The Hollow Boy by Jonathan StroudThe Hollow Boy (Lockwood & Co. #3) by Jonathan Stroud

Sadly, this book is the last in the trilogy. It is a ghost story that takes place in London (it’s not historic London, it feels present day, but the time period is never mentioned). Anthony Lockwood is a teen who is the owner in Lockwood & Co. (a ghost-hunting agency) with muffin-eating bookworm George (who is always a wonderful comic relief), and tomboy cranky yet loveable Lucy, who is our main character and narrator. If you listen to the audio book it is WONDERFUL because the same narrator does all three books and each character’s individual personality pops out. (As well as the delicious London accents and slang. “aye ‘it em whiff wha?”)

In this, the latest book, the trio start out at a haunted inn where the owners are actually serial killers and lock people in their inn overnight until the ghosts kill them. Upon completion of this project, Lucy is tired and goes on a short vacation to see her family and relax a bit. Her family annoys her and she decides to return early because she misses what she feels like is her real family, Lockwood and George, and her crush on Lockwood is ever increasing. Lucy returns with hot buns and coffee in dismay to see that George and Lockwood have just hired a new person, Holly Munro, a very good looking and very polished and very perfect girl whom George and Lockwood seem enamored with. (Holly is described as “annoyingly perky and hyper-efficient.”) Lucy is enraged and jealous, and that affects her relationship with the boys and her ability to hunt ghosts.

There is even more psychical science as Lucy hones her unique ability to converse with type III ghosts and sees the potential danger it may cause to her and her company. We get introduced to even more types of ghosts, most prominently the poltergeist here. And London has a new outbreak, The Chelsea Outbreak, where an entire district is cordoned off and filled with ghosts and all the preppy high-profile ghost chasing companies that are failing as always and condescending as always.

As George researches this intriguing outbreak, Lockwood & Co. shockingly pairs with Kipps’s squad to solve the mystery and rescue London from the ghostly epidemic. This is definitely the scariest of the three books. For a kid’s book, I didn’t think it would get scarier, but it was magnificently chilling. Lucy’s role in the plot is almost prophesized by our favorite talking skull.

Can you tell this is one of my favorite series?

Readalikes: Mary Downing Hahn, Betty Ren Wright, Vivian Vandevelde, Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Auxier