Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn (review)

October 27, 2016 All Reviews, Horror, Mystery, YA 0 ★★★½

Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn (review)Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
Published by HarperCollins on November 2nd 1987
Number of Pages: 184
Genres: Horror, Middle Grade, Mystery
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Purchase: At Amazon

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...

Technically a re-read, but as I haven’t read it in 10 years or more and I wanted something spooky for October…

This totally scared the crap out of me as a teenager. It isn’t as scary as an adult, but there are a number of spooky moments in the book. Heather is a horrible brat, constantly trying to get her step-siblings in trouble with her father, and trying to split up her Dad’s new marriage.

But she is fairly well redeemed in the end, and the reason she was such a little terror is both believable and sad. I liked how Molly kept trying to be a good big sister, even though Heather wanted nothing to do with her. I didn’t care for either of the parents though. The step-father was always on Heather’s side, and was needlessly cruel to Molly and Michael. Molly’s mom wasn’t much better. Deciding to move the family into the country with no warning, even though her kids had summer plans already made. And foisting Heather off on them (mostly on Molly) so that she could go paint in peace.

Michael seemed to be a typical boy, interested in bugs and science. And constantly taking off into the woods to explore and avoid watching Heather. He wasn’t that supportive of Molly, but then he is a little brother and it was fairly believable for their ages.

I still really like this book, and it will most likely get re-read at least a few more times. But as an adult, it doesn’t have the creep-factor I was looking for anymore.


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