All the Lovely Bad Ones
By Mary Downing Hahn
(Clarion Books, Hardcover, 9780618854677, 192pp.)
Publication Date: March 2008
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Travis and his sister, Corey, can’t resist a good trickso when they learn that their grandmother’s sleepy Vermont inn has a history of ghost sightings, they decide to do a little haunting” of their own. Scaring the guests proves to be great fun, and before long, the inn is filled with tourists and ghost hunters eager for a glimpse of the supernatural.
But Travis and Corey soon find out that they aren’t the only ghosts at Fox Hill Inn. Their thoughtless games have awakened something dangerous, something that should have stayed asleep. Restless, spiteful spirits swarm the inn, while a dark and terrifying presence stalks the halls and the old oak grove on the inn’s grounds. To lay the ghosts to rest, Travis and Corey must first discover the dark history of Fox Hill and the horrors visited on its inhabitants years earlier.
Mary Downing Hahn, a former children's librarian, is the award-winning author of many popular ghost stories, including Deep and Dark and Dangerous and The Old Willis Place. An avid reader, traveler, and all-around arts lover, Ms. Hahn lives in Columbia, Maryland, with her two cats, Oscar and Rufus.
"Ghost story veteran Hahn (Deep and Dark and Dangerous) spins another novel filled with things that moan and creak 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 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."--Publishers Weekly
"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."--School Library Journal
"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."--The Horn Book