The Headless Paperboy
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Goes well with: If you live in Maine, Howard Hopkins suggests Maine lobster rolls. Everyone else—tacos with dirty rice.
Pages: 104

Every year, around Halloween, exactly three kids disappear in the small town of New Salem, Maine. It’s also around the time the headless paperboy rides his bicycle, throwing flaming newspapers at any kid unlucky enough to get caught out near dark too close to the cemetery. New Salem legend says that it’s the ghost of a boy looking for a head to replace his own and doesn’t care whose it snatches.

October Williams moved to New Salem with his mother, and he’s none too happy about it, especially since it’s a thousand miles from his father and friends. Things take a turn for the worse when he’s chased by the headless paperboy and barely escapes with his head intact. To pile on more grief, he draws the attention of the school bully who wants to beat him up for sitting with his girlfriend—a tomboyish girl who likes to arm wrestle—on the bus. Now, October just wants to go home and get out of this weird, haunted town.

After a couple of days of school, a group of outcasts invite him to join the Nightmare Club—a small group of kids who try to solve mysterious hauntings. Finally he’s found a place to fit in, but if they don’t find the headless paperboy’s head and reunite it with the body, three kids will vanish forever, and one of them might lose their head before it’s all over.

Anyone who loves young adult novels with a creepy ghost-twist will enjoy The Headless Paperboy. The ghost story is wrapped around a mystery with a deplorable outcome that’ll make you wonder about one character’s sanity (all I could think was, that’s a serial killer in the making). Though it has its morbid moments, The Headless Paperboy is still a light and fun read, perfect for any reader under the age of 12.

Each character is unique and memorable from the bug-eyed nerd to the big dumb kid called Moose. I especially liked Allie Carpenter with her tough-minded attitude, determination to join the Nightmare Club whether they want her in it or not, and her humorous need to arm wrestle every boy she runs into. You’ll definitely want to spend time with these characters time and time again.

With breath-zapping action, an eerie atmosphere, and scalp-prickling scenes, The Headless Paperboy keeps you hanging on the edge right up to the end. So kick off your shoes, prop your feet on a table or desk, and enjoy this cool read while you eat lunch.

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