Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Published: November 2, 1987
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Beware of Helen…
Heather is such a whiny little brat. Always getting Michael and me into trouble. But since our mother married her father, we’re stuck with her…our “poor stepsister” who lost her real mother in a mysterious fire.
But now something terrible has happened. Heather has found a new friend, out in the graveyard behind our home — a girl named Helen who died with her family in a mysterious fire over a hundred years ago. Now her ghost returns to lure children into the pond…to drown! I don’t want to believe in ghosts, but I’ve followed Heather into the graveyard and watch her talk to Helen. And I’m terrified. Not for myself, but for Heather…
This was the first book by Mary Downing Hahn that I read. I was looking for scary, ghost stories and this one was perfect! After I finished this book, I worked my way through most of her other books. I very much enjoyed this story, but I gave it 4 stars because of Heather. Unfortunately, I doubt she could be changed much because her awfulness is what makes Helen believable. I just don’t understand how any parent could allow their child to act the way that she does.
I think we’ve already established that I’m not a very compassionate person. I don’t have much patience for self-pity, or for the excuses people use to shift responsibility for their lives. Yes, Heather saw her mother die in a fire and I get that that would be a traumatic thing for a kid. But, why the heck was she not taken to a therapist?? Spoiling a kid is never the right course, no matter what the situation! Ok, other than that, I love this book! I always go back to it when I’m looking for a creepy read. Hahn did a great job of entwining history and ghosts. Molly is a great protagonist, she’s very believable and I couldn’t help but sympathize with her. It’s also safe for younger readers. I absolutely recommend this to anyone looking for a scary, ghost story.