Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Girl in the Locked Room

37570578Hahn, Mary Downing. The Girl in the Locked Room
September 4th 2018 by Clarion Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Jules and her family move to the outskirts of Hillsborough while her father is restoring an old mansion in the middle of the Stonybrook housing development. It's just one in a long series of moves, and there are advantages and disadvantages. While the apartment addition at the back of the mansion is nicer than many of the places the family has moved, Jules wishes they were closer to the amenities of town so she could make friends and do things. Also, the house feels really haunted. Soon, Jules starts seeing the ghost of a young girl, and feels that something is just not right. When she finally talks her mother into taking her to the library in town, she meets a girl her age, Maisie, who share interesting information about the mansion and is glad to hang out with Jules and investigate the house with her. The girls dig deeper, and the girl who is haunting the house, Lily, eventually starts to speak to them. Together, they manage to find out the secret of what happened to Lily and her family, why she haunts the house, and how they can try to make the past different so that Lily can escape her fate.
Strengths: Hahn's books are always very popular in my library, and the covers (after the 1990s) are generally good and scary. The ghost mystery is solid, and somewhat reminiscent of The Doll in the Garden. Interestingly, the part I liked best about this book was the friendship with Maisie, and how Jules started hanging out with her and they both investigate the mystery. I also was glad of the happy ending and the strong family life.
Weaknesses: I was hoping for something a little bit more unusual. There are lots of books where children move into haunted houses and have to help dispatch unhappy ghosts.
What I really think: This reminded my a little of The Secret of Goldenrod. Not as creepy and scary as I hoped, but a good story about moving and being friends with a ghost while solving her mystery.

Ms. Yingling

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