Friday, October 27, 2017

All the Lovely Bad Ones - Mary Downing Hahn

Summary: Travis and his sister, Corey, can t resist a good trick. When they learn that their grandmother's quiet Vermont inn, where they're spending the summer, has a history of ghost sightings, they decide to do a little haunting of their own. Before long, their supernatural pranks have tourists flocking to the inn, and business booms. But Travis and Corey soon find out that they aren't the only ghosts at Fox Hill Inn. Their thoughtless games have awakened something dangerous, something that should have stayed asleep. Restless, spiteful spirits swarm the inn, while a dark and terrifying presence stalks the halls and the old oak grove on the inn s grounds. Only Travis and Corey can lay to rest the ghosts they stirred. This means discovering the secret of Fox Hill and the horrors visited on its inhabitants years before... Once again, Mary Downing Hahn has created a chilling and gripping ghost story in the tradition of The Old Willis Place, Witch Catcher, and Deep and Dark and Dangerous."

My Review: I have a very vivid memory of a day in fourth grade when I was supposed to be doing my math but instead was avidly reading Wait Til Helen Comes. Mrs. Balginy (who I just looked up on Facebook) came up and tapped me on the shoulder. I kid you not—I jumped up and screamed so much because I was just totally in the book zone and it was right at the part that Helen is coming out and when she touched me…well. I still remember that fear. If you’ve read Wait Til Helen Comes, you know exactly what I’m talking about. That book is scary! It’s still creepy! That being said, as soon as I saw that my son brought home a copy of All the Lovely Bad Ones I just had to read it because I wanted to be that creeped out again! And it’s Halloween season! So it was time.

This book is scary, just as one would hope from Mary Downing Hahn. There’s just something awesome about an author whose total goal is to scare children out of their wits. I was pleasantly surprised to be scared by this book as well. Its one thing to build up a book in your head and then go back and read it again only to be disappointed, but its super cool when you go back and it’s just as scary and cool as you remember. I had not read this book before, but it certainly is similar enough in its feeling to Wait Til Helen Comes that I knew I’d be disappointed if it was totally lame and not scary at all. Luckily, it lived up to my expectations and was totally creepy full of a nightmare-inducing ending that can only be the workings of an author hell-bent on scary the crap out of little children. Which again. Is awesome. This book was actually really fun to read on a dark and stormy night, which is why I’m putting this review so close to Halloween. It’s a short enough and easy enough read that you still have time to go get it and scare yourself for the season! (It can’t be just me that does that, right?) I like to have some good mood reading to bring me into one of my favorite holidays. It’s not a good Halloween without some creepy ghosts.

One thing I love about this book is that the ghosts are legit. I always feel let down when a “ghost” is not really a ghost, rather some ridiculous misunderstanding. If I want to be scared, I want it to be legit! And these ghosts are cool and scary and definitely bring some nightmares. The story itself is pretty cool and from what I remember of Wait Til Helen Comes, (you know, from a few decades ago) this plot was a little more complex than some of her other work. The back story was there and was actually sad and tragic and also super scary.

I liked this book, obviously, but I don’t want you to go into it thinking that if you’re a hardcore ghost story reader that you shouldn’t read this in place of adult ghost story books. No. This is merely a book that is short enough and accessible enough that you could squeeze it in RIGHTNOW before Halloween is over and still enjoy your normal reading seasonal reading.

My Rating: 3.5 stars

For the sensitive reader: This is a children’s book and therefore the language is clean and there is no sexual content, but there is some violence discussed.

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