

I think I would like another book that takes place on the cold waters of Lake Superior, and her phantom island Isle Philippeaux. There’s a lot that could be done with that as a series. Bring it into the future, or even take it to the past. I hope one day we get to revisit this mysterious island. Full of rich descriptions, and vivid realism, even amongst the ghosts, Ms. Brandt has created an intriguing island and an even more intriguing cast of characters.

***ARC courtesy of Sourcebooks via Netgalley