Monday, October 1, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: All the Lovely Bad Ones

Today’s pick: All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn

Clarion Books, 2008

Publisher’s Description:

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’ve 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 take:
I don’t usually read ghost stories but I’ve seen this one at the library often so I thought it must be a good one. It wasn’t a long book and it was fast-paced, so I read it quickly. I loved the idea that by pretending to be ghosts, Corey and Travis woke some real ghosts and spirits. It was definitely a little scary! I liked the way different ghosts in the story had different motives. The characters of the guests staying at the inn added some humour to the story.

As a writer, I’d study this novel more closely to see how the writer builds suspense.

How I discovered this book:
 I found this on the shelf at my local library and I was attracted to the spooky cover.

Other info:
Mary Downing Hahn was once a children’s librarian and has been writing children’s books for over 30 years. Her books include historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and fantasy, but she is best known for her mysteries and ghost stories.

According to her website, one of the reasons she likes writing ghost stories is because “a ghost may also give a character insight or empathy, a deeper understanding of his own nature or of the world around him.”
One suggestion she has for writers is “Keep your writing vivid by using as many of your senses as you can.”

This author lives in Maryland.

Other books by this author include:
Closed for the Season (2009)

Deep and Dark and Dangerous (2007) – a ghost story
Witch Catcher (2006)
Janey And The Famous Author (2005)
The Old Willis Place (2004) – a ghost story
Hear the Wind Blow (2003)
Anna on the Farm (2001)

Promises to the Dead (2000)

Anna All Year Round (1999)

As Ever, Gordy (1998)

Following My Own Footsteps (1996)

The Gentleman Outlaw and Me—Eli (1996)

Look for Me by Moonlight (1995)

Time for Andrew (1994)

The Wind Blows Backward (1993)

The Spanish Kidnapping Disaster (1991)

Stepping on the Cracks (1991)

The Dead Man in Indian Creek (1990)

The Doll in the Garden (1989) – a ghost story

December Stillness (1988)

Following the Mystery Man (1988)

The Jellyfish Season (1987)

Tallahassee Higgins (1987)

Wait Till Helen Comes (1986) – a ghost story

Daphne's Book (1983)

The Time of the Witch (1982)

The Sara Summer (1979)

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was dreamed up by the incredible Shannon Messenger. Visit her blog for an up-to-date list of all the bloggers who are participating and posting about middle grade books today!




  1. I don't normally read ghostly stories, but this sounds creepy in good, interesting way.

    1. I don't usually either, Barbara. But some readers of MG love them. So I thought I'd try it.

  2. I remember being scared silly by Deep and Dark and Dangerous. Bet this one would be that scary too! Love the premise, though.

  3. I LOVE this author. She is the queen of the middle-grade ghost story. I've had this one on my list for a while.


  4. I'm partial to a good ghost story. Thanks for giving me the shivers today, Andrea!

    1. Well, it's October now. Hallowe'en is coming...Maybe I'll have to look for some more scary books.

  5. This is an interesting premise. I checked out the author's website and all her covers are really spooky! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I have read some of her other books and I think that she does a great job adding spooky elements into her books. I have seen this book around and after reading your review I definitely want to read it. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I don't usually read spooky books, but my daughter likes them. I'm trying to think more about what MG readers like to read and "broaden my horizons".

  8. Thanks for the recommendation. It sounds like a good one to try. I especially liked your suggestion to study it for how to build suspense. Great idea!


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