Charlie Laird is a kid with some unusual problems. Ever since moving into his stepmother’s purple mansion, he’s been tormented by terrible nightmares. There’s something strange about the creepy old house—and he’s sure it has everything to do with his stepmother.
Jack, Charlie’s mischievous little brother, has been known to give the family cat a Mohawk and dig up the front yard in search of pirate booty. He’s rarely seen without his Captain America costume—but his real superpower is being cute enough to get away with murder.
Charlotte DeChant pretends to be the perfect stepmom. But Charlie knows she’s a phony. She spends her days brewing potions to sell at her shop, Hazel’s Herbarium. After dark, she vanishes into her lair in the mansion’s tower, where she draws pictures of things that go bump in the night.
Andrew Laird is a loving and caring father, but the loss of his first wife was  heartbreaking. Thankfully, he had his boys to keep his spirits up. But after he falls under Charlotte’s spell, he changes—or so it seems to Charlie. His dad has forgotten all about his mom and only cares about Charlotte.
The best athlete at Cypress Creek Elementary, Rocco is admired by all of his classmates. But lately he’s caught the eye of the school’s sinister principal. And unless his grades improve soon, he may be forced to live through seventh grade twice.
Bespectacled Alfie is the seventh grade’s genius. He’s also one of Charlie’s three best friends. He possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of just about everything, from TV-watching apes to the Roman empire. But more importantly, he can listen to his friends’ most embarrassing secrets without even cracking a smile.
Paige is as small and dainty as a music box ballerina. But that doesn’t mean she’s not tough as nails. She knows tons of things that most kids don’t—like how to put out a grease fire, battle a rabid raccoon, and make microwave nachos without scorching the cheese.
Principal Sterns is a giant with the body of Frankenstein’s monster and the personality of a prison guard. He’s new to Charlie’s school—and no one knows where he came from. But every kid at Cypress Creek Elementary would love to buy him a bus ticket back.
He wears dark sunglasses whether it’s day or night, and there’s something hidden beneath his hat. But Meduso is the only one in the Netherworld who’s willing to guide Charlie back to the Waking World. Meduso has clearly been sent to help—but by whom? And can Charlie really trust him?