|One for sorrow : a ghost story
Author: Hahn, Mary Downing
When unlikeable Elsie dies in the influenza pandemic of 1918, she comes back to haunt Annie to make sure she'll be Annie's best--and only--friend soon.
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 191104
|Reading Counts Information:
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 3.80
Points: 15.0 Quiz: 69779
Kirkus Reviews (05/15/17)
School Library Journal (-) (07/01/17)
The Hornbook (00/05/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 05/15/2017 The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 was no respecter of age, so it’s no real surprise that it should have taken the life of 12-year-old Elsie Schneider. In life, Elsie had been a pest and, worse, a tattletale, liar, and thief. Clingy by nature, she had aspirations to be the best friend of Annie Browne, the new girl at school. But Annie resists her overtures and even joins a group of girls in teasing and picking on Elsie. But now Elsie has returned from the dead as a horrible specter. A pest in life, Elsie has become evil in death, determined to have her revenge and to make Annie her (shudder) best friend against her will, even if it means turning all of Annie’s friends against her. Hahn is a veteran author who clearly knows her apples about writing ghost stories, as this, her latest inventive page-turner, evidences. She does an excellent job of creating mood and, in Annie and especially in Elsie, memorably complex characters. Shivers aplenty, but also genuine emotion that will invite empathy. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2017 Gr 4–7—In September of 1918, Annie Browne moves to Mount Pleasant, MD, and begins attending an all-girls school. Well liked at her old school, Annie isn't prepared for the immediate derision her classmates, especially popular Rosie, direct at her after she's befriended by outcast Elsie Schneider. Elsie is considered a thief, a liar, and a tattletale, and Annie quickly agrees. So when Elsie is out sick for a week, Annie takes advantage of her freedom to make new friends. Soon Annie joins the other girls in bullying Elsie, both emotionally and physically. But when Elsie becomes a victim of the deadly Spanish influenza pandemic, her desire for revenge—and for Annie's friendship—doesn't die with her. While the historical aspects of the novel appear to be accurate, Hahn doesn't provide any reference materials, and her integration of period-appropriate cultural elements such as games, books, and rhymes becomes over-the-top toward the end of the narrative. In addition, with the exception of Annie's mother, every character remains convinced that Elsie deserves to be mistreated; readers may come away with the impression that the author condones bullying. On the upside, the scenes with the ghostly Elsie are fairly terrifying. VERDICT Readers seeking a scary story would be better served by Neil Gaiman's Coraline, while Gloria Whelan's Listening for Lions offers a much more compelling look at the Spanish influenza epidemic. An additional purchase.—Kaitlin Frick, New York Public Library - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.