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Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite
In Dax Dugan and the Graveyard Gang by T.J. Braswell, Dax Dugan and his sister Callie find themselves moving to the country. Callie doesn't mind but Dax doesn't want to go. When they get to their new home, Dax quickly makes friends with Jamal, the boy who lives down the road. When Callie discovers an old cemetery in the backyard, Jamal tells them the stories that have circulated about the old graveyard. It doesn't take long for the trio to uncover the history of the cemetery, and that history will send them on a quest to return stolen items to the rightful owners, even if those owners happen to be dead! Can Dax Dugan and the Graveyard Gang find the lost treasures and get them to their rightful owners?
Great characters that are well developed and easy to relate to pulled me right into this story. After all, most of us have been right where Dax found himself, not wanting to move away and leave his old friends. I loved the positive family relationship that we see with Dax and his family, especially with his younger sister Callie. Sure, they don't always get along, but there is that sibling bond that one can't miss with this pair. Jackson, the family dog, adds a delightful element to the story. I could just imagine him being sprayed by a skunk or playing fetch in the cemetery. Jamal was a wise-cracking, often funny neighbor, and when the trio forms the Graveyard Gang we meet two other children in the neighborhood, Wiley and Maria. Each of these characters seem very realistic, making them easy to connect with. Ms. Braswell does a wonderful job of handling the topic of bullying, and of course the bully got his comeuppance in the end! While this story deals with ghosts it isn't overly scary; the author even provides a few moments that really tugged at my heart.
T.J. Braswell blends just the right amount of paranormal and eeriness to make for an interesting read, but keeps the story from being overly scary, making a great read for young and old alike. Dax Dugan and the Graveyard Gang is perfect for Halloween, but honestly it's a story that I would recommend for any time of the year. An easy to read story that is highly engaging, a good ghost story that isn't overly scary with several positive messages woven in make Dax Dugan and the Graveyard Gang one that will easily capture the imagination of young and old alike.