Monday, July 17, 2017

MMGM- One for Sorrow

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and #IMWAYR day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

26959786Hahn, Mary Downing. One for Sorrow
July 18th 2017 by Clarion Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Annie moves to a new town and starts school. One girl, Elsie, comes and befriends immediately. Of course, Elsie is the sort of girl that the other students don't like, but she is very possessive. She even invites herself to Annie's home, averring the entire time that they will be best friends. Elsie has a difficult home life-- her father is a German butcher, and in 1918, this leads him to be considered suspect by many people. Elsie's stepmother is cruel to her, and Elsie is in turn cruel to Annie. Eventually, Annie makes friends with the popular Rosie and tells Elsie to leave her alone. When the flu epidemic starts to effect the girls' neighborhood, some of them decide that going to calling hours in people's homes is a good way to get cake and candy. Annie isn't very comfortable with this, but continues to go with her friends. Eventually, the hostility between the girls increases. Elsie dies, and Annie is accused of trying to make Rosie ill with a flu mask that Elsie had. It's not Annie's fault, however; even in death, Elsie is an overbearing presence who has undue influence over Annie's actions. After a serious accident, can Annie manage to extricate herself from Elsie's cold and evil clutches?
Strengths: The beginning of this is more of a historical novel, and the details of life in 1918 are really very brilliant. Hahn's grandmother's stories were the inspiration for this tale, and the deep connection to this time is really clear. The promise of a ghost story will keep readers engaged, as will Elsie's character. Hasn't everyone had one of those "friends" that we wish would just leave us alone? Rosie and Elsie are great opposites, and Annie is a marvelous Everygirl, stuck in the middle. The ghost story is up to Hahn's wonderful standard of creepy. Combined with this ghostly cover, it will see a lot of circulation. A must purchase for all middle grade collections.
Weaknesses: Elsie is just one of those characters who begs people to be mean to her, and that's not a politically correct thought these days. She is also called "fat". It's all accurate, given the historical time period, but some people will complain.
What I really think: There is a huge need for creepy books, and combining creepy with history is quite brilliant!

Ms. Yingling


  1. I've had mixed feeling about reading this book, but I have to say, your assessment at the end decided me - combining creepy with history - right up my alley. Thanks!

  2. Anonymous12:11 PM EDT

    I can't wait to read this! Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and I'm intrigued by the influenza breakout. Thanks so much for your review, and I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it!
    - Vi

  3. I can see this being a big hit in my son's classroom. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for all of your great reviews this week. I'm looking forward to ONE FOR SORROW and LIGHTS, CAMERAS, COOK! I also enjoyed the details you shared about your big sixth grade win. A definite hint at what you'd do in the future.

  5. Wow, what a complex story. I think teens would love this creepy story and learn a little history too. Brilliant idea for a book. Thanks for your review.