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review 2017-10-22 20:42
One For Sorrow
One for Sorrow: A Ghost Story - Mary Downing Hahn
I will admit that this is my first Mary Downing Hahn novel that I have ever read. I had been thinking that her novels were too light for my taste but after reading this one, I believe that I might have been wrong. I started this novel right before going to sleep but I ended up staying up way past my bedtime and then I got up way too early so I could finish it. The real obsession I had with this novel is that I dreamt about it. I didn’t dream about the ghostly presence that is inside the novel, I dreamt about the altercations between the individuals in the novel. I was filled with fervor, passion and desire at what was transpiring in the novel.
 
This novel was fast-paced and I loved it. It began with Elise taking claim to Annie, the new girl, when she arrived at school. Elise becomes obsessed with Annie, not even allowing her to have any other friends besides her. Annie breaks away from the domineering and manipulative Elise after Elise doesn’t come to school for a few days. Annie becomes friends with Elise’s arch enemy Rosie (and her posse) and boy, things get intense quickly. It’s funny how fast Annie turns on Elise, telling her to leave her alone and casting her aside now that she has new friends to hang out with.
 
Influenza is hitting their town hard, closing down the schools and shops and killing a handful of individuals daily. With their days free, the girls get the notion to attend wakes of individuals in town. I found this idea, twisted and hilarious, at the same time. They have motive for their actions and they begin to enjoy their outings, sometimes attending a couple wakes a day.
 
Rosie and Elsie have a horrible relationship and as the girls’ spot Elsie one day after a viewing, the In Flew Enza chant which was created by Rosie, shows just how rotten and awful things have progressed to, between these two girls. I found the chant creative when Rosie first came up with it. They’d jump rope to it, singing it as the rope looped over their heads but now as Annie, Rosie and her small group of friends gathered around Elise, holding their hands together chanting the words, the chant sounded horrid. Over and over, the tune going faster and faster, all the while, Elsie is yelling at them to stop as they circled her. The taunting and the traumatizing that was occurring was a memorable visual for me. Bullying, so much bullying between these girls. I’d love to tell you more about the novel but I don’t want to spoil it. I will say, the energy and the intensity does not let up until the very end. I was so happy that I woke up in the middle of the night to finish it. This will not be my last Mary Downing Hahn novel. I highly recommend this novel.
 
I am using this novel for my Chilling Children square for Halloween Bingo.

 

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text 2017-10-22 18:37
Halloween Bingo: Classic Horror
Three Ghost Stories - Charles Dickens

 

I read The Haunted House for Classic Horror.

The beginning was good, although I don't know if I was supposed to be giggling as much as I was over everyones antics. The end seemed to be some convoluted dream or memory of his childhood pretending to be part of a seraglio.

 

I also read Green Tea by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu which was an interesting story about a demon slowly driving a pastor nutty.

 

They both seemed to reference the same house in London that was fronted by 4 poplar trees, which I thought was a pretty creepy coincidence.

 

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review 2017-10-22 06:04
Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman
Vintage: A Ghost Story - Berman, Steve,Steve Berman

Vintage’s protagonist is an unnamed mostly closeted gay teen, who I will call MC (short for “Main Character”) from here on out. MC ran away from home after his parents reacted badly to learning that he was gay, so now he lives with his aunt, who he’s afraid might do the same thing. The only people who know his secret are his new friend Trace and several other friends she introduced him to.

His life here is better than it had been back with his parents. He has friends, he’s convinced his aunt to let him drop out of school and get his GED and work instead, and he likes his job at the vintage clothing shop. Still, a part of him is always afraid that the wrong person will find out he’s gay and ruin everything and, at the same time, he desperately wants a boyfriend. When he sees a cute boy in vintage clothes walking alone, he takes a risk and talks to him. And even though he’s a weird goth kid talking to a guy dressed like a jock, it doesn’t go badly! Unfortunately for MC, Josh, the cute boy, is a ghost.

At first, MC and Trace are delighted at the prospect of meeting a real ghost. However, things soon take a turn for the worse. Josh follows MC home. Although MC is excited that a boy is finally interested in him, Josh’s touch could literally suck the life out of him. Josh’s raging jealousy is another problem. If MC and Trace can’t figure out how to put Josh to rest, MC and anyone he cares out could end up dead.

The first half of this book wasn’t my cup of tea at all. Nearly every character was messed up in some way, and it seemed like a potentially murderous ghost was the least of their problems. Liz's parents were mostly absent. Trace's mother was in an institution, her older brother, Mike, was either dead or a runaway, and her mother had her younger brother as a replacement for her older brother, even going so far as to name him after him. MC had tried to commit suicide in the past but instead had just woken up in a puddle of his own vomit.

MC’s friends’ idea of fun was getting together and drinking something called Jim Joneses, a mixture of different flavors of Kool-Aid, vodka, and, in one special glass, a random crushed up pill from the hostess’s medicine cabinet. At the particular gathering featured in the book, they then tried out a Ouija board - at the time, only Trace and MC knew it would be a bad idea for MC to be involved in anything like that.

At any rate, this had more drug use and steamier sex than I generally expect to find in a young adult book. For those wondering, I felt the drug use was at least presented as a negative thing, and the sex (a couple scenes, if I remember right) was explicit enough to include bodily fluids but wasn’t otherwise very detailed.

The second half of the book was better than the first. It included more ghost scenes, including one aspect I love in “I can see ghosts” stories: MC realizing that he can’t always tell when the person he’s seeing or talking to is a ghost or not. Creepy. My favorite instance of this involved a ghost with a connection to one of MC’s friends.

Another nice thing about the second half of the book was the way MC gradually gained self-confidence. He learned that there were more supportive people in his life than he realized, and he started a relationship with a boy who was a much healthier option than Josh. I liked how their relationship progressed, and I liked the way MC did his best to keep from rushing him into anything. They seemed like they’d make a sweet couple.

I thought I’d end up hating this book, but it actually grew on me. I don’t know that I’d ever want to reread it, but if there were ever a sequel I’d probably give it a shot. And I’d hope that Mike got a prominent role. Considering his situation, it was amazing how well-adjusted he was. Instead of ingesting pills like everyone else, he created amazing sculptures.

One thing I’m still wondering about: why MC was never named. At first, I assumed it was a sign of his low self-esteem. If someone had told him he was a character in a book and asked him to guess what his role probably was, in the first half of the book he’d probably have said Trace was the main character and he was her sidekick. He viewed her as perfect and wonderful, while he was anything but. It was painful. He became more confident later on, but when the perfect opportunity presented itself for the author to finally have another character name him, all readers got was something along the lines of “He said my name.” If the name thing had been meant as an indicator of his feelings about himself, it would have made more sense to have someone finally say his name at some point near the end.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2017-10-21 20:03
Reading progress update: I've read 154 out of 154 pages.
Vintage: A Ghost Story - Berman, Steve,Steve Berman

Finished! The second half was more enjoyable than the first, thank goodness. There were some nice ghost moments, and Mike, Trace's little brother, was sweet and probably the least messed up character in the story, despite his history. I'm still wondering what the point was of not naming the main character. If the idea was to present him as someone who didn't have the self-esteem to accept himself as the main character of his own story, it would have been better to allow his name to finally be mentioned somewhere in the second half of the story, when he started to become more confident.

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text 2017-10-21 17:21
Halloween Bingo - Demons - Another Bingo!
Terror in Tower Grove - Samantha Johns

 

 

 

I read Terror in Tower Grove for Halloween Bingo on 3 September 2017.

 

This gives me a Bingo for the fourth row down going across.

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