Reviewed by Natalie Tsang for TeensReadToo.com
Paul Marlowe's SPOREVILLE is a mysterious piece of historical fiction. It takes place in late 19th century Canada, but also has hints of fantasy and science fiction. The main character is a very logical and scientific fifteen-year-old named Elliot Graven.
Leaving a good medical practice in Kingston for Spohrville is one of the several odd things Dr. Graven has done since Elliot's mother died in a ship crash a year before. At first glance, Spohrville seems like a small sleepy fishing town, but almost immediately Elliot realizes that the town is just too weird to be normal. First of all, there is Paisley DeLoup (Loup is the French word for wolf), a girl who lives just outside the town, and has abnormally sharp canines and great night vision. She also believes in ghosts and sÃ©ances. She reveals that the previous doctor had died under mysterious circumstances. Later, he goes to the yearly Eel Fair where there are prizes for Eel Bobbing and Eel Nibbling. To make things even worse, his watch gets stolen.
However, Elliot begins making connections between Spohrville's listless inhabitants, strange accidents, and the alarming number of fresh graves. When Elliot catches his father sleepwalking with the rest of the town, he knows that something sinister must be afoot. Together with Paisley and a shipbuilder's son, Denis Ludlow, they begin investigating and discover that their suspicions were very well-founded. In fact, they may now know too much to live.
SPOREVILLE is an unusual book. I don't think I've read many things like it and it has a lot of neat medical facts and information. Not all the questions raised in SPOREVILLE are answered and Paul Marlowe leaves plenty of room for a sequel, if not a series. A fun read!