Select one of the keywords
The Shrunken Head: Curiosity House    by Lauren Oliver & H. C. Chester order for
Shrunken Head
by Lauren Oliver
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Lauren Oliver is known for her compelling YA novels, and her middle grade endeavor with H. C. Chester is just as well done. The first Curiosity House novel, The Shrunken Head, is a fun, fast-paced mystery with just the right mix of credible science fiction and fantasy.

Thomas, Pippa, and Sam have spent the majority of their young lives as performers at Dumfrey's Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders. Thomas can contort into small spaces, Pippa can sort of read people's minds, and Sam has amazing strength. Their trio quickly becomes a quartet when Max, who can throw knives with stunning accuracy, arrives at their door. Around the same time Max joins the act, Mr. Dumfrey also acquires a shrunken head.

Unfortunately, with the death of an audience member after its first appearance, a journalist decides to spin the head as cursed. Soon, people involved with the shrunken head all over New York are dying in mysterious ways. The kids decide they need to figure out why, because Mr. Dumfrey is quickly losing business and an overbearing lady is threatening to take them away. Little do they know that their own history is behind everything.

The Shrunken Head is an incredibly fun read. The action never slows and they suspense builds to an exciting climax, reminding me of classic middle grade mysteries. The four children are also very well fleshed out, and supporting cast members are true characters, adding another dimension of delight.

The Shrunken Head is the perfect middle grade novel. Lauren Olive and H. C. Chester have created a feel of timelessness that will make this a great read for years to come. With the revelation at the end, I cannot wait to see what happens next to the four youngsters of Curiosity House.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Teens books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews