The Screaming Staircase

By Jonathan Stroud,

Book cover of The Screaming Staircase

Book description


A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren't exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have…

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Why read it?

7 authors picked The Screaming Staircase as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Imagine a contemporary fantasy, driven by sword-wielding, swashbuckling, mystically empowered, ghostbusting teenagers. Yup. That is the cool twist in Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co. Series.

He’s best known for the Bartimaeus Trilogy, and takes all of his fantasy worldbuilding craft to design a modern world where ghosts are not only real but common and quite deadly to us living folk. You will fall in love with Lockwood and Lucy, sense the tension between them, and yet be relieved to discover that their connection isn’t the predictable stuff of typical teen romance.

The remarkable ghosts are similar to fantasy races. Rather…

I grew up devouring Sherlock Holmes stories, especially spooky adventures like The Hound of the Baskervilles, so when I stumbled upon a series about modern-day London mysteriously overrun by deadly ghosts, I was intrigued.

When I learned that the adults used children, who alone could see the manifestations, to defend them from this supernatural threat, I was hooked.

Sharp wit, compelling plot twists, complex characters, decadent descriptions, and paranormal scares form this wildly entertaining series that was recently adapted by Netflix.

This is a brilliant book, introducing the fantastic trio of solid characters who make up Lockwood’s paranormal investigations team. Stroud’s writing style is so easy to read that I fall effortlessly through his books, this one included, barely noticing that I’m holding a paperback in my hands. The story is every bit as captivating as a gripping whodunit, with twists you certainly don’t see coming. First rate!

From B J's list on young adult crossover mystery.

Imagination + adventure! This series is for older readers, as it can be quite scary, but I just love it. You might think you’ve read every possible twist on the ghost story, but then he comes up with a totally fresh concept. Stroud develops wonderfully unique characters in his books, too. I also loved the Bartimaeus series, and I just finished (and loved) his latest, The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne.

The most important element of urban fantasy is its worldbuilding. The best of the genre creates a city that’s not only familiar but feels even better than the real thing, the kind of place a young reader wishes they could live. Well, Jonathan Stroud is about as good at worldbuilding as it gets. Here he infuses modern London with a problem—or, rather, The Problem—the dead just won’t stay dead, in a series that’s tense and creepy, but also filled with his signature wit and humour. 

The first book in the Lockwood & Co. series ties together everything I love—action, supernatural peril, humor, and characters that you’ll wish you knew in real life. The world-building in Stroud’s novels is breathtaking—sumptuous, imaginative, and truly immersive. The Lockwood & Co. series has been every bit as influential to me as an author as its more well-known cousins, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. If I had to pick one favorite middle-grade series, Lockwood & Co. would be it. 

From Rob's list on middle-grade readers will love.

This is the first book in the 5-book Lockwood and Co. series and an introduction into a wholly original world. It takes ghost hunting in a new direction and is brilliantly written. I go back every few years and read the entire series over just to bathe in the glory of how perfect it is. The characters are multi-dimensional, they become your friends, you want to hang out with them and be a part of their spooky adventures. This series inspired me and influenced me in too many ways to count. The way Stroud plays with convention, turning a ghost…

From David's list on spooky middle grade books.

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