Series: The Collector #1
Published by Scholastic Press on August 28, 2018
Josie always liked visiting her grandmother in the countryside.
But when her mother loses her job in the city and they're forced to relocate along with Josie's sister, Annie, she realizes she doesn't like the country that much.
Especially because Grandma Jeannie has some strange rules: Don't bring any dolls into the house. And never, ever go near the house in the woods behind their yard.
Soon though, Josie manages to make friends with the most popular girl in the sixth grade, Vanessa. When Vanessa eventually invites Josie back to her house to hang out, Josie doesn't question it.
Not even when Vanessa takes her into the woods, and down an old dirt road, toward the very house Grandma Jeannie had warned her about.
As Josie gets caught up in her illicit friendship with Vanessa, Annie is caught in the crossfire. What follows is a chilling tale of dark magic, friendship, and some verrrrrry creepy dolls.
This was a very quick read, with some of the chapters being only 1 page long which made it easy to get hooked. The story is simple just follow the rules and you will be fine, you know the 3 simple rules.
- Don’t open the windows at night
- Don’t bring any dolls into the house
- Never EVER go into the woods.
Simple right?! Welllllllllll, where would the story if not one or more of these rules were broken! Nowhere that is where!
Josie and Anna are being made to move from Chicago right into the sticks of nowhere. At school, no one wants to be Josie’s friend, until Vanessa! When Vanessa comes along it is like sunshine for Josie, she can have a real friend here, even though something feels slightly off with the most popular girl in the school. However, when she goes home at night, she can hear something in the woods! Something…terrifying. But if she follows the rules she will be ok, won’t she, I mean her Grandma is pretty clear isn’t she. But what is that! Anna and she has a DOLL!! I mean what will go wrong?
I will admit, this book didn’t scare me but the final sting in the tail did try to unnerve me. When we are first introduced to the dolls and they are all facing the walls, that did unsettle me. Not sure what is worse having the dolls look at me or not! Ok, second thought, definitely worse because now I can’t see what they are up to!!!
Plenty of nightmares to keep Josie up at night, and for some reason, they all lead her to one place. One place she doesn’t want to go to, the one place she is not allowed to go to, Vanessa’s house. The discovery of the dolls was a nice little twist, but thinking back to one scene where a doll is thrown out the window….well, now that haunts me!
Obviously, being a YA book, we can’t have too many scary details nor the blood and guts that normally come with a horror book, and it is not overtly long so we don’t have the detail. That detail may have made this story a whole lot scarier but I appreciate I am not the age bracket, by over a good 20 years, that they are aiming for. It was still a decent read for a couple of hours, plus had to turn the cover over as the mini one didn’t like the creepy doll. There is another book in the series which picks up 5 years later, and with the ending we were left with, I will read it because I want to know what is going to happen next! Although I don’t know if I want to see the dolls again, I mean I hope there are not any more!!
See you next time…or will I ?!
Now for a quick Q &A with the author, I asked him some questions about the book and these were his answers!
What was the inspiration behind The Collector and the dolls? (I mean what an idea!)
I was always scared of dolls as a kid. I still remember having to have my uncle turn my cousin’s dolls around or take them from the room when I would sleep over at their place. I was convinced they were watching and waiting to attack. I wanted to write something that captured that fear, and also answered the question: who would the dolls be working for??
What drew you into writing about creepy dolls?
This was my first foray into writing children’s horror, and I wanted to write something that I knew would scare me. Maybe because I wasn’t certain I could actually write something creepy (I’m glad I could!) And that topic was–hands down–dolls. They’re human but not, familiar but alien, comforting but also very, very scary.
Did anything terrifying happen when you wrote the books?
Ever since I’ve written the book, I seem to be attracting creepy dolls. When I go for walks I see them, sometimes behind windows, other times on the street. I’ve even seen some on the beach, and in the woods. Usually just a few doll pieces. Sometimes an entire doll. Always watching.
What did you edit out of The Collector? And does it appear in the Collected?
There was definitely a lot more magic in The Collector (since I normally write fantasy) and I’m very happy to say that yes–it appears in The Collected. We get a lot more time with magic. Especially doll magic…
Why do you love Josie and Anna? Why should the readers?
I love them for very different reasons! Josie is headstrong, but also a loner, and I’ve been in her shoes (the kid with no friends, the kid in a new school, the kid who just wanted to go home) whereas Anna is a lot more rambunctious and wild. I don’t want to give away too much, since The Collected is mostly about Anna, but she and her sister are polar opposites–especially when it comes to dealing with scary things and magic–and I can’t wait for readers to fall in love with both of them! Let’s just say Anna gets to play with powers that would scare the socks off her older sister, and it was so much fun to see how they both would handle that.
Well, it is official, I now need to read book 2 in the series! Thank you so much Alex for answering my questions, it has been an honour!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: