Poltergeeks is the story of Julia Richardson, a teenage witch. It runs in the family, and while they aren’t part of a coven, Julia and her mother get by just fine by themselves. That is until, one day, Julia steps in to stop a poltergeist from terrorising one of her neighbours, and in doing so sets off a chain of events that not only lead to danger and tragedy, but also to discovery, and the reason behind her mother’s often strict rules on Julia and her use of magic.
Sean Cummings has taken a pretty straight forward – and often overdone – trope and shined it up real good, being rather clever, and working well on many levels. While this is a YA novel, it edges towards the older crowd, and with the main protagonist a 15 year old girl going through many life changing events because of her heritage, it’s nice to see them handled well. Julia is a headstrong young woman, and while at many points she goes through with plans that she really shouldn’t, they’re not done in haste. With her best friend, Marcus, at her side, Cummings allows their relationship to often carry the story without resorting to dragging it out. It’s quick and punchy, and does exceedingly well for it.
Julia and Marcus are, without a doubt, the highlight of the novel. The chemistry between them easily carries the story at a quick pace, entertaining you as the plot progresses. It’s nice to see them both as fully fleshed out characters, each with distinct personalities and quirks, and each complementing the other very well. The character depth doesn’t stop with the main protagonists, but carries on throughout the cast. Perhaps there were moments that could have been explored a little more, but the urgency of the plot allows these to be pushed to one side to be examined later on, and hopefully in future instalments.
One of the main points I was worried about would be the explanations of the use of magic. Rather than bore the reader with long and in-depth info-dumping and history, Cummings delivers everything you need to know within the story. It once again adds to the ease with which Poltergeeks can be read, and is very appealing to anyone not wanting to be bogged down with a slow-moving narrative.
In short, Poltergeeks is a quick, easy, and enjoyable read with characters that make the story. The plot is interesting and quirky, with surprises in store throughout. A recommended read.