The Keeper

by Guadalupe García McCall (Author)

The Keeper
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

Inspired by a terrifying true story, acclaimed author Guadalupe Garcia McCall creates a twisty tale about a boy desperately trying to survive in a new town with a secret past.

James always knew moving from Texas to Oregon was going to be horrible.. But no sooner have he and his family arrived in their perfect new home in their perfect new town than he starts getting mysterious letters from someone called the Keeper. Someone who claims to be watching him. Someone who is looking for "young blood." James and his sister, Ava, are obviously in danger. But the problem with having a history of playing practical jokes is that no one believes James--not even his parents. Now James and Ava need to figure out who is sending the letters before they become the next victims in their neighborhood's long history of missing children. Because one thing is clear: Uncovering the truth about the Keeper is the only thing that will keep them alive.

Kirkus Reviews

Part new-kid-in-town coming-of-age story, part supernatural thriller, with a slow start and a mostly satisfying end. (Horror. 8-12).


Hand this creepy tale to fans of Kate Alice Marshall’s Thirteens.

Publishers Weekly

A move from Texas to suburban Oregon strains the close-knit relationship between Mexican American narrator James McNichols, 12, and sister Ava, 10. The transition is made even harder by the recent death of the siblings' beloved abuelita, and the hard edge that's crept into their ongoing prank war. Though the family is welcomed by new neighbors and encouraged to join the white community, ominous letters that reference an upcoming lunar event soon arrive addressed to James from "The Keeper," warning that the boy must somehow prove his worth to keep his household safe. Already suffering from self-doubt in his new surroundings, the tween wonders if this is a deliberate attempt to make the family feel like outsiders, or if something otherworldly is afoot. James and Ava, establishing a temporary truce, race to uncover the frightening mystery of their new town. García McCall's (All the Stars Denied) warmhearted tale of sibling courage interweaves moments of genuine horror with touching scenes of familial tenderness that help buoy this mystery through a meandering start to a tidy and satisfying end. Ages 8-12. Agent: Andrea Cascardi, Transatlantic Literary. (Jan.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
February 20, 2022
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, 12/01/21

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