Book Title & Alexandra's Review

The Phantom Tower by Keir Graff

I had trouble deciding if this book should count as an October horror read. But since it involves ghosts and a curse, I chose to include it.

Middle School


Colm and Mal are twins so identical their own mom can’t tell them apart, but they’re different in just about every other way. Mal’s a pragmatist while Colm’s a dreamer, and they bicker and battle constantly. Neither brother is excited to be moving to Chicago for a fresh start with their mom just after their dad’s death. But nothing cures homesickness like intrigue and their new home, Brunhild Tower, has plenty of it: mysterious elderly neighbors who warn against wandering the building at midday, strange sounds in the walls, and an elevator missing a button for the thirteenth floor.
One day, that button appears and when the doors open on the missing floor, the boys are greeted by the strangest puzzle yet: a twin building that is stuck in time and bustling with activity. All of Brunhild Tower’s former residents live on in this phantom tower, where the rules of the real world don’t apply. But when the brothers and their newfound friends discover they’re all trapped by an ancient curse, they must band together to set everyone free before it’s too late.


Yet another story about kids with a dead parent. Except in this story’s case, the father’s death plays more of a part than just a conflict the protagonist has to grow from and learn to live with.


If you didn’t catch on from reading the summary, Colm and Mal’s name is the name Malcolm split in half. Their mom actually calls them Malcolm to save time when she’s yelling at them. Splitting one name into two names for identical twins is definitely more original than rhyming names.


If you’ve ever been in a building with an elevator with more than 15 floors, you’ve probably noticed that the number 13 isn’t included on the button panel. The reason behind this is that 13 is considered an unlucky number so instead of using the number they skip it and go right to 14. There’s still technically a 13th floor, it’s just called the 14th floor. The idea of a hidden phantom world that can only be accessed by pressing the 13th floor button that only appears for one hour a day is genius. If you want to know how the phantom tower exist and why it exists in the first place, you’ll have to read the book.


I didn’t like how Colm and Mal were constantly punching and fighting with each other. I don’t know much about growing up with a sibling since my sister is sixteen years older than me but I’m pretty sure most siblings aren’t this brutal towards each other.


Small note, Minecraft is referenced many times throughout the story. It’s like this book was sponsored by Minecraft. I guess it sort of tied in with the story, but it still just seemed weird.


This weeks’ Weird but True Facts about Minecraft

By the year 2015, nearly 19 million people worldwide played Minecraft.

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