Edmonton author, Marty Chan’s new adventure novel is geared to a Gr. 6-9 audience. Because of her parents’ separation, Kristina Mah and her mother have had to move into a small apartment; Kristina has had to leave her friends, and start over at an old, dreary school in the inner city. Dylan is the only one who takes the time to talk to her, primarily because they are both able to “hear” the voice and see ghostly images that come from behind, or inside of, the SmartBoard. Loud banging seems to originate from the unused top floor that is storage for old desks and books. Teachers blame the sounds on the old heating ducts, but Kristina and Dylan think ghosts and decide to explore. Elements of fantasy are introduced when they enter what should be the fourth floor, but find themselves in a creepy vault, guarded by “the keeper”. They accidentally release a Goth-like, fire-loving djinn (In the Koran and Muslim tradition, a djinn is a spirit often capable of assuming human or animal form and exercising supernatural influence over people), and must find a way to recapture her before she sets more fires. This appears to be the first in a new series, Keepers of the Vault.
Fast-paced, with believable characters, supernatural elements, mystery and suspense, plus accessible language make this an easy read for competent readers and a good choice for reluctant readers.