The Summoning


Title: The Summoning

Author: Kelley Armstrong

ISBN: 9780061450549

Publisher: Harper Collins Publisher

Copyright Date: 2009

Plot Summary:

Fifteen year old Chloe Saunders just wants to be normal, but that is difficult when you are haunted by freaky ghosts. An encounter with an especially nasty one lands Chloe in Lyle House, a home for disturbed teens.  While at Lyle House, Chloe meets a handful of teens with their own set of problems.  Derek has unusual strength and bursts of anger, his foster brother, Simon, has no apparent issues, but he arrived with Derek at Lyle House when their father disappeared.  Rae is a pyromaniac, Liz believes she has a poltergeist, and Tori is supposedly bi-polar.

After Chloe’s roommate, Liz, is mysteriously transferred, Chloe begins seeing her in the house.  Chloe, who has been diagnosed as a schizophrenic, begins to suspect that she is seeing Chloe’s ghost.   It soon becomes apparent that the other teens in the house are also hiding unexplainable abilities.  Before long, Chloe and her new friends begin planning their escape from Lyle House.  Chloe doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she has to get out of Lyle House before something truly terrible happens.

Critical Evaluation:

Armstrong is a popular author known primarily for her paranormal adult series, Women of the Otherworld. As an avid reader of this series, I was interested to see how well her style adapted to creating a series for young adults. I ended up being very impressed. For the most part, her writing style remains the same. She incorporates the same type of setting and characters. The characters are just younger.

The biggest adaptation she made was how she portrays romance. To make the book more appropriate for teens, she removes the element of smut that is often threaded throughout her adult books. The romance element in The Summoning is appropriately tame for the younger demographic.

I would highly recommend this book to young readers with an interest in paranormal subject matter and fans of this book will be happy to know that it is the first book in a series.

Reader’s Annotation: Chloe has a gift, but it sure doesn’t feel like a gift when it brings her nothing but trouble. Turns out it’s hard to fit in when you can see dead people.

About the Author:

“When librarians finally granted Kelley Armstrong an adult card, she made straight for the epic fantasy and horror shelves. She spent the rest of her childhood and teen years happily roaming fantastical and terrible worlds, and vowed that someday she’d write a story combining swords, sorcery, and the ravenous undead. That story began with the New York Times bestselling Sea of Shadows and continues with Empire of Night.

Armstrong’s first works for teens were the New York Times bestselling Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising trilogies. She lives in rural Ontario with her husband, three children, and far too many pets.”

Genre: Young adult, fantasy, paranormal

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Booktalking Ideas:

  • Describe Chloe’s first encounter with a ghost.
  • Describe the scene when Chloe first realizes her missing roommate is dead.

Reading Level/Interest Age: Grades 7-12, Ages 12-17

Challenge Issues: necromancy, witchcraft

Defense File:

From the Library Bill of Rights: “II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.”

Justification of Selection: This book is written by a well-known and popular supernatural fiction writer.


Harper Collins. (2015). Kelley Armstrong. Harper Collins Publishers. Retrieved from

The Summoning

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