The Goonies Anniversary Celebration brings Seattle tween Morgan to Astoria, Oregon, for a fun weekend with her younger Astoria cousins, Sean and Ronan. The Anniversary festivities are in full swing at this historic riverfront town, plus the boys have just entered a spooky contest inspired by the movie. When the boys ask Morgan to help them win the grand prize, she’s determined to make their Anniversary Celebration weekend together the most memorable ever!
But there’s something really peculiar about the bed-and-breakfast where Morgan, almost thirteen, and her mom are staying. When an even more outlandish girl at the B&B asks the three to go on a cryptic quest on her behalf—a scavenger hunt that could help the boys win the contest—Morgan and her cousins begin a rollicking visit to Astoria’s most famous sites. Yet as the eerie hunt kicks into high gear, they discover a mysterious boy is following them all over town.
With the stranger in hot pursuit, the kids realize that the secrets and legends of old Astoria may be haunting them. Will Morgan, Sean and Ronan be able to escape from the powerful forces of the past? Or will they remain trapped in a world of shadows and dangerous secrets?
If you'd like to see more of this family-friendly chapter book, here's Chapter 1!
The Skeleton in the Floor
The human skeleton dangled from an invisible cord beneath a clear floor panel, light from the nearby fireplace flickering on the top of its skull. Shivering, Morgan tore her eyes from the creepy hole at her feet. “Guys! Come see this!” She stepped around a sign on a metal stand that said, Proud Sponsor of “The Goonies” Anniversary Celebration, and waved at her cousins, sitting at a table at the Smuggler’s Hole Café.
“I’m drawing,” said Sean without looking up.
Ronan slid from his chair, scooting over to join Morgan. “What’s going on?”
“Look at that!”
Ronan peered into the dim pit, covered with a hard plastic square. “You don’t think the skeleton is real, do you?”
“It’s fake, of course.” Morgan tried to sound casual, though her heart beat faster. After that strange Halloween she’d had back in the fifth grade, she knew that even unbelievable things can happen to you—and it can be awfully hard to figure out what’s true and what’s made up. “I mean, what kind of restaurant would have a human skeleton in a hole, except as a joke?”
Ronan stepped onto the plastic panel and jumped on it. “Ronan!” hissed Morgan. Almost ten, Ronan could be a little too mischievous. “You’ll break it! And get us into trouble—”
“No, look, it’s solid,” said Ronan. “Like, double super-glued.” He called to his big brother, “Sean—come over here!”
“Got to finish this first,” Sean said. Morgan hid a smile. Sean, just turned eleven, was the kind of kid who got completely absorbed in whatever he was doing. And when he was really into something, the whole world could blow up and he would hardly notice.
“We watched The Goonies again last night, to get ready for this weekend,” said Ronan. “I guess Sean got all inspired to draw a picture about the movie.”
“I watched it too, before we left home,” Morgan told him. She and her mom were visiting her aunt’s family in the small riverside town of Astoria, Oregon, for The Goonies Anniversary Celebration. “I can’t wait to go to all the events tomorrow! You’re so lucky to live here.”
“You mean ’cause The Goonies was filmed in Astoria?” asked Ronan. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool. Every time Sean and I watch the movie we look for the real places around town.” He eyed the panel like he wanted to stomp on it again.
“Don’t even think about it,” Morgan warned. “The last thing we need is to get grounded, when we’ve got all kinds of Anniversary plans.” Now that she was almost thirteen, starting eighth grade in the fall, naturally her mom was bringing her along to all the parties.
“All right,” said Ronan, pretending to pout.
“My dad teases me and Mom that the movie is just a dorky fantasy, but we think the whole weekend is going to be a blast!” Morgan peeked at the skeleton one last time. It seemed to move a tiny bit, like it was being shaken by an invisible hand. “Uh, Ronan, there’s something…”
He’d already turned toward the table. “Sean!” he called again. “Will you just get over—”
“Never mind.” Morgan shook her head as if to clear it. Seeing this skeleton and knowing she had two whole days in the world of The Goonies had her imagination working overtime. “We’ll get him to look at the hole on our way out.”
They ambled back to the table, the worn floorboards creaking under Morgan’s feet. The Café was located in one of the oldest structures in town, built on a wooden pier that extended directly over the Columbia River. A summer evening breeze drifted through the Café’s open windows, smelling briny and sea-weedy, and Morgan could hear the river lapping against the wood pilings. Her gaze wandered back to the area around the hole. Her aunt said that part was built right over the river. I’ll bet if I went over there and stomped on the plastic, harder than Ronan, the floor would open up and I’d fall right next to that skeleton. She shivered again.
Now that the restaurant was nearly deserted, the grownups didn’t mind if Morgan and her cousins roamed around. Besides, Morgan’s mom Nicole, and her sister, Morgan’s Aunt Shannon—Sean and Ronan’s mom—were acting kind of like kids too. They were chattering non-stop about all The Goonies events around town.
“What are you wearing to the Eighties party?” Aunt Shannon asked Morgan’s mom. She was cuddling Mary Rose, the boys’ baby sister.
Her mom’s eyes sparkled. “A blue Superman t-shirt, red suspenders and cut-offs—what else?”
“The Goonies’ ‘Sloth’ character!” said Aunt Shannon. “It’s so you.”
“Oh, Mom.” Morgan laughed. “I think you’d time travel back to 1985 if you could.”
“Absolutely.” Her mom giggled, reaching over to tickle Mary Rose’s cheek. “Do you think your mommy and I would miss a chance to relive The Goonies’ experience?” she asked the baby.
The whole town was already going crazy. On the way to the Café, Morgan had seen a ton of people—mostly grownups—in costumes from the movie. “What’s really great,” Morgan told Mary Rose, “is that The Goonies will be playing at the town’s theatre all weekend, so we can see it as many times as we want!”
Mary Rose wiggled like she was excited about watching the movie. She stuck her thumb in her mouth and looked at her brothers.
Sean was sketching a bunch of lines on his paper, while Ronan pulled a small book from his jeans pocket. Morgan tilted her head to read the title. A Mini-Guidebook: Facts and Legends about Astoria, Oregon. She took out her phone and keyed in the site of The Goonies Anniversary Celebration. What was completely awesome was that a few celebrities—cast and crew from the movie—were going to be at the events too.
“I thought we’d have to cancel our visit this weekend,” Mom was saying. “Every hotel and motel was booked solid! I finally found a B&B downtown that had some space.”
“What’s the name of it?” Aunt Shannon asked. Mary Rose sucked her thumb vigorously.
“It’s a beautiful Victorian house,” Mom said, grinning. “It’s got lots of gingerbread trim, and a cute little garden shed in the backyard.”
“The shed’s built against a small hill,” said Morgan, “kind of like a Hobbit’s house!”
“Really, it’s just darling,” said her mom. “Apparently the original owner’s great-great-granddaughter recently bought the house!”
“Which B&B?” Aunt Shannon persisted.
“Hang on.” Morgan held up one hand, then pulled up the B&B website. “Here it is.” She leaned over to show her aunt.
The Lahti House Bed & Breakfast
Charming and cozy accommodations with a River View, in the Heart of Historical Astoria!
Vintage Board games available to guests. Afternoon high tea upon request.
Aunt Shannon seemed to go tense. “I thought so. The Lahti House.”
Mary Rose stopped sucking her thumb.
“It’s great, isn’t it?” Morgan closed the site, and brought up the website for the town of Astoria.
“They even have extra rooms available.” Morgan’s mom finished her iced tea. “You and your hubby and the baby could get a room there and another for the boys—we could be together all weekend!”
“Um,” said Aunt Shannon. She looked away.
Mom set down her glass. “What? Is something the matter with it?” She made a face. “Crummy breakfasts? They advertised French toast and fresh fruit—”
Aunt Shannon shook her head. “Didn’t you wonder why no one else is staying at the B&B?”
“The beds are lumpy?” Aunt Shannon didn’t say anything. Mom went on, “Not…Morgan, don’t get grossed out—not bedbugs?”
“You wish,” said Aunt Shannon. She peeped at the boys, who were still preoccupied, and put her hand on the side of her face. “People say,” and she dropped her voice to a whisper, “that The Lahti House is…haunted.”