I read this well before Halloween Bingo, but it may interest some of you! This was just released Sept 4.
Mary Downing Hahn is a powerhouse of middle grade fiction, her talent transcends genre - does anyone else remember 'Stepping on the Cracks'?, but it is the supernatural stories that most people associate with her. 'The Girl in the Locked Room' is a classic story of loneliness, mystery, and discovery.
Jules' father renovates houses for a living, so she's used to moving to different town and living in creepy, old houses. Her mother is a writer. Jules has a bad feeling about this house, however, especially after she catches a glimpse of girl's face in an attic window. A window in a room that is sealed shut. The construction puts most of the house off-limits to Jules, but after making a new friend and hearing ghostly sounds in the night, she is driven to investigate.
A great thing about the book is the inclusion of the titular 'Girl's perspective. She has been locked away for so long she's forgotten everything, even her name, and it takes time for her to remember what happened to her and her family. This adds delicious atmosphere to the story.
The house and Jules' situation would have been a dream of mine growing up, but for Jules the nomadic life is one of loneliness. That element grounded the story and Hahn excels at creating relatable protagonists.
As a side note, I loved Hahn's respect for history and attention to detail in all things. My husband appreciated that she even got the dolls right.
Hahn still has it! This is a supernatural mystery for younger readers, but has sufficient depth for an adult to read and there are many potential topics to discuss with children.