Beware the Gingerbread House, by Emily Rodda

I reminded myself that whatever stupid thing I’d felt when I first visited the Gingerbread House, it was only a cake shop, after all.Even if it was done up to look like something out of a fairytale. And I told myself that Hazel Sweet, the owner, was just an ordinary woman.
It wasn’t her fault that her nose was long and hooked. Or that her chin was sharp and jutted out. It didn’t matter that she always wore black. Or that when she smiled, as she did all the time, her big teeth glittered, but her pale eyes seemed to stay as still and cold as river stones.

Sunny never says no to a new job, but when the Teenpower gang is asked to work for the Gingerbread House, a cake shop in the local shopping centre, Sunny doesn’t want anything to do with it. She can’t explain her horror at the thought of working there, but the place and its owner give her the creeps. But without Sunny the group can’t take the job, so she finds herself convinced to join them, working as bunnies and handing out leaflets in the mall.

Sunny’s feeling that there is something wrong won’t go away. Out in the mall she sees strange comings and goings involving a local crook known as The Wolf, and in the store itself it seems someone is out to do some damage. It seems that, yet again, the Teen Power gang is in for more than they bargained for.

Beware the Gingerbread House is the fifth title in Emily Rodda’s Raven Hill Mysteries series. This title is told through the eyes of Sunny, one of the six teens who make up Teenpower Inc, a group of teens who combine to take on job opportunitites for pocket money. Other titles in the series are told by other members of the gang – a touch which makes each book different and also allows readers to gradually build rapport with the various characters.

Beware the Gingerbead House is recommended for readers aged 10 to 14.

Beware the Gingerbead House, by Emily Rodda
Scholastic, 2004, first published 1994.