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The Halloween Moon

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From New York Times bestselling adult author Joseph Fink comes a wickedly fun middle grade novel about a Halloween-obsessed girl named Esther Gold, who goes out trick-or-treating for one last year, only to find her town under the thrall of a mysterious presence. Esther Gold loves Halloween more than anything in the world. So she is determined to go trick-or-treating again t From New York Times bestselling adult author Joseph Fink comes a wickedly fun middle grade novel about a Halloween-obsessed girl named Esther Gold, who goes out trick-or-treating for one last year, only to find her town under the thrall of a mysterious presence. Esther Gold loves Halloween more than anything in the world. So she is determined to go trick-or-treating again this year despite the fact that her parents think she is officially too old. Esther has it all planned out, from her costume to her candy-collecting strategy. But when the night rolls around, something feels . . . off. No one is answering their door. The moon is an unnatural shade of orange. Strange children wander the streets, wearing creepy costumes that might not be costumes at all. And it seems like the only people besides Esther who are awake to see it all are her best friend, her school bully, and her grown-up next-door neighbor. Together, this unlikely crew must find a way to lift the curse that has been placed upon their small town before it’s too late. Because someone is out to make sure Halloween never comes to an end. And even Esther doesn’t want to be trapped in this night forever.  


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From New York Times bestselling adult author Joseph Fink comes a wickedly fun middle grade novel about a Halloween-obsessed girl named Esther Gold, who goes out trick-or-treating for one last year, only to find her town under the thrall of a mysterious presence. Esther Gold loves Halloween more than anything in the world. So she is determined to go trick-or-treating again t From New York Times bestselling adult author Joseph Fink comes a wickedly fun middle grade novel about a Halloween-obsessed girl named Esther Gold, who goes out trick-or-treating for one last year, only to find her town under the thrall of a mysterious presence. Esther Gold loves Halloween more than anything in the world. So she is determined to go trick-or-treating again this year despite the fact that her parents think she is officially too old. Esther has it all planned out, from her costume to her candy-collecting strategy. But when the night rolls around, something feels . . . off. No one is answering their door. The moon is an unnatural shade of orange. Strange children wander the streets, wearing creepy costumes that might not be costumes at all. And it seems like the only people besides Esther who are awake to see it all are her best friend, her school bully, and her grown-up next-door neighbor. Together, this unlikely crew must find a way to lift the curse that has been placed upon their small town before it’s too late. Because someone is out to make sure Halloween never comes to an end. And even Esther doesn’t want to be trapped in this night forever.  

30 review for The Halloween Moon

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    I received a copy from HarperCollins Children's Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Esther Gold’s favorite holiday is Halloween. She lives for it and spends a lot of her free time planning and perfecting the perfect Halloween costume every year. When Esther’s parents tell her that she’s too old to go trick-or-treating, she is devastated. Of course, Esther wouldn’t be Esther without Halloween, so she plans to go trick-or-treating one last time. Armed with her secret costume a I received a copy from HarperCollins Children's Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Esther Gold’s favorite holiday is Halloween. She lives for it and spends a lot of her free time planning and perfecting the perfect Halloween costume every year. When Esther’s parents tell her that she’s too old to go trick-or-treating, she is devastated. Of course, Esther wouldn’t be Esther without Halloween, so she plans to go trick-or-treating one last time. Armed with her secret costume and her best friend who hates the holiday, they sneak out together only to discover that the entire neighborhood has been put into a supernatural sleep. I picked up this book because it sounded right up my alley since Halloween is my favorite holiday. We follow Esther Gold as she prepares to sneakily go trick-or-treating one last time. Unfortunately for her, things don’t go as planned because her neighborhood is under a sleeping spell. The only people awake are Esther, her best friend, her longtime school bully, and her dentist neighbor. Together, they try to take on the Queen of Halloween and rescue the neighborhood from sleeping their way through the rest of their lives. One of the things that I liked about this book is that the characters are surprisingly complex. Esther is worried about growing up and holding onto trick-or-treating as the last piece of being a kid as enters her teenage years. Her best friend, Agustín, is battling with some abandonment issues as his mom spends long hours working with very little time to spend with him. Sasha, Esther’s bully, gets bullied herself and has been taking it out on Esther for years. Mr. Gabler is a former thief turned dentist trying to do good. I thought the supernatural aspect of it was interesting as well. We’ve got the Queen of Halloween using a rare orange moon to pause time and turn an innocent neighborhood into Halloween forever. There are her cronies driving around town and the kids she collects and their fate with her. Plus, there’s the black cats that are the Queen of Halloween’s sworn enemies. I wish there was more information on the supernatural aspects of the story, but I’m not surprised that this isn’t something that’s further explored since it’s a book written for middle schoolers. All in all, I enjoyed this story and I think I would’ve enjoyed it a lot if this is something that was published when I was in middle school myself.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Thoughts: The Halloween Queen has frozen time in Esther’s small town and it’s up to her and a few friends to break the curse. The premise of this was really creepy and perfect for Goosebumps fans, young and old alike, but Fink tried to do a little too much within these pages. I appreciated the thought he put into the diversity of the characters and the progress of Esther’s coming-of-age story, however, it definitely detracted from reaching peak horror. ​Being chased through town by a guy throwin Thoughts: The Halloween Queen has frozen time in Esther’s small town and it’s up to her and a few friends to break the curse. The premise of this was really creepy and perfect for Goosebumps fans, young and old alike, but Fink tried to do a little too much within these pages. I appreciated the thought he put into the diversity of the characters and the progress of Esther’s coming-of-age story, however, it definitely detracted from reaching peak horror. ​Being chased through town by a guy throwing razor blade-filled apples was quite creepy but there was so much other stuff going on it was hard to determine whether or not there was actually any threat. Verdict: I’m not actually sure if this would have just been better suited to the targeted age group, but either way, it was still a thrilling little Halloween in July sort of tale. In a nutshell, GIF style: I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Grabs

    I love Halloween. I love middle-grade books. I really wanted to love this book... but I didn't. I found it a slog to get through and few of the characters caught me and made me care. The parents are simply jerks, the tropes too common, and there wasn't much to make this Halloween book stand out among the others I have read. Thank you NetGalley and Quill Tree Books for the opportunity to read an advance reading copy. I love Halloween. I love middle-grade books. I really wanted to love this book... but I didn't. I found it a slog to get through and few of the characters caught me and made me care. The parents are simply jerks, the tropes too common, and there wasn't much to make this Halloween book stand out among the others I have read. Thank you NetGalley and Quill Tree Books for the opportunity to read an advance reading copy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    Is it possible to love Halloween too much? That’s the question plaguing protagonist Esther Gold, an 8th grader desperately clinging to childhood holiday traditions in this sweet, fun middle grade novel. Fans of Welcome to Nightvale will recognize flashes of Joseph Fink’s signature wacky and tamely creepy humor in this one, as well as his unique breed of world building. For those who love atmospheric creepiness, this one isn’t quite on par with Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces, which I consider the Is it possible to love Halloween too much? That’s the question plaguing protagonist Esther Gold, an 8th grader desperately clinging to childhood holiday traditions in this sweet, fun middle grade novel. Fans of Welcome to Nightvale will recognize flashes of Joseph Fink’s signature wacky and tamely creepy humor in this one, as well as his unique breed of world building. For those who love atmospheric creepiness, this one isn’t quite on par with Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces, which I consider the gold standard for that quality in books for this age group. But it’s close, and is sure to delight the same readers who enjoyed Arden’s book. I didn’t love the over-sentimental climax to this book, but the lesson is a decent one and I love the found friendship aspect of the storyline. Charming, funny, and a little bit spooky, this one is a cant miss Halloween read that’s fun for kids and adults alike. *I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    "Esther Gold loved Halloween. Maybe you love Halloween. Maybe you dress up every year and put a lot of time and care into your costume. Maybe you watch scary movies and then can't sleep but also can't resist watching more. Maybe candy corn tastes better to you than other candy not because it tastes better (it doesn't) but because it tastes like a moment in time, like a season. But you don't love Halloween the way Esther did..." When the twisted mind behind the podcasts Welcome to Night Vale and A "Esther Gold loved Halloween. Maybe you love Halloween. Maybe you dress up every year and put a lot of time and care into your costume. Maybe you watch scary movies and then can't sleep but also can't resist watching more. Maybe candy corn tastes better to you than other candy not because it tastes better (it doesn't) but because it tastes like a moment in time, like a season. But you don't love Halloween the way Esther did..." When the twisted mind behind the podcasts Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn't Dead decides to write a middle grade horror story set during Halloween, you just know it is going to be good. This coming of age story follows Esther Gold, a young girl who is (rightly) obsessed with Halloween and all things spooky. Esther is gearing up for her favorite night of the year when her parents drop a bomb on her. They think thirteen year old Esther is too old to go trick or treating. Undeterred, Esther hatches a plan to go trick or treating with her reluctant and Halloween-adverse friend, Agustín. But this Halloween is different, because in Esther's sleepy California suburb, a sinister presence is lurking. Days before Halloween, Esther begins to notice children in her neighborhood running around wearing dirty and old Halloween costumes, their faces seemingly blurred and always out of focus. Creepy delivery men in ice cream trucks taunt her and her family when they park in her neighborhood. And when Esther and Agustín return to the Gold house, only to find Esther's parents unconscious and her little sister missing, they begin to suspect something is very wrong. Unable to find any adults besides the terrifying delivery men, unable to contact 911 for help, and left to their own devices, Esther must rely on her encyclopedic knowledge of Halloween to set things right. 'The Halloween Moon' is the perfect new Halloween tale for kids and adults alike. I'm already confident in calling it a new classic and one of those books that you will see annually on seasonal title lists. Those familiar with Fink's writing might think this story will be too scary for kiddos, but it walks a fine line of being just creepy enough for young readers and still engaging for grown-ups. Highly recommend. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Rivera

    Oh man this was so much fun. I really love Halloween and this was a really good read. So Esther Gold just turned 13 and she loves everything about Halloween but her parents think she is too old now to trick or treat and tell her that she can’t go out that last year was her final year but she objects to that. So she devises a plan with her best friend Agustin who hates Halloween that she will go with him to the movies when in actuality they will go trick or treating. It works and as they head out Oh man this was so much fun. I really love Halloween and this was a really good read. So Esther Gold just turned 13 and she loves everything about Halloween but her parents think she is too old now to trick or treat and tell her that she can’t go out that last year was her final year but she objects to that. So she devises a plan with her best friend Agustin who hates Halloween that she will go with him to the movies when in actuality they will go trick or treating. It works and as they head out they notice that fewer and fewer houses are answering the door and it’s really early still and there are hardly any kids out trick or treating. They find everyone asleep and her little sister is missing so with the help of her Nemesis Sasha Min who brother is missing as well and there next door neighbor who is the only adult not asleep they try to figure out what is going on. This was a really interesting concept and I loved that they ended up in the realm of Halloween because the Queen of Halloween was ticked off about how short her day was and wanted to make a section of earth Halloween forever. The ending was really good and it was all about how change is good and not something to be scared of. Thanks to Harper Collins Children’s Books and Netgalley for the complimentary copy of this book in e-book form. All opinions in this review are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    i cried bro

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This spooky and quick little read made me excited for Halloween. Definitely a YA novel but still fun and definitely easy to get through.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cmeiss330

    A creepy, fun and quick read for anyone who loves Halloween.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Guillas

    The spooky halloween atmosphere really got me at first but the once the plot got going it really ran out of steam. The character relationships weren't compelling for me and the lessons were really blunt. The spooky halloween atmosphere really got me at first but the once the plot got going it really ran out of steam. The character relationships weren't compelling for me and the lessons were really blunt.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Julia Pika

    Thanks to NetGalley & HarperCollins Children's Books for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review. DNF at 20%, sadly. Ester loves Halloween...until one Halloween, weird and unusual things are happening in her town. Yeah, I love Halloween too but I couldn't get past the writing style. Ester was supposed to be a 13-year-old but sounded like a 50-year-old. Her dialogue and thoughts weren't really akin to a kid and I found it a bit unrealistic. She also felt robotic at times, just repeating Thanks to NetGalley & HarperCollins Children's Books for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review. DNF at 20%, sadly. Ester loves Halloween...until one Halloween, weird and unusual things are happening in her town. Yeah, I love Halloween too but I couldn't get past the writing style. Ester was supposed to be a 13-year-old but sounded like a 50-year-old. Her dialogue and thoughts weren't really akin to a kid and I found it a bit unrealistic. She also felt robotic at times, just repeating what the author says with no...flair behind it, I guess? I also thought it was stupid the parents were like "No, you're not allowed to go Trick-or-Treating this year because you're an adult at 13." What kinda dumb parents say that stuff? She has a younger sister (3 years old) she could've taken trick-or-treating, I took my younger cousins trick-or-treating even as a teen because you do it to encourage their fun. Very nitpicky and I'm sorry about that but these parents were ridiculous! I didn't get far enough to get to the actual spooky/supernatural parts, unfortunately so I have no commentary on that.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Pleasant enough MG, but not quite as well executed as Fink's adult novels. My biggest problem, I think, is that Esther feels less like a 13-year-old and more like an author mouthpiece. But overall, this is likely an enjoyable, if not overly memorable, read for Halloween-loving kids. Pleasant enough MG, but not quite as well executed as Fink's adult novels. My biggest problem, I think, is that Esther feels less like a 13-year-old and more like an author mouthpiece. But overall, this is likely an enjoyable, if not overly memorable, read for Halloween-loving kids.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Wood

    "Yes, Esther Gold loved Halloween. But one year, Halloween was not a holiday about getting together to pretend a scary story. One year, the scary story became real." Esther lives for Halloween. She only watches scary movies. She just turned 13, and her bat mitzvah was Halloween themed. She makes three costumes each year - one for school, one for trick or treating, and the third in case one of the others doesn't come out the way she'd like. But this year, her parents want her to stop trick or trea "Yes, Esther Gold loved Halloween. But one year, Halloween was not a holiday about getting together to pretend a scary story. One year, the scary story became real." Esther lives for Halloween. She only watches scary movies. She just turned 13, and her bat mitzvah was Halloween themed. She makes three costumes each year - one for school, one for trick or treating, and the third in case one of the others doesn't come out the way she'd like. But this year, her parents want her to stop trick or treating. They say she's not a kid anymore, and suggest that instead she could hand out candy, or maybe join her best friend Agustín in going to a movie with his mom, their annual tradition. Although this is some of the only quality time Agustín gets with his mom, who's very occupied with her gravestone engraving business, he eventually caves and agrees to Esther's plan - if they ask, he'll tell Esther's parents that the three of them are going to a movie, but he'll actually join her in trick or treating. But something is strange this year. The day before Halloween, Esther starts to see things around the neighborhood that she hasn't seen before. There are two trucks driving around - like ice cream trucks, but one seems to sell apples, and the other pumpkins, playing discordant and sad music. Then there are the trick or treaters. They seem to be younger kids, but they're wandering around by themselves, a day early, in costumes that are filthy and torn. Esther can't make out their faces, even when they should be well lit. And on Halloween, it becomes obvious something is wrong. A couple folks answer their doors, but soon their knocks remain unanswered, even at houses that are decorated and have their lights on. Esther and Agustín start seeing fewer and fewer other kids on the street, until it seems like it's just them. When they make a discovery and try to call 911, even 911 doesn't answer. What has happened this Halloween, and how can it be reversed? The writing style here will be familiar to fans of Fink's other writings and podcasts, though I would say less surreal or comedic. Esther is dealing with not only the mystery of this Halloween, but accepting the changes she has to go through as she gets older - moving into high school, giving up childhood traditions, exploring her feelings for Gus. I ended the story with questions on why a couple of things happened the way they did, but nothing too important. There's some satisfyingly unresolved mystery even at the end. There's a lot of adventure and I would say light spook, but nothing too scary. I would recommend this for fans of The House in Poplar Wood or The Graveyard Book. Thank you to HarperCollins and NetGalley for the eARC. The Halloween Moon was published 27 July 2021.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Esther Gold loves Halloween so much that even her bat mitzvah was Halloween themed, and now that she is thirteen, her parents have informed her that she is too old to go out trick-or-treating. She is crushed; she isn't wild about the candy but loves the costumes and the traditions of the holiday. To circumvent her parents unreasonable dictum, she tells them that she and her friend Agustín are going to a movie, and they tell her not to wake them up when she comes i E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Esther Gold loves Halloween so much that even her bat mitzvah was Halloween themed, and now that she is thirteen, her parents have informed her that she is too old to go out trick-or-treating. She is crushed; she isn't wild about the candy but loves the costumes and the traditions of the holiday. To circumvent her parents unreasonable dictum, she tells them that she and her friend Agustín are going to a movie, and they tell her not to wake them up when she comes in! There are all manner of strange things going on in the town, and when the adults all seem to be falling asleep, including their parents, Esther and Agustín, along with classmate Sasha, seek the help of Mr. Gabler, who seems to be unaffected. He always gives out toothpaste because of his occupation, but proves again and again that he "wasn't always a dentist" by using un-dentistlike skills! There's also the creepy Dan Appel, the strange robbery at an illegal art collection, and a terrifying plunge into the "Halloween dream". Will Esther and Agustín be able to wake up everyone in their town? Strengths: There are not as many Halloween books for middle grade as there could be, especially since 8th grade is usually the last time kids get to go out trick or treating. Banning a tween from going out is quite the punishment, and readers will sympathize with Esther plight. Agustín is a good friend, and Sasha starts off as someone with whom Esther doesn't get along, but the two eventually warm to each other and mend misunderstandings. Mr. Gabler was definitely my favorite character, and it was interesting why he didn't fall asleep. The Halloween queen is not someone I would want to meet late at night under a full moon! Weaknesses: It took me a while to figure out why the writing style wasn't working for me, but I think it was the detached tone and the fact that there was more description and conversation than action. It also was a bit annoying that the main character was usually referred to as her entire name. What I really think: This wasn't quite as scary as my students seem to want, and the writing style was a bit odd, so I think I will pass on purchase. Ms. Yingling

  15. 4 out of 5

    Megan Manosh (acota)

    2 1/2 stars I really really wanted to love this book, I love Alice isn't dead and I adore night vale (both the books and the podcast) but this one fell flat to me. I'm a huge fan of middle grade horror and when I saw that joseph fink had written one about Halloween I picked it up without a thought knowing that I would probably love it like I do all his other work, I wish I was right. what I liked I love the concept of this book, I love the creepy dream world and the creepy trick or treaters and the 2 1/2 stars I really really wanted to love this book, I love Alice isn't dead and I adore night vale (both the books and the podcast) but this one fell flat to me. I'm a huge fan of middle grade horror and when I saw that joseph fink had written one about Halloween I picked it up without a thought knowing that I would probably love it like I do all his other work, I wish I was right. what I liked I love the concept of this book, I love the creepy dream world and the creepy trick or treaters and the creepy apple and pumpkin ice cream trucks (which reminded me a little of the midnight ice cream truck stories). I loved the concept of a dark figure stealing a object and making it Halloween night forever. also I love that her neighbor was a thief turned dentist. like what? i just thought that was really interesting. what I didn't like The way the main character was written, she just didn't feel organic to me it felt almost like the author had a story in mind and wanted to convey a certain message and he let that over take the character. I didn't really understand her parents reasoning on why she couldn't go trick or treating when they knew how much she loved Halloween, telling her last minute that she couldn't go just felt wrong and more like a plot device then anything. The relationship between her and the other characters felt a little awkward to me to, including the relationship between her and her best friend, I just wanted to see them being best friends without all the awkwardness. Overall this book was okay but I don't think I would recommend it to anyone.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    This is a fun, wonderful book. I was surprised to discover that this book is so much more than a Halloween mystery. It had a great message about change and growing up which makes it perfect for middle schoolers who are at that awkward age between wanting to grow up and wishing they could stay a kid. It also addressed the issue of kids being bullied because of their race and religion. There were parts of this story that were very cleverly written. I found it rather slow in the beginning, but it p This is a fun, wonderful book. I was surprised to discover that this book is so much more than a Halloween mystery. It had a great message about change and growing up which makes it perfect for middle schoolers who are at that awkward age between wanting to grow up and wishing they could stay a kid. It also addressed the issue of kids being bullied because of their race and religion. There were parts of this story that were very cleverly written. I found it rather slow in the beginning, but it picked up. There were a parts that made me laugh. It was a very sweet story but at the same time, an adventure and maybe a bit “little kid type scary”, but not really. It reminded me of those cute Halloween Town movies my kids used to love to watch when they were young. I love all of the complex, well written characters, especially Mr. Gabler, (who wasn’t always a dentist, you know! LOL) I loved how much Agustín cared for and understood his mom. I liked the relationship between the siblings. It was a good book and I recommend it to middle schoolers, especially those who love Halloween, or who are just having trouble with the notion of growing up. Thank you Net Galley and HarperCollins Children’s BooksQuill Tree Books for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review. #NetGalley #TheHalloweenMoon

  17. 5 out of 5

    agata

    There's nothing Esther Gold loves more than Halloween; she spends 364 days a year dreaming about it and planning her costumes. When one year her parents tell her she can't go trick-or-treating anymore, Esther is devastated. She swiftly pulls herself together, and with the help of her best friend, Agustín, she comes up with a scheme so that she can celebrate her favorite holiday the way she wants to. But when they discover that their entire neighborhood is stuck in a strange dream, they quickly r There's nothing Esther Gold loves more than Halloween; she spends 364 days a year dreaming about it and planning her costumes. When one year her parents tell her she can't go trick-or-treating anymore, Esther is devastated. She swiftly pulls herself together, and with the help of her best friend, Agustín, she comes up with a scheme so that she can celebrate her favorite holiday the way she wants to. But when they discover that their entire neighborhood is stuck in a strange dream, they quickly realize that this year, Halloween truly is special. I don't read middle-grade books often, but I wanted to give this one a try thanks to its author, Joseph Fink. And, of course, my whole-hearted love for Halloween. It was a fun, quick read, with complex characters (crushes! frenemies! a dentist neighbor who wasn't always a dentist, you know!) and a truly spooky plot. I really enjoyed the coming of age, scared-of-the-future-and-change element, and I thought it was well executed. The one thing I didn't like was Esther's parents' parenting style (you know that your child absolutely adores Halloween and you tell her completely out of the blue, the day before Halloween, that she can't go trick-or-treating anymore? Feels kinda mean to me), but overall this was a truly entertaining story.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. Kenyon

    Esther may be 13 years old, but she knows in her heart that she is not too old to trick or treat. Her parents think otherwise and so Esther has come up with a plan to trick or treat anyway. This year everything is weird. No one is there to pass out candy and even the moon looks different, more like a pumpkin. The few people Esther finds are asleep, except her best friend, her arch-nemesis from school, and the local dentist. These four people may be all that separates their neighborhood from an i Esther may be 13 years old, but she knows in her heart that she is not too old to trick or treat. Her parents think otherwise and so Esther has come up with a plan to trick or treat anyway. This year everything is weird. No one is there to pass out candy and even the moon looks different, more like a pumpkin. The few people Esther finds are asleep, except her best friend, her arch-nemesis from school, and the local dentist. These four people may be all that separates their neighborhood from an infinite curse. The Halloween Moon is a stand-alone middle grades mystery that was fun to explore even though I am an adult. Readers will learn that these characters are more than what they seem when introduced and as a bond forms during the hardship, they learn more about themselves and each other. Fink has developed a storyline that was easy to fall into and Free’s narration made me glad I was listening to the audiobook. I truly wanted to know how the book was going to end, so I was happy to listen to Free tell the story while I continued to work around the house. The Halloween Moon is a great read and you don’t need to wait for the fall holiday to enjoy it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book took me my surprise a number of times! I wasn't expecting it to get so real, honestly. I was expecting a wacky magical adventure (which it delightfully was!) but it unexpectedly also focused on familial loss, growing up, and facing your fears in ways that I just didn't see coming. Esther was a very spunky and relatable character. She really seemed to embody what growing up means without being horribly obvi I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book took me my surprise a number of times! I wasn't expecting it to get so real, honestly. I was expecting a wacky magical adventure (which it delightfully was!) but it unexpectedly also focused on familial loss, growing up, and facing your fears in ways that I just didn't see coming. Esther was a very spunky and relatable character. She really seemed to embody what growing up means without being horribly obvious about it. I loved watching her change throughout the book and finding her courage to face her fears. This book is about and is written for a younger audience with a mature tone. This wasn't at all a bad thing and I think I would have really loved it if I read it as a middle schooler. The Halloween hijinks were equal parts spooky and hilarious. Overall this was a very enjoyable read and, while I've never read any of Fink's adult fiction (yet), I'd definitely read more of this children's fiction! Rtc.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sean Whatshisface

    This is a cute middle-grade/young YA book about coming to terms with growing up, moving forward, and the changes that involves. It's a great book for tweens, as it covers a lot of the difficult experiences that this age range faces -- still being young and wanting to hold onto aspect of childhood, but also recognizing that aging is part of life, and with it comes letting go of the past. The writing is stellar, with engaging imagery and spooky villains. I enjoyed just how spooky some of the scene This is a cute middle-grade/young YA book about coming to terms with growing up, moving forward, and the changes that involves. It's a great book for tweens, as it covers a lot of the difficult experiences that this age range faces -- still being young and wanting to hold onto aspect of childhood, but also recognizing that aging is part of life, and with it comes letting go of the past. The writing is stellar, with engaging imagery and spooky villains. I enjoyed just how spooky some of the scenes could get -- very much in the vein of Gaiman's Coraline. However, I did feel the pacing was a bit off at times, and some of the narrative points got repeated more than necessary (at least for an adult reader -- perhaps that's something important for younger readers?). Either way, I would recommend this book to younger readers who enjoy a little spookiness in their stories. Spooky factor is about on par with Goosebumps (but there are some sharp objects thrown at characters -- no one gets hurt -- so keep that in mind).

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cari Allen

    Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins for a digital copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review. As a huge fan of Joseph Fink and the mother of a 6th Grader, I was thrilled to read his first middle grade book for children. Esther Gold is a 13 year old who loves Halloween. On her *possibly*last year trick or treating, strange things are afoot in her neighborhood. The adults all fall asleep, little siblings go missing, and two strange ice cream trucks are roaming the streets with questiona Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins for a digital copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review. As a huge fan of Joseph Fink and the mother of a 6th Grader, I was thrilled to read his first middle grade book for children. Esther Gold is a 13 year old who loves Halloween. On her *possibly*last year trick or treating, strange things are afoot in her neighborhood. The adults all fall asleep, little siblings go missing, and two strange ice cream trucks are roaming the streets with questionable drivers, It is up to Esther, her best friend, her middle school bully, and a local dentist to figure out what is going on and to save the day. This book was definitely enjoyable and well written, although I was slightly disappointed that it didn’t have the same delightful weirdness that I had grown to love in his other works. Fans of Neil Gaiman and Catherynne Valente will certainly devour this book and I definitely recommend it for any kids who love Halloween as much as Esther.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris Lemmerman

    Esther Gold loves Halloween, but even she isn't prepared for a Halloween that lasts forever. With her best friend, her worst enemy, and a strange neighbour at her side, she must fight a supernatural being to save her entire neighbourhood from an endless Halloween night. I very much enjoyed this. I'm definitely not the target audience, but I still had a lot of fun with Esther's unique point of view, and the insane little club of characters that she gathered around herself as the story went on. Fin Esther Gold loves Halloween, but even she isn't prepared for a Halloween that lasts forever. With her best friend, her worst enemy, and a strange neighbour at her side, she must fight a supernatural being to save her entire neighbourhood from an endless Halloween night. I very much enjoyed this. I'm definitely not the target audience, but I still had a lot of fun with Esther's unique point of view, and the insane little club of characters that she gathered around herself as the story went on. Fink introduces concepts and then never really elaborates on them, which would usually irritate me, but given that the story's from a younger perspective the idea of not only accepting that things are weird but getting them to work for you is kind of neat. The overall conclusion and the moral of the story can be a little ham-fisted, but it works, and there's enough potential here for a sequel or similar story set in the same world given the unanswered questions that linger.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    A tight, well-paced scary story about a girl who becomes trapped in an eternal night of Halloween. Esther Gold loves Halloween, and when her parents forbid her from trick-or-treating on grounds that at 13, she is now too old, she convinces her best friend Augustín to sneak out with her. All is not as they expect, however, as all the adults in town seems to have fallen asleep and the children are missing. Esther and Augustín team up with Sasha, Esther's nemesis, and Mr. Gabler, her seemingly bori A tight, well-paced scary story about a girl who becomes trapped in an eternal night of Halloween. Esther Gold loves Halloween, and when her parents forbid her from trick-or-treating on grounds that at 13, she is now too old, she convinces her best friend Augustín to sneak out with her. All is not as they expect, however, as all the adults in town seems to have fallen asleep and the children are missing. Esther and Augustín team up with Sasha, Esther's nemesis, and Mr. Gabler, her seemingly boring next-door neighbor, to try to defeat the Queen of Halloween, who has stopped time in the town so she and her terrifying minions can enjoy the height of her power, Halloween night, forever. At once an unsettling and action-packed horror story and a heartfelt tale of accepting the realities of changing and growing older, this scary story full of high stakes and beautiful language offers both chills and insight into the human condition.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kara Sofilka

    I received an eARC from @netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book. I’m not totally sure why though! I obviously requested this because I love Welcome to Nightvale. And this was just as strange as Nightvale is (which is wonderful!). Esther Gold loves Halloween. Like LOVES Halloween. Her bat mitzvah was Halloween themed. But this year, her parents decide she’s too old for trick or treating. This does not sit well with Esther, and like any teen she decides to sneak out to go tri I received an eARC from @netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book. I’m not totally sure why though! I obviously requested this because I love Welcome to Nightvale. And this was just as strange as Nightvale is (which is wonderful!). Esther Gold loves Halloween. Like LOVES Halloween. Her bat mitzvah was Halloween themed. But this year, her parents decide she’s too old for trick or treating. This does not sit well with Esther, and like any teen she decides to sneak out to go trick or treating. Chaos ensues when we meet the Queen of Halloween and it’s a race against time and change for Esther and her friends to escape a permanent Halloween dream. The writing was great. Character development was perfect for a MG novel. The story moved at an appropriate pace. The ending was a little hokey, but overall this was a great eerie story!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    Middle grade kids will enjoy this story! It's a fun, quick read. As for the parents telling their daughter she's too old to "trick or treat" I regularly give treats to teens and young parents out with their littles! Hey, why not! It's the spirit of the season to me! I know other adults who offer dad's out with their kiddos a beer! My then 21 year old daughter escorted a young friend around the neighborhood (years ago) and had quite a bit of fun- my daughter was under 5' tall, the 11 year old was Middle grade kids will enjoy this story! It's a fun, quick read. As for the parents telling their daughter she's too old to "trick or treat" I regularly give treats to teens and young parents out with their littles! Hey, why not! It's the spirit of the season to me! I know other adults who offer dad's out with their kiddos a beer! My then 21 year old daughter escorted a young friend around the neighborhood (years ago) and had quite a bit of fun- my daughter was under 5' tall, the 11 year old was 5'5''. Guess who kept getting called out as too old to be trick or treating?! Adults always had a good laugh about the "trick" and gave my daughter and her little friend MORE candy for the laugh! It's just right for a October read! Not Stephen King scary, but fun scary! I received a Kindle arc from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Children for an advanced digital copy. This was such a delightful read. As a ghoul who has a love for Halloween, this book is a great way to push my love of the holiday on my students. The story moves along quickly and doesn’t drag. I do think that there could have been a few more “creepy” moments but I still enjoyed the story. Reading this book in March, I didn’t think the atmosphere of Halloween would resonate as much as it would have if I read it in Oc Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Children for an advanced digital copy. This was such a delightful read. As a ghoul who has a love for Halloween, this book is a great way to push my love of the holiday on my students. The story moves along quickly and doesn’t drag. I do think that there could have been a few more “creepy” moments but I still enjoyed the story. Reading this book in March, I didn’t think the atmosphere of Halloween would resonate as much as it would have if I read it in October. However, I was completely and utterly wrong. This book exudes Halloween and brought me right back to October. I might even read it to my students when it gets closer to Halloween because I enjoyed the story that much and feel like kids will as well. Side note: The cover is BREATHTAKING. I would frame this cover and display it in my house.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Pankau

    Esther Gold loves Halloween, and looks forward to it every year. Now that she’s thirteen, however, her parents feel she’s too old to trick-or-treat. With the help of her friend Agustin, she sneaks out to trick-or-treat anyway, but there is something wrong with the neighborhood. No one is answering their doors, only creepy kids are on the sidewalks, and there are two unsettling treat trucks haunting the streets. They must work together with anyone they can find to figure out why this night doesn’ Esther Gold loves Halloween, and looks forward to it every year. Now that she’s thirteen, however, her parents feel she’s too old to trick-or-treat. With the help of her friend Agustin, she sneaks out to trick-or-treat anyway, but there is something wrong with the neighborhood. No one is answering their doors, only creepy kids are on the sidewalks, and there are two unsettling treat trucks haunting the streets. They must work together with anyone they can find to figure out why this night doesn’t seem to end and stop whoever or whatever is behind it. This was an OK mid-grade book. It’s creepy, and the characters are interesting, and there are some good lessons about not being a bully and learning to be OK with change. But overall it just comes off as OK.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    This was a delightful middle-grade book with a wee bit of creepiness and a lot of strangeness. Esther absolutely loves Halloween and is totally looking forward to a night of trick-or-treating but is sorely disappointed when her parents inform her that she's too old. Stealthy Esther makes plans to go trick or treating anyway behind her parent's backs with her best friend Agustin. Their Halloween night turns out to be a weird one when the Queen of Halloween makes her appearance with her evil minio This was a delightful middle-grade book with a wee bit of creepiness and a lot of strangeness. Esther absolutely loves Halloween and is totally looking forward to a night of trick-or-treating but is sorely disappointed when her parents inform her that she's too old. Stealthy Esther makes plans to go trick or treating anyway behind her parent's backs with her best friend Agustin. Their Halloween night turns out to be a weird one when the Queen of Halloween makes her appearance with her evil minion of trick or treaters and enforcers. What makes this even more fun is that this book is from the mind of Joseph Fink who is the co-author of Welcome to Night Vale and you can see some of that weirdness creeping in on the edges of this very fun story.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rhoda

    3.5, rounding up. Hmmmm. Not sure how to put my feelings into words on this one. Loved it up until the moment I realized the lesson it's trying to teach readers. Didactic fiction isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'm not a fan of stories that tell children, especially young girls, they have to leave magic behind them when they grow up. Good writing, effectively scary, but ultimately just made me want to read "Every Heart A Doorway" again. Also, for any parents reading this, telling your kid they' 3.5, rounding up. Hmmmm. Not sure how to put my feelings into words on this one. Loved it up until the moment I realized the lesson it's trying to teach readers. Didactic fiction isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'm not a fan of stories that tell children, especially young girls, they have to leave magic behind them when they grow up. Good writing, effectively scary, but ultimately just made me want to read "Every Heart A Doorway" again. Also, for any parents reading this, telling your kid they're too old for Trick or Treating is eventually a conversation you'll have to have, but may I suggest doing that LITERALLY ANY OTHER TIME than the night before Halloween? Good lord. That was unnecessarily cruel and I don't know if this book understands that.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    2.75ish. I just couldn’t really get into this story for some reason. The dialogue was forced and awkward, and the premise didn’t creep me out at all (although, to be fair this is a Middle Grade so it really shouldn’t be overly scary.) And like I’ve said in other reviews, I don’t like plots with a lot of dreaming or dreams involved. I don’t know why - I just don’t. Personal preference, I guess. There were a couple enjoyable moments, but for the most part I just wanted to push on so I could finish 2.75ish. I just couldn’t really get into this story for some reason. The dialogue was forced and awkward, and the premise didn’t creep me out at all (although, to be fair this is a Middle Grade so it really shouldn’t be overly scary.) And like I’ve said in other reviews, I don’t like plots with a lot of dreaming or dreams involved. I don’t know why - I just don’t. Personal preference, I guess. There were a couple enjoyable moments, but for the most part I just wanted to push on so I could finish it quickly. (Also, this was apparently set in SoCal and for the life of me I could not picture the setting even though I live here 🤷🏼‍♀️).

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