The Whispering Fog

The Whispering Fog
Age Range
Release Date
September 13, 2022
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For twelve-year-old Neve, it's always been she and her older sister against the world, their lives entwined just like sisters in a fairy tale. So, if Rose loves tennis, Neve will play it too—even if secretly she'd rather be home turning cardboard boxes into offbeat art projects. Not even being moved to the piney woods outside Etters, South Carolina, can change what they are to each other—until a mysterious fog seems to swallow up Rose before Neve's eyes.  
Naturally, the adults don't believe that something supernatural is at play. So, with the help of Piper, a classmate with a tomato fixation; Sammy, a boy with memories of an otherworldly stranger; and a stray dog that seems to belong to the woods, Neve discovers that her sister has been taken by a swamp-dwelling witch with a terribly wicked plan. It will be up to Neve to save her sister. Otherwise, she'll be separated from Rose . . . forever

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Finding your own inner strength
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What worked:
Family dynamics is an underlying story as Rose and Neve try to adjust to their parents’ separation. The sisters are almost inseparable even though Neve is almost a year younger and their parents think they should become more independent. Ruby’s outspokenness balances Neve’s quiet while Neve is able to help Rose with schoolwork and nerves. However, the plot changes when Ruby begins to mature while Neve isn’t ready to face changes in her life, retreating to the boxes in her room. Neve is eventually forced to take control of her own life and reveal the strong young lady within.
The author establishes an eerie setting as the family’s rented house is located remotely out in the country, next to a lake, a forest, and a swamp. At first, it seems like a picturesque scene until Neve hears about girls who’ve gone missing near there, including a classmate named Piper’s sister two years ago. No one in town comes near their home and Piper’s family actually moved away from that area. Then there’s the fog. When it appears, it creeps among the trees and bushes with soft, muffled sounds, seeming to surround unwary visitors. The fog presents itself as an evil character. A mysterious boy adds to the creepiness as Neve sees him appear on the bus, at school, and among tree branches without much information that might reveal his identity.
The author allows the plot to slowly develop and lets the tension gradually grow within Neve’s character. She senses and notices things that bother her but the hint of an explanation isn’t shared until a brief chapter about a witch and her daughters. It reveals a deal made with dwarves that establishes a backdrop for the current problem of missing girls. Much of the early book deals with the changing dynamics between the two sisters and Neve’s struggles to adapt. All of her decisions are based on what Rose would do and she’s reluctant to think independently. She meets Piper and is confused by the girl’s obsession with tomatoes, which is explained later in the story. Neve finally becomes more assertive, with Piper’s help, when she realizes time is running out for her sister.
What didn’t work as well:
The slowly developing plot can also be viewed as a detriment as readers anxiously await new happenings. The character development is interesting but the meat of the story is the disappearance of Rose and the other girls.
The Final Verdict:
The strong bond between two sisters battling a witch’s curse will entertain young readers looking for a spooky story. Many of them will also identify with the struggles of growing up and changing family dynamics. I recommend you give it a shot.
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