“A suspenseful, fast-paced and fun read with a dash of Bollywood tadka set in the heart of Mumbai! What’s not to love about this book.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
A wealth of horror influences are obvious – creepy voices and messages for someone else on a shiny new iPhone, Saira’s first ever smart phone, visions that seem to be straight out of The Shining, effects from the Halloween Movies and a corpse’s ear discovered in a blood spattered Mumbai apartment.
This is a horror story one might say and not a children’s book and under other circumstances it might be. However, Saira Zariwala is a teen with a history of anxiety issues – the typical horror story neurosis challenged heroine and whatever happens is seen from her viewpoint set against the context of besties, parents and homework. Ultimately, of course, these all take a backseat as MInawalla ups the creep quotient heightened by effects borrowed from everyone’s favourite horror films. All the bad things one expects happens with a villain who apparently adores Police numbers, especially suggestive ones like Every Move You Make and a knife wielding slasher who lurks in the shadows.
Minawalla has her characters down pat – Saira’s teen angst and her lack of self confidence, her bossy friend Tia, the nerdy Kartik and the cast of school teachers who are there to add stress to everyday life with difficult assignments that have to be thought through in the middle of the holidays. The reality of teen life and love of social media set against Madame Tussaud’s Chamber of Horrors with Whatsapp graphics on the cover to highlight the context even further and catch the eye. Perhaps the pace isn’t poised enough to be truly Stephen King but Minawalla crafts a book that will make the reader’s flesh creep enough for comfort.
Added 14th May 2021