May 20, 2019

Audio Review: All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn

Title: All the Lovely Bad Ones
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Narrator: Jeff Cummings

Travis and his sister, Corey, can t resist a good trick. When they learn that their grandmother s quiet Vermont inn, where they re spending the summer, has a history of ghost sightings, they decide to do a little haunting of their own. Before long, their supernatural pranks have tourists flocking to the inn, and business booms. 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. Only Travis and Corey can lay to rest the ghosts they've stirred. This means discovering the secret of Fox Hill and the horrors visited on its inhabitants years before.

One sentence review: A nicely spooky story that would make my young middle school students sufficiently scared, but also get a good story as well. 

Longer thoughts: Mary Downing Hahn is my go-to writer when a younger middle school comes in and says they want something scary. She's scary for them, but not so much so that they stop sleeping! In this book, the ghosts start out scary because they almost swarm Travis and Corey poking and pinching them and making all kinds of things fly around. The thought of something like that really happening would be super scary! As the story continues the ghosts - well in particular - continue to be a source of fear but the history of the inn becomes a more important source of both fear and sadness. I really liked how almost a history lesson about poor houses was included in the story. I don't think most kids know what a poor house is, so this book was fantastic in explaining it. 

I liked what needed to be done to get the ghosts to leave the inn.  I thought it was perfect (I won't say to avoid spoilers). The first thing was easier, but the second thing I think would be the scariest for the reader. The second thing involved exorcising the meanest ghost. She was scary, so going up against her would be scary! And what she was capable of made of some great tension. Sorry to be so vague - but again: spoilers! And the ending to all that - wow! Very well done! 

Best stick-with-you image: The part where the meanest ghost is trying to get them. She was scary! 

Thoughts on the audiobook: I really wasn't fond of this narrator. He tended to differentiate characters by giving them a lisp of some sort, so it was kind of annoying to have so many characters talk that way. If they were said to have a lisp in the story that would've been one thing, but none of them were described that way. Otherwise, he did a fine job. 

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