This novella focusses on a ten year old boy and his school friends. The young love within this story is adorable. Time at school isn’t always happy though, as there are some nasty bullies (yes, I remember those too). There are also some creepy things taking place, such as The Witch of Hill Top Green, The Tooth Fairy with Blood-Red Wings, and the Ghost of Normandy Road. But how much of it is real, or just legend to scare the children?
The sense of creepiness within this story reminded me of a childhood memory. I was only a few years old, and was messing about in bed rather than sleeping, so my dad pretended to be Wee Willie Winkie, and used a long stick to knock on my upstairs bedroom window. My parents had told me about Wee Willie Winkie and used it to make sure I went to bed on time, so I was absolutely terrified by the knock on my window. I remember screaming, then crying my eyes out while sat in my bed. I can still picture my mum and dad appearing in the doorway of my bedroom to see what was going on. My dad didn’t admit to pretending to be Wee Willie Winkie for years. Needless to say, I didn’t mess around in bed after that night.
On a more positive note, I did have a much nicer tooth fairy than the one in this book. When I had 6 teeth taken out at the dentist when I was just 9 years old, I placed them under my pillow, but the following morning, I discovered a postage stamp sized letter from Fiona, the tooth fairy, explaining she was unable to carry all 6 teeth and would be back for the remaining 2 teeth the following night. I read that tiny letter for years after that, and feel a little sad that I lost it at some point.
I love a book that triggers childhood memories, especially the magical ones. This story certainly did that. There is an innocence running through this novel, but at the same time a somewhat harrowing undertone, which I think gave this story a great balance.
Overall, a very well written story with interesting characters. I found it very hard to put down, reading it until almost 3am, and dying to finish it later that day, once I had got some sleep and done my work.
As an adult I really enjoyed this novella. As a teenager I would have loved it. I loved the ending. I never saw that coming, and briefly sat stunned at what I had just read.
Although I didn’t find this scary, there are some descriptions that are graphic or violent enough for me to not necessarily recommend this to young readers. Great book for fans of young adult horror and dark fairy tales. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more in the Haunted Minds series.