Reviews for All the Lovely Bad Ones : A Ghost Story


Booklist Reviews 2008 May #1
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). Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
Travis and his sister Corey love to make mischief, so a summer's stay at their grandmother's reputedly haunted Vermont inn holds much promise. A flashlight, makeup, a filmy white scarf, and some well-timed screams allow the kids to freak out the other visitors, but soon enough the game isn't funny: "You and your sister may have begun this as a game," says one of the guests, "but 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 even in death. Here's an author who really understands how to put a scary story together, unafraid even to use an appearance by Old Nick himself for an extremely satisfying finale. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #3
Travis and his sister Corey love to make mischief, so a summer's stay at their grandmother's reputedly haunted Vermont inn holds much promise. A flashlight, makeup, a filmy white scarf, and some well-timed screams allow the kids to freak out the other visitors, but soon enough the game isn't funny: "You and your sister may have begun this as a game," says one of the guests, "but 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 even in death. Here's an author who really understands how to put a scary story together, unafraid even to use an appearance by Old Nick himself for an extremely satisfying finale. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 March #2
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 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2009 March/April
Hahn has written an enjoyable ghost story that reminded me of Skellig by David Almond (Delacorte Press, 1999). Travis, who narrates the story, and his sister Corey spend the summer at their grandmother?s reputedly haunted Fox Hill Inn in Vermont and just as they have done everywhere else, they cause trouble by pretending to see ghosts. But the trouble they seem to cause is that they wake up the real sleeping ghosts, or do they? The book keeps readers asking if the ghosts really exist and what will happen to Fox Hill, grandmother, and the siblings. Librarians should be aware that one of the ghosts, Miss Ada, had hung herself from a tree, and she tries to encourage Travis to do the same, but he does not. There is some challenging vocabulary. This would make a great read-aloud for Halloween or for a class studying mysteries. Recommended. Stacy Rosenthal, Librarian, Council Rock High School South, Holland, Pennsylvania ¬ 2009 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 March #2

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.)

[Page 82]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 May

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

[Page 124]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2009 October
Corey and Travis are two young siblings who enjoy being pranksters but do not think of themselves as truly bad children. They cause serious problems, however, when they spend the summer at their grandmother's inn in Vermont. The two are inspired to stir up some mischief and perhaps help Grandmother's business by haunting the inn. Odd things begin to happen, and soon it is no longer a joke--their tricks have lead to the awakening of something terrifying. The story line moves quickly in this book, which means that it will hold the attention of even those middle school readers without much patience, making it a particularly great fit. The spookiness of the well-written story is enough to raise a few goose bumps, without being over-the-top or horrific. Hahn strikes a great balance for readers in the young adolescent age, but those in their late teens might not find the story scary enough. At parts, the pages beg to be turned as the suspense rises, with readers anxiously wondering what will happen next. Because the main characters are a boy and a girl, both genders have someone with whom they can identify, easily placing themselves in the story. It is no Steven King piece, however, and more mature readers will probably find it too predictable.--Dawn Talbott. $5.99 Trade pb. ISBN 978-0-547-24878-3. 3Q 3P M J Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.

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