The Bellwoods Game by Celia Krampien is about a young girl named Bailee who decides to play a game with her classmates, but things expectedly start going wrong. The residents of Fall Hollow know that the town is haunted, especially after Abigail Snook went into the woods in 1982, and was never seen again. People assume that Abigail is the one haunting the town and its residents, at least according to the legend.
It’s been tradition since Abigail's disappearance for the sixth graders at Beckett Elementary to play the Bellwoods Game on Halloween Night. On this current year’s fateful night, three players are picked to go into the woods. To win, one of the players would need to ring the bell before they all get caught by Abigail. If the players win, the town is saved for another year. If the spirit catches you, you will need a “gift” to guarantee safe passage out of the woods and the spirit is given free reign to cause havoc on the town if no one rings the bell. No one knows for sure if the tale is true, as previous players are sworn to secrecy about the game.
Bailee is excited that it is finally her year to play the game. Bailee loves reading and writing horror stories and is obsessed with finding out the truth. Legend has it that the winner of the game is granted one wish. Bailee is determined to win because she wants things to go back to the way they were before her grandmother got sick and her friends started hating her. Her friends believed that she ratted them out to the principal about a dangerous stunt, causing the entire class to get detention. She once was surrounded by so many friends but now with most of her friends ignoring her, she feels lonely. As the game participants get ready to play the game, strange things start to happen. Is the local legend true or is someone playing a prank on them?
The book is geared towards young readers and has fun illustrations that added to my enjoyment of the novel. It was a quick read that had some scary and spooky elements that might be scary to some young readers, but I thought it was okay as an adult reader. It reminded me of the works of R.L Stine, with the creepy and scary factor but nothing that I was terrified or lost sleep over. The plot moved at the perfect pace to set the creepy mood and move the story along. I was a bit confused by the ending, I believe the author left it a bit open for more books and I would be open to reading more. If you or your young reader love mild horror books, then you will enjoy this book!