Friday, June 12, 2009

Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story

Hahn, Mary Downing. 2007. Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story. NY: Clarion Books. ISBN: 9780618665457.

When Ali is invited to stay the summer with her Aunt Dulcie and her four-year-old cousin Emma at Gull Cottage she jumps at the chance, despite the fact that her overprotective and depressed mother dislikes the idea. Staying at the lake house where her mother and aunt vacationed at as kids, thirteen-year-old Ali unearths a thirty-year-old mysterious drowning of a girl named Teresa that begins with a torn photographs. While her aunt spends time in a studio painting, Ali and Emma meet Sissy, a prickly and annoying local girl who hints at a dark secret and who becomes a bad influence on Emma. As she continues to visit the girls and talk about Teresa, Sissy makes the summer dark, difficult and dangerous. Hahn is in fine form as she explores the story of a girl's apparent death (other words) from decades past that comes back to literally haunt the children of those closes to the truth. The characters are real and believable, though Emma seems to be more mature than her age. The mystery in the story grabs the readers and draws them in. A great read for a summer night or any time.

*Read more of Mary Downing Hahn's ghost stories: Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story, The Doll in the Garden: A Ghost Story, Promises to the Dead, The Old Willis Place: A Ghost Story, and All the Lovely Bad Ones: A Ghost Story.
*Invite discussions by asking questions like: Did anyone begin to suspect that Sissy was someone else pivotal to the mystery at Gull Cottage? How and why? Why do you think that Claire and Dulcie kept the mystery a secret?