The Trespassers


Book: The Trespassers

Author: Zilpha Keatley Snyder 

Publisher: Yearling, republished 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0385310550 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0385310552 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0440412779 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0440412773 Paperback

Related website(s): (author), (publisher)

Language level: 3

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 9 – 12

Rating: **** 4 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Category: Mystery

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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     Snyder, Zilpha Keatley.  The Trespassers (Published in 1995by ‎ Delacorte Press, New York City, NY  10036; republished in 1996 by Yearling Books, an imprint of Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House Inc., 1540 Broadway, New York City, NY  10036).  It is the summer after she finishes fifth grade, and Cornelia (Neely) Bradford, age eleven, lives near Carmel, CA, with her father John who owns the Sea Mist Motel, mother Connie, and eight-year-old brother Gregory (Grub), and is trying to entertain her little brother.  Her older siblings, Aaron, Julie, and Lucinda, are all gone from home.   Neely and Grub accidentally find a way to sneak into Halcyon House, a magnificent mansion nearby that was built in 1910 by wealthy businessman Harold Hutchinson but has been deserted for years, and inside discover a wonderful  playroom full of fabulous old-fashioned toys which becomes their secret hideaway.

    However, they hear rumors that the house is haunted by the ghost of a ten year old girl named Monica who died in the mansion.  Then relatives of the owner suddenly return to live at Halcyon House. Neely befriends their odd, troubled son Curtis Hutchinson, a boy her own age whose wild boasts and black moods make her uneasy.  He first accuses them of being trespassers and threatens to have them arrested but soon wants them to play with him.  Then Neely is warned by the housekeeper Carmen to protect her little brother.  From whom does he need protection, and why?  Is it possibly the ghost of Monica?  Or could there be a more present-day evil lurking in Halcyon House?

     In The Trespassers, author Zilpha Keatley Snyder, who won Newbery Honor Awards for The Witches of Worm (1973), The Headless Cupid (1972), and perhaps her most famous book The Egypt Game (1968), has created a Gothic type mystery young people with a truly suspenseful, haunting story line.  There are references to drinking wine and smoking cigarettes.  The phrase “for God’s sake” is found as an exclamation, and Curtis uses the “h” word a couple of times.  However, there is a deep abiding love between brother and sister and a protectiveness that shines through.  The School Library Journal said, “The Trespassers is a well-written alternative to mass-market thrillers, appropriate for youngsters who like to shiver–but not too much.”

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