Fleming, Candace. On the Day I Died
10 July 2012, Random House Children's Books (ARC from Netgalley.com)
Mike is hurrying down a country road trying to make curfew when a girl appears in the road, dripping wet, and asked to be taken home. When he drops her off at her house, she forgets her shoes in the car, but when he knocks on the door, an older lady answers. Every year on the same date, someone shows up with Carol Anne's shoes, because she died in a canoeing accident. The woman tells Mike to take the shoes to the cemetery, and when he does, he sees 55 pairs of weathered saddle shoes about, and is confronted by the ghosts of teenagers who all passed away. Their stories span the decades and are all set in Chicago. One girl dies in a fire when no one will believe her about a classmate who is an arsonist, another robs funeral homes during the Great Depression and meets a terrible end. The 1893 World's Fair and the State Asylum figure in the deaths of two other teens. Some meet their ends at the hands of demonic hood ornaments and an aunt who was a mob moll. At the end, we find out that Mike has met these ghosts because he was close to death himself, driving distractedly.
Strengths: This was a largely historical book that will be easy to give to students because of the ghost story element. It's good and creepy, but nothing that will keep students awake at night. I think this will be good for readers who like Schwartz's or San Souci's collections of scary stories.
Weaknesses: This would be more popular closer to Chicago, but I don't think students will care too much.