Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story
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Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story

4.7 663
by Mary Downing Hahn
     
 

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Molly and Michael aren't very happy about moving with their mother and her new husband into a converted church—and they particularly dislike their younger stepsister, Heather. If that's not bad enough, Heather starts talking to a ghost named Helen and warning Molly and Michael that Helen is coming for them.

Overview

Molly and Michael aren't very happy about moving with their mother and her new husband into a converted church—and they particularly dislike their younger stepsister, Heather. If that's not bad enough, Heather starts talking to a ghost named Helen and warning Molly and Michael that Helen is coming for them.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A ghost story par excellence in which a difficult seven-year-old is drawn into a frightening relationship with the ghost of a dead child." — Booklist, ALA, starred review

"Genuinely scary, complete with dark secrets from the past, unsettled graves, and a very real ghost." -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"An unusually scary, well-crafted ghost fantasy." -- Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4-7 Ghost story fans have a spooky treat in store with Hahn's eerie new novel. Molly, the 12-year-old narrator, and her brother Michael dislike their bratty 5-year-old stepsister Heather and resent the family move to an isolated converted church in the country. The adjourning graveyard frightens Molly, but Heather seems drawn to it. Molly discovers that the ghost of a child (Helen) who died in a fire a century ago wants to lure Heather to her doom. Molly determines to save her stepsister. In so doing, she learns that Heather's strange behavior stems from her feelings of guilt at having accidentally caused her mother's death by playing near a stove and starting a fire. Eventually, Molly wrests Heather from Helen's arms as the ghost attempts to drown them. The girls discover the skeletons of Helen's parents, and their burial finally puts to rest Helen's spirit. This is a powerful, convincing, and frightening tale. The details of everyday life quickly give way to terror. The pace never slackens. Characterization is strong, and descriptive passages set a mood of suspense. There should be a heavy demand from readers who are not ``faint at heart.'' Judy Greenfield, Rye Free Reading Room, N.Y.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547028644
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/21/2008
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
79,620
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"You've Bought a church?" Michael and I looked up from the pile of homework covering most of the kitchen table. I was in the middle of writing a poem for Mr. Pelowski's English class, and Michael was working his way happily through twenty math questions.

Mom filled a kettle with water and put it on the stove. Her checks were pink from the March wind, and so was the tip of her nose. "You and Molly will love it," she promised. "It's exactly the sort of place Dave and I have been looking for all winter. There's a carriage house for him to use as a pottery workshop and space in the choir loft for me to set up a studio. It's perfect."

"But how can we live in a church?" Michael persisted, refusing to be won over by her enthusiasm.

"Oh, it's not really a church anymore," Mom said. "Some people from Philadelphia bought it last year and built an addition on the side for living quarters. They were going to set up an antique store in the actual church, but, after doing all that work, they decided they didn't like living in the country after all."

"It's out in the country?" I frowned at the little cat I was doodling in the margin of my notebook paper.

Mom smiled and gazed past me, out our kitchen window and into Mrs. Overton's window directly across the alley. I had a feeling she, was seeing herself standing in front of an easel, working on one of her huge oil paintings, far from what she called the "soul-killing life of the city." She has a maddening habit of drifting away into her private dream world just when you need her most.

"Where is the church? " I asked loudly.

"Where is it?" Mom poured boiling water into her cup and added honey. "It's in Holwell, Maryland, not far from the mountains. It's beautiful. Just beautiful. The perfect place for painting and potting."

"But what about Molly and me? What are we supposed to do while you and Dave paint and make pottery?" Michael asked.

"You promised I could be in the enrichment program this summer," I said, thinking about the creative writing class I was planning to take. "Will I still be able to?"

"Yes, and what about Science Club?" Michael asked. "I'm already signed up for it. Mr. Phillips is going to take us to the Aquarium and the Science Center and even to the Smithsonian in Washington."

Mom sighed and shook her head. "I'm afraid you two will have to make other plans for summer. We'll be moving in June, and I can't possibly drive all the way back to Baltimore every day."

"But I've been looking forward to Science Club all year!" Michael's voice rose, and I could tell he was trying hard not to cry.

"You'll have plenty of woods to explore," Mom said calmly. "Just think of all the wildlife you can observe and the insects you can add to your collection. Why, the day Dave and I were there, we saw a raccoon, a possum, a woodchuck, and dozens of squirrels." Mom leaned across the table, smiling, hoping to convince Michael that he was going to love living in a church way out in the country, miles away from Mr. Phillips and Science Club.

But Michael wasn't easy to convince. Slumping down in his chair, he mumbled, "Id rather stay in Baltimore, even if I never see anything but cockroaches, pigeons, and rats."

"Oh, for heaven's sake, Michael!" Mom looked exasperated. "You're ten years old. Act like it!"

As Michael opened his mouth to defend himself, Heather appeared in the kitchen doorway, responding, no doubt, to her built-in radar for detecting trouble. Her pale gray eyes roved from Mom to Michael, then to me, and back again to Mom. From the expression on her face, I imagined she was hoping to witness bloodshed, screams, a ghastly scene of domestic violence.

"Why, Heather, I was wondering where you were!" Mom turned to her, infusing her voice with enthusiasm again. "Guess what? Your daddy and I have found a new place for us to live, way out in the country. Won't that be fun?" She gave Heather a dazzling Romper-Room smile and reached out to embrace her.

With the skill of a cat, Heather sidestepped Mom's arms and peered out the kitchen window. "Daddy's home," she announced without looking at us.

"Oh, no, I forgot to put the casserole in the oven!" Mom ran to the refrigerator and pulled out a concoction of eggplant, cheese, tomatoes, and bulgur and shoved it into the oven just as Dave opened the back door, bringing a blast of cold March air into the room with him.

After giving Mom a hug and a kiss, he swooped Heather up into his arms. "How's my girl?" he boomed.

Heather twined her arms possessively around his neck and smiled coyly. "They were fighting, " she said, darting a look at Michael and me.

Dave glanced at Mom, and she smiled and shook her head. "We were just discussing our big move to the country, that's all. Nobody was fighting, Heather." Mom turned on the cold water and began rinsing lettuce leaves for a salad.

"I don't like it when they fight." Heather tightened her grip on Dave's neck.

"Come on, Michael." I stood up and started gathering my books and papers together. "Let's finish our homework downstairs."

"Dinner will be ready in about half an hour," Mom called after us as we started down the basement steps.

As soon as we were safely out of everybody's hearing range, I turned to Michael. "What are we going to do?"

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A ghost story par excellence in which a difficult seven-year-old is drawn into a frightening relationship with the ghost of a dead child." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

Meet the Author

Mary Downing Hahn is the best-selling author of more than twenty award-winning books for young readers, including Stepping on the Cracks, which won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Anna on the Farm is the follow-up to Anna All Year Round, both based on the author’s mother’s memoirs about growing up in Maryland pre-World War I.

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Wait till Helen Comes 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 663 reviews.
Ashley96 More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book!!!! It is Amazing!! The story is wonderful, Amazingly Written, and scary. Mary Downing hahn is an Amazing writer, trust me, READ THIS BOOK!!!!! Amazing book!!!
TreesinBrooklyn More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It was the first Mary Downing Hahn book I read and it got me hooked on her ghost stories. Now she is my favorite author and Wait Till Helen Comes is still my favorite Mary Downing Hahn book. It is about a girl who has a really bratty stepsister...but then her sis starts acting weird. This isn't one of those "Friendly Ghost" stories, I assure you. But it also doesn't leave you wondering about Helen, and why in the world she would do all those things. Everyone had a story and it made for a chilly but warming (sort of warming...at the end) novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wait til Helen Comes is about a girl named heather whose mother died in a fire years ago. Now her father is married to Jean who has two kids, Michael and Molly. Heather tells lies to her father to get them in trouble. Heather is a hateful little girl and hard to get along with. Yet she makes a ghost friend when they move into a church. This book teaches you an important lesson about being friends and being brave when something bad is about to happen. I liked this book because it is scary. This book is great for you if you want to be scared. Check it out!!!
seattle1985 More than 1 year ago
I remember reading this when I was about 12 or so, I have been looking for it ever since (so about 11 years). I couldn't remember the name up until I saw it mentioned in a BN book club. Anyway, this book scared the living daylights out of me, but in such a good way. It's got to be one of the best ghost stories for younger girls I have ever read. I am actually considering ordering it and rereading it, since my copy is long gone. If you are a girl in the age range of 9-13 (depending on your maturity), or you are buying for one, and you are looking for a great scary story, this is totally it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
On a scale of 1 to 10 this book was an 11! It takes a few chapters to get into it but once you do it is a really exciting mystery. I like reading about ghosts and mysteries so I loved this book. The book also had a happy ending and I like that too. Added by Mom: The book is not too scary - but there is a real ghost in it - and has some good points for discussion - about why people do things and about forgiveness.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book just played a little movie in my mind. I wish that anybody could have this book! I almost thought that this story could happen in the real world. this book is about how these two sisters deal threw not talking to each other then everything changes when Helen comes to ruin all of the family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. It had great detail. Not only that, but it went really smooth. It really fritened me, I felt like it was a movie. It really got me thinking, I asked myself lots of Questions like is there really such things as ghosts? or like How do the charictors feal in this posistion? or are the charictors worried? All I have to say is this book is one of the best books I have ever read, after 'Someone Like You'.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am pretty picky about ghost storys. I did not really know if i would like it or not, but i read it and WOW it is now my all time favorite book. I can really relate to Molly too!! I WOULD RECOMENDED FOR AGES: 8_ 12 love this book!!!
WhitneyRosie More than 1 year ago
This book is really good! Most of it is action and spine-chilling, but the only part I don't like is how mch of a brat Heather is, even when I found out why, I still really didn't like her. If you're interseted in ghost books, this is the book for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mary is a amazing book writer. After I read the first page of this book I was so into this book. Ghost stories are my type of books. Keep writing ghost stories Mary!!!!!!
sandy_pandy401 More than 1 year ago
One of three of my all time favorite books!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was more than great!It was just creepy enough.If you are looking for a book you can't put down,GET IT!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this and I absolutely loved it! If you are interested in spirits/ghosts then you will love this book like I did :).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was so scared for Molly and Heather I almost cried. It is a great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My 5th grade teacher read this book to us and it was awesome it is an edge of ur seat kind of book. Get it get it not a waste of money
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We are readingtihs in class and we watgced the trailer i was so scared
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Omg i love this book i couldnt put it down once i started it! Such an intence mystery!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have to read it. Press yes if you agree.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i just finished reading this book for my second time, and it is still such a great book. It's the type of book that you just dont want to put down! It is a great story about a 12 year old girl Molly. Molly has a brother, and now that Molly's mom married Dave, Molly has a step sister, Heather. When this family moves out in the country in a house that used to be a church and a graveyard in the backyard, Molly gets scared. But more fear is to come when Heather says there is a ghost, Hellen, who is Heather's friend, and is now going to come get revenge on Molly and her brother for all the things they have done to Heather. So, just WAIT TILL HELEN COMES!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!!! Once i opened the book there was no stopping me till i was done i love the way she describes a sceen when u keep reading it you just read it faster and faster like your actually there!! It an awesome book you should really read it!!!:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
4 anone who hasnt read it... READ IT!!!!! ITS SO AMAZING!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG!!! I love this book sooo much! Trust me you have to read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of hahns best books it kept me guessing til thee end
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best ghost story ever!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book