Looking back on the experience, I realize that high school can be many different things for many different folks: insecurities, self-discovery, first love and psychic powers…hmm, there’s something off about that last one. However, that’s the case for Jonny Roberts, the protagonist of Alexander Lound’s supernatural young adult series. Full of spooky spirits and a mystery that needs solving, Lound crafts a fun and compelling origin story, The Spirit in the Crypt, and opens the door to a world where mediums work tirelessly to help people cross over after death. The algebra homework can wait, right?
The Spirit in the Crypt Summary
The Spirit in the Crypt follows 15 year-old Jonny Roberts on his ghostly journey of self-discovery. Jonny’s dealing with the sort of usual problems that a teen will: peer pressure, growing apart from your childhood friends, and dealing with a changing relationship with your parents. Things are trucking sling fairly normally, until one day while exploring the local cemetery, Jonny’s friends decide to toss him into the crypt against his will. A bit spooky sure, but the voice that he begins to hear at the same time? That’s the terrifying part.
But the black-hole in the crypt looked as if it would suck me up and never let me leave. I didn’t wan to go in there. Not at all.
At first, Jonny tries to ignore the incident, brushing it off. Despite the voice, and then despite the dreams, dreams of schoolmates who he’s never interacted with, disappearing with the ghost who chased him from the crypt. And then suddenly, those same students are falling into inexplicable comas – no one can figure out what’s wrong with them. Except for Jonny; he knows. Problem is, Jonny doesn’t understand how to fix things. Enter Aaron; a seemingly odd man who Jonny avoids at first, but who he soon realizes is the only person who can make sense of the strange occurrences, as well as letting Jonny know who he really is: a medium. With a little help along the way, Aaron and Jonny will need to work together in order to find the spirit stealing the souls of the children and stop them before anything worse can happen…
This was a refreshing read for me – a grounded protagonist who feels like a real teenager. He’s unsure of himself, gives in to certain peer pressures, and constantly asks questions. The story has a certain build to the reveal of Jonny’s abilities and pays off beautifully. Lound doesn’t skimp on keeping up the regular exchanges and pressures that come along with high school, even as the action picks up on the supernatural side of things.
One of my biggest takeaways from The Spirit in the Crypt was the character of Aaron and his relationship with Jonny. Many times, in literature or film, the character of a mentor is cold towards their young apprentice, unforgiving. I was pleasantly surprised when reading, and found Aaron to be a sympathetic and patient character. A young adult being helped to comprehend the changes happening to them make for a nice change in this literary relationship.
Jonny…I’m a medium. I can speak to dead people. And what’s more, I think you might be a medium too.
While the climax of The Spirit in the Crypt was lacking slightly for me (I like my spooky confrontations with more twists and turns), the story grabbed me from start to finish, with solid relationships and just enough adolescent romance thrown into the mix. Supernatural spookiness and teen drama are two things that this reader will never tire of.
The strong concept and well-written characters made this a fun and spooky read that was perfect for fall reading, as well as a strong start to this series. Fully Booked had the chance to reach out to author Alexander Lound for some additional insight into The Spirit in the Crypt; with a full Q&A. The second book in the Jonny Roberts series, The Burned House, is available to order now. This reader will certainly be picking up a copy, and I’m looking forward to more adventures from Jonny, Aaron, and any other spirits they may meet along the way.