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All the Lovely Bad Ones

by Mary Downing Hahn

Publishers Weekly Ghost story veteran Hahn (Deep and Dark and Dangerous) spins another novel filled with things that moan and creek in the night. In an old, reputedly haunted bed and breakfast in the woods of Vermont, the chandeliers swing seemingly at random. The lights blink on and off, the radio zips through its stations at top volume, and "shadows race around the walls, laughing and taunting [guests] with insults relating to the size of [their] rear end[s]." What sets this apart from a run-of-the-mill spooky tale is not simply that the protagonists, 11-year-old Corey and 12-year-old Travis, have provoked the dead by faking a haunting, but that they then feel obliged to help resolve the spirits' problems and lay them to rest, no matter what the cost. When Corey and Travis discover the inn was an poorhouse in the 19th century, and that the ghosts that now roam its corridors were children who died there at the hands of abusive owners, readers might be inspired by Hahn's colorful historical investigation to learn more about what actually happened during those times. In addition to crafting some genuinely spine-chilling moments, the author takes a unique approach to a well-traversed genre. Ages 9-12. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Taking her title from a poem by James Whitcomb Riley, veteran author Hahn spins a deliciously spooky tale about restless spirits haunting the site of a former Vermont poor farm. Travis and his little sister Corey are confirmed "bad ones"—so bad, in fact, that their summer camp won't let them come back, so they find themselves this summer at their grandmother's rural inn. When they learn of its supposedly ghost-filled past, they decide to play a prank or two, but in the process they wake both the mischievous long-dead children and the malevolent woman who supervised the children of the farm. Soon the inn swarms with spiritualists hoping for a genuine sighting, much to the dismay of its skeptical proprietor. This clash of cultures allows Hahn to leaven the chills of the ghost story with generous dollops of humor, resulting in a tale that keeps the creepiness factor within reasonable bounds for the audience. Believable characters, both live and undead, and a classic resolution make this a highly satisfying introduction to the genre. (Fiction. 9-12) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 4-7-Mary Downey Hahn's story (Clarion, 2008) involving two prankster-playing siblings, Travis and Corey, takes a dark turn when their efforts to help their grandmother's newly acquired Vermont Inn lead to trouble. The Inn had a history of ghost sightings until recently, and disappointed guests are not returning. The siblings, who are spending the summer at the Inn, decide to help out by pretending to haunt the grounds. But soon they are seeing dangerous spirits themselves and life at the Inn is so unsettled that everyone is terrified. They develop a relationship with three of the ghosts-Caleb, Ira, and Seth- who died as the result of the ill treatment they received when the Inn was a work farm for destitute people, mismanaged by Miss Ada and her brother. Many of the ghosts are the lost children who were buried in secret and have no grave markers. What's worse, Miss Ada, who hanged herself, continues to terrorize the children in death. Since Travis and Corey awakened these spirits with their prank, it is now up to them to resolve things, save the Inn, and make sure their new friends find the peace they deserve. Jeffrey Cummings gives both siblings distinctive voices and catches their irritation with each other over the mysterious occurrences. Seth sounds young and mischievous, with a slight lisp and great longing for a real life, while Caleb and Ira's voices reflect their panic over the ascendancy of Miss Ada, whose voice oozes with malevolence. A compelling listen.-Edie Ching, The University of Maryland, College Park (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 4-7-Travis, 12, and his younger sister, Corey, are high-spirited youngsters who love to play tricks on unsuspecting targets. When they discover that their grandmother's Vermont inn, Fox Hill, is reportedly haunted, they can't wait to cook up some ghostly manifestations to scare the guests and liven up their summer vacation. But their pranks turn terrifyingly real when they awaken Ada Jaggs, an evil and vengeful spirit. The shadows of children she tormented and mistreated in the past when the county poor farm was located at Fox Hill are also roused. Events soon spiral out of control, frightening the staff and guests of the inn, and Travis and Corey must discover a way to get rid of Ada and release the children to their final rest. Part of this plan includes opening her grave-a task that, of course, must be done at midnight. Hahn has written another fast-paced ghost story that readers will relish, shivering all the while. An interesting thread is the comparison of the lively children whom Ada hated and targeted with Travis and Corey-all are boisterous, energetic kids with a mischievous gleam in their eye.-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book For mischief-makers Travis and Corey, a stay at their grandmother's reputedly haunted inn holds promise. Soon, though, the game isn't funny: "...the ghosts are awake now. Putting them back to sleep will not be easy." Hahn expertly combines the comedy of spectral hijinks and bumbling ghost-busters with a dark backstory of abused children and the malevolent guardian who torments them. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Hahn has mastered the art of the not-too-creepy ghost story for upper-elementary-school readers, and this latest offering combines chills, thrills, and poignant historical fiction. Twelve-year-old Travis and his younger sister, Corey, are spending the summer with their grandmother at her Vermont bed-and-breakfast. Born mischief makers, the siblings hear that the inn is rumored to be haunted and decide to manufacture some ghostly effects for the guests. Unfortunately, they arouse the real ghosts: young boys who died in the early 1800s, when the property was the county poor farm, and Miss Ada, the evil spinster who caused their deaths. The rambunctious young ghosts cause a lot of ruckus, but they are ultimately endearing beings, whereas Miss Ada is deliciously horrible. Readers will learn about the history of poor farms while reveling in the genuinely creepy hauntings Hahn describes so well. The truly scary cover may deter some readers; reassure them this title belongs to the same comfortably spooky genre as The Doll in the Garden (1986) and Wait till Helen Comes (1989).--Carton, Debbie Copyright 2008 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.