Mystic of the Midway: A Crystal Beach Caper by A. A. Blair explores trauma and offers strong hints of the supernatural. The story follows Effie, who is left feeling different after an accident. She knows something has changed in her and it gets worse during a family vacation when she starts hearing whispers, having strange dreams, and noticing a strange girl stalking her everywhere. She is unable to confront her. Seeking help from Jimmy, her brother, and her Crystal Beach friends, Sniff and Lydia, she expects to unravel the mystery. But can they solve the mystery or is Effie actually going crazy?
This is a beautiful story that stands out in its originality. The narrative voice is compelling and it feels just so natural. The prose is crisp and lyrical, sprinkled with descriptions that are detailed and that conjure strong imagery in the minds of readers. The protagonist is well-developed and a resonant character for young readers. Her humanity shines through the narrative and from the get-go, the reader is introduced to some of her habits. The premise is strong and it is expertly introduced. The author’s wonderful sense of setting is unmistakable in this engaging tale and Blair ensures that readers are on the ride alongside the characters, their sights filled with gorgeous aspects of the landscape, their senses piqued by the natural beauty captured in the story. Readers who have had experiences of the countryside will instantly connect to some of the compelling images in the narrative, like watching the countryside speed past: “farm, field, farm, field, field, field, and cows.”
Themes of family dynamics, trauma, supernatural intrigue, and self-awareness are skillfully written in this riveting tale. Mystic of the Midway is a superb brew of supernatural intrigue, a young girl’s experience of trauma, and the quest for the light amidst unusual phenomena. The characters are complex, the plot constantly surprising, and the reading experience is at turns disturbing, creepy, and hugely entertaining. A. A. Blair creates a beautiful tale suffused with humanity, realism and superior storytelling. The confident writing, the focused scenes, and the compelling characters got me turning the pages.