‘Dead Air: The Kat Sinclair Files #1’ by Michelle Schusterman for middle grades

kat sinclari

Rating: 4 stars

“Dead Air” is the first novel in the new series by Michelle Schusterman, “The Kat Sinclair Files.” As might be expected from the name of the series, the protagonist in this clever story is Kat Sinclair. Her father is a talk-show host who needs a new job. At the beginning of the book, readers learn that his new job is with a reality ghost-hunting show called “Passport to Paranormal” in which the cast and crew travel to various “haunted” locations to find ghosts. Kat decides to travel with the show to be with her father while they investigate claims of ghosts all over the world.

Of course it’s all fake — or is it? Kat is ready to deal with anything that might come her way. She’s grown up watching the many vintage monster/ghost/zombie movies that her grandmother starred in. It takes a lot to scare Kat. But she’s also dealing with the fact that her mother has left Kat and her father to “pursue her career.” Her grandmother lives with Kat and her father, and a more ungrandmotherly-type character might be hard to find (she’s a great character). Of course, none of the characters are created with much depth except for Kat, but there are future books in which that might happen. And what Schusterman starts with makes many of them worthy of more detail.

Schusterman fills the story with everything that makes a story good. There are quirky characters, a fast-moving plot, spooky scenes, mysteries (are there really ghosts?), and family issues. There is a boy on the tour with them who is not what he first appears to be — and that might be a good thing. Kat learns a lot about life and matures over the course of this first book. Can’t wait to see what happens from here.

Four stars for this book that will hook readers!

Please note: This review was based on the final review copy provided by the publisher, Grosset & Dunlap, for review purposes.