Traditional or self-published: Self-published [Edit2: Nope, traditional! See comments.]
Rating: Loved (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
Look at that heading info again. Self-published. Loved. How rare that is! [Edit: Maybe I'm wrong about it being self-published, but I don't think so. I googled the "publisher" listed, and after much searching, found a list of books they published, and all written by this author. Also "Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC". However, both School Library Journal and Booklist reviewed this book, which I don't think I've seen for a self-published book before...]
Told from the POV of a seven year old boy, at first I was confused as to where the story was taking place. I had thought it was an alternate universe or some other planet, but it turned out to be just as interesting: The Great Depression era in Canada. (Not a spoiler, that's in the book blurb, I just don't see those on my Kindle.)
The setting was so realistic, and that made the little elements of supernatural extra creepy. A stranger comes to town, and kids start vanishing. Creepiness kept building up to the point where I was surprised this was a YA book. It was never scary, but creepy is almost worse sometimes. It really, really felt a lot like Stephen King's style from a few decades ago.
The one small issue/confusion I had was about the dust itself. In His Dark Materials/Golden Compass, the bad guys were after the kids' dust, right? Dust was used in a similar way in this book. I thought maybe 'soul dust' was a thing outside of books, but I googled and could find no connection. Just a small thing that left me scratching my head, it didn't take away from the story at all.
I'm really surprised that this book wasn't picked up by a publisher. The writing was outstanding (it's been a long time since I last highlighted sentences and phrases because they were worded so interestingly), the story was great, and it was even edited nearly perfectly.
A couple of the lines I loved:
"His gloved hand rested on Robert's shoulder with the weight of a crow."
"Let us be the threshers of men."
"Then the wrath of God. That was the order of the Bible. Next the flood. But here, under the wide blue skies, the wind was the flood. Everyone drowned in it."
Currently reading: Travail Online: Soulkeeper: LitRPG Series (Book 1). Somehow this LitRPG book escaped the purge of them. It's not as bad as self-published LitRPG books usually are, so so far I'm sticking with it.