If you loved Vera Strange’s first Disney Chills book, Part of Your Nightmare, then you will love her newest book Fiends on the Other Side.
SYNOPSIS: Twelve-year-old Jamal has always lived in his twin brother, Malik's, shadow. All he wants in the world is to know, just for one day, what it's like to be his more popular, more talented, and more confident brother. So when a mysterious man named Dr. Facilier appears and offers Jamal the opportunity to do just that, Jamal jumps at the chance. But when he wakes up the next morning to find his dream has come true, he learns it comes at a terrible cost. There's a reason people say “Never make a deal with the Shadow Man.” And Jamal is about to find out why.
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Review: Disney Chills: Fiends on the Other Side Will Have You Watching Your Own Shadow
Be careful what you wish for. Especially if those dreams are being fulfilled by a smooth-talking witch doctor. Twelve-year-old Jamal’s grim encounter with the terrifying Dr. Facilier makes for the perfect book to pick-up ahead of Halloween.
Fiends on the Other Side was a nostalgic read for me, reminding me of a childhood spent reading scary stories by nightlight from series like R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps or Dan Greenburg’s The Zack Files.
Jamal makes for an endearing protagonist. He’s a middle schooler living in New Orleans, perpetually trapped in the shadow of his older-by-five-minutes brother, Malik. He feels invisible at school, except to the bullies who torment him and the quirky new girl Riley.
Unlike most Disney stories, you will not find a happily ever after in Strange’s story. Fiends on the Other Side is a cautionary tale about the risks of playing with dark magic — something that Jamal and his brother learn the hard way.
Strange is skillful at crafting the world around Jamal; she writes New Orleans with beignets you can taste, gumbo you can smell, and a heat you can feel.
Disney Chills is a series aimed at middle-school readers, but any Disney lover will find themselves at home with this chilling tale. Strange’s fast-paced, easy-to-read style might even entice the most resistant non-reader in your household to see what’s on the other side.
Beware of the shadows.
Fiends on the Other Side hits shelves everywhere on October 6th. The third installment of Strange’s series, Second Star to the Fright, arrives January 5, 2021.