One for Sorrow: A Ghost Story
It is 1918, and Annie has moved to a new town. On her first day of school, Elsie claims Annie as a new best friend, but Annie finds out quickly that to be Elsie’s friend is to risk social isolation. Besides, Elsie is a rude, lying, mean girl. When Elsie bullies her way to Annie’s house and ruins a favorite doll, Annie decides that she can’t be friends with Elsie and joins Rosie’s group, which insults and snubs Elsie. However, the flu takes hold of their town, and Elsie perishes to the disease. When Annie starts hearing voices, she fears the worst, but ghosts aren’t real, are they?
Hahn returns with another ghost story that mixes historical fiction with the supernatural. Elsie’s ghost is as cruel in death as in life, and Annie cannot help but be influenced by the mean-spirited nature of her haunting. The themes of this story – bullying, friendship, responsibility – make great topics for debate, especially as it implies the past is not so different from the present. The release of this ghost story perfectly coincides with the approach of cooler weather and the spooky days of Halloween – it will not stay on shelves.
Mary Downing Hahn