(Image from Barnes & Noble)
When Daniel's dad loses his job in Connecticut, the family must make a dramatic change. Moving to an old abandoned home in rural Woodville, West Virginia, results in profound culture shock, especially for Daniel and his 7-year-old sister, Erica. The city kids are picked on by the locals, who spin terrifying yarns about an evil conjure woman who lives in the woods near the home in which the Andersons are living. Fifty years ago, a young girl disappeared from their house—it's said she was "took" by Old Auntie, forced into slavery for the witch and her bloodthirsty razorback hog.
Daniel refuses to believe the tall tales, no matter how creepy they are. Then, he realizes just how strangely Erica has been acting since they moved to West Virginia. His parents are so wrapped up in their own drama that they haven't noticed anything, but Daniel has. And it's freaking him out. When Erica disappears one day, he knows she's been "took." How can Daniel get his sister back? And who is the ragged girl who appeared in her place? Can a puny 7th grader really take on a powerful conjure woman—and win? Daniel is about to find out ...
I'm not sure what to say about Took by Mary Downing Hahn except that it is an odd, odd book. I seriously can't think of any other way to describe it. It's creepy, yes, and compelling in a way. It's also unrelentingly sad and scary—too much so for its intended audience, in my opinion. I can't imagine handing Took to a child, even one who enjoys scary stories. It's not all that well-written either, considering the characters are flat and the prose is much more tell than show. I did finish reading the book as I wanted to find out what happened, but overall, I didn't find it a very satisfying read.
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for violence and scary images
To the FTC, with love: I borrowed a copy of Took from my children's elementary school library as part of my volunteer work with the school's reading program.