Whether or not you believe in ghosts, the true-life experience of Arthur Mills deserves consideration. Find out who Candle Face was, her taunting behavior, and how she turned a boy's childhood into a living nightmare in The Empty Lot Next Door.
Read The Empty Lot Next Door if you...
• like true ghost stories and believe in haunted houses
• fear the paranormal and scare easily
• are afraid of the dark and sleep with the lights on
• like illustrated books (50 lifelike sketches)
• want to test the limits of your fear
The Empty Lot Next Door storyline
In a South Austin neighborhood, Ray (Arthur's childhood name) and his family excitedly moves into a small house standing in the midst of a big, green lawn. Beside their house is a strange, vacant lot where a house apparently once stood, and where a huge wide hole in the back lays mysteriously. As a young boy with a lot of new friends, Ray considers the empty lot as an exciting playground. But the tale behind the lot keeps the boy intrigued and frightened as he learns that the house that was once there was burned down years ago, leaving a girl dead amid the fire. The little girl, as the neighborhood kids say, comes out in the night to regain her life. Determined to validate the authenticity of this tale, Ray daringly and mistakenly challenges the ghost, a challenge that he would forever regret. Soon, he becomes haunted by the little girl, who he named as Candle Face, visiting his dreams and leaving handprints and other signs even when he is awake.
Many years later, Ray, now a military man, commits another mistake by telling his wife about his dark past. Along with the tale of the empty lot, he discloses to her the truth about the circumstances of his brother's suicide and the dreams of torment he and Candle Face bestowed upon him for many years. With the past once again revived, Ray faces another set of nightmares, this time with his loved ones' lives at stake.
Woven with a mind-boggling plot and hair-raising play of words, The Empty Lot Next Door follows Ray in confronting the past to move on to the future. This release, part-memoir and part-fiction, will never fail to hook readers with every turn of the page.
What the critics are saying
Critics agree that The Empty Lot Next Door is a ghost story at its finest, perhaps all the more so because it's a true story. Professional book critic Lisa McCurley says, "After the first night of sleeping with the light on, I ended up taking off two afternoons from work to finish it which is all it took because I couldn't put this book down." Kirkus Reviews agrees, "In a coming-of-age story that's well paced and layered with emotion, Mills creates moments of true suspense through guileless prose as he unearths a family tragedy." Anyone who enjoys being scared, or who wants to probe into whether ghosts are real, will add The Empty Lot Next Door to the "must read" list.
When Arthur Mills wrote The Empty Lot Next Door, some neighbors and even family quit speaking to him; they didn't want to acknowledge the local element of his true-life story of ghosts, suicide, and bullying, but that didn't stop his new book from winning awards.
Reviewers Choice Awards
• Kids Award for Best Teen / Young Adult Book of the Year
• Teen (12-16) - First Place
• Regional South - First Place
• Parenting, Family, and Relationships - Honorable Mention
Get your copy today!
|Publisher:||Branching Plot Books|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.65(d)|
About the Author
Arthur is the creator of Branching Plot Books, a book series devoted to reader interaction and double entendre. Aided by voice recognition software, Arthur has been able to pen novels to captivate people of all ages. Whether it's the horror of The Empty Lot Next Door, or the interactivity of The Crawl Space, Arthur's main goal in writing has always been to develop a deeper means of communication with the world-both real and imagined.
When not working on his latest novel, Arthur is a full-time husband and father. He and his wife, Yonsun, have two children, Arthur and Allen and live within the lush Washington landscape.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Lisa McCurley for Reader Views (07/10) "The Empty Lot Next Door" is a tale of a haunting based on the actual experiences of the author, Arthur M. Mills, Jr., at about age eleven. After a move out of the projects and into a regular house in a better neighborhood, Ray (Arthur's nickname) has great expectations for a normal life. The youngest of four brothers in a family faced with financial trouble and emotional distress, Ray instead endures an ordeal so terrifying, so confusing, that years went by before he could tell a soul about it. This is the story of his visits from Candle Face, the girl rumored to have died in the house fire next door, and who relentlessly tormented him. But this story is much more than a ghost story. It is also a story of the desperation, the pain and the helplessness experienced by children whose parents work long hours away from home, necessarily leaving them to fend for themselves against both real and imagined evils. It's about sibling abuse, and the scars that such abuse leaves on the victim as well as the abuser. And this is the story of the intense struggle of a child to make sense of the world without communicating his fears and thoughts to the adults in his life since he doesn't want to add to the family's problems. I began to read this book at my usual reading time, right before bed. After the first night of sleeping with the light on, I ended up taking off two afternoons from work to finish it which is all it took because I couldn't put this book down. The story is related in such a way that I could truly felt the author's fear, pain and anxiety. As a mother of two teenage boys, I could so hear the eleven-year-old heart and mind in these pages. There are some places where the information is a little jumbled but it even furthers the style to that of a story told by an eleven-year-old. "The Empty Lot Next Door" is gripping, frightening and well-paced. After the last page I cried; not only because the book was over, but because I was so moved by the emotional experience this little boy had to go through. I would so like to see "The Empty Lot Next Door" become a movie. It's a thrilling ghost story, but it is also so much more. Since I live in Austin, I have decided to make a trip to the setting to see it for myself, and wonder if I will see Candle Face. I'm taking a friend, just in case.
I really enjoyed this book, it was an incredible and startling story of a boy and his family who moves to a new home. Ray soon discovers that the empty lot is haunted by the ghost of a little girl who died in the house that used to be there. In addition to this disturbing experience he also has to deal with trouble from his brothers and family issues. This was a lot for a child to endure. It is a jaw-dropping story based on real life events.
The Empty Lot Next Door is a chilling true to life ghost story that captures your imagination and takes it on a frightening ride. Author Arthur Mills Junior sets the stage for a terrifying experience. When young Ray and his three brothers move into a new neighborhood in Austin Texas they discover that the house next door had burned down. Their previous dwelling was in the projects so you can feel their anticipation and excitement on moving up to their own house in a better neighborhood. Ray is raised by his mother and his stepfather. His stepfather is his mother’s third husband and they do not have any children together however, his stepfather is truly a loving and supportive role model for Ray and where Ray gets his childhood name from. Unfortunately, Ray experiences torment and bullying at the hands of his older brothers who have spiraled out of control and the ghost of a girl who died in the fire that destroyed the house next door. Ray also must survive the childhood loss of his brother by suicide. The writing is fluid and natural. I was immersed in the characters, the scenery and the dialogue. There are a number of truly frightening moments and some that left me in tears. The dysfunctional family element is a breeding ground for the evil that presents itself in Ray’s life. It is amazing that he went on to be such a success in his own right. His childhood experiences represent a hell that he was lucky to escape. This story evokes many aspects including faith, love, fear, death, suspense, mystery and resolution. I highly recommend it!
Creepy, Very Creepy I heard a live interview with the author of The Empty Lot Next Door on a paranormal radio show and was instantly creeped out. It makes it much worst knowing that it’s based on a true story. While I doubt all of it is really true, something in the back of my mind tells me that the ghost Candle Face was/is real and I shouldn’t go around doubting her or I’ll be her next target. Lol. Anyway, The book is a fast read and the pictures are great. There are about three dozen drawings and they really helped draw me into the story. But at the same time, I wish I can get Candle Face out of my mind. If you like a good scary story - this is for you.
WOW! The Empty Lot Next Door is indeed much more than a ghost story. After spending three nights reading the book, I came to the conclusion that it’s mostly about how a young boy learnt to deal with a ghost and eventually fighting it in order to stay alive. But when my wife read the book, she says it’s more about a young boy dealing with a dysfunctional family and the book had little to do with a ghost. We read the same book but how could we read it so differently? According to the author’s website, all his books are written in the double entendre (double meanings) style so it would make since for the book to be understood in different ways. How clever of you Mr. Mills! In any case, the book was fun, sad, and frightening all at the same time. I have to agree with several other reviews when they say that the book seemed to wonder off at times but at the same time, I think it’s all by design. It honestly felt like the author was sitting next to me telling me the story instead of me reading the story. Again, very clever of you Mr. Mills!
I was in a local bookstore in Austin, TX when I overheard members of a small book club discussing The Empty Lot Next Door. Most of the members talked about how much they enjoyed the book while two members said they couldn’t finish the book because it was too scary. Since I’m from Austin and this is a local true-life ghost story, I thought about giving it a try. I looked for the book but couldn’t find it so I ordered it on-line. I read the book in a span of three days. Yes, it was scary but not in the gory-bloody kind of way. It was scary in the when-will-the-ghost-attack-next kind of way. Candle Face, the girl-like ghost is extremely creepy and similar to the girl from the movie, “The Ring” but ten times worst. The book is told in a young boy’s perspective and somewhat jumps around a little bit but and the same time, it helps remind the reader that the book is told in a young boy’s point of view. I would recommend The Empty Lot Next Door for people who like true-life ghost stories and who like a good scary story right before bedtime! But, there was some really sad moments so get the hankies out!
According to other reviews, The Empty Lot Next Door is a ghost story. Of course it’s a ghost story but I see the story more about bullying than about ghosts. The main characters, Ray and Richard are brothers who are bullied by everyone. Richard gets the worst of the bullying. The book goes into great painful detail of the beatings Richard received from bullies and how he didn’t fight back. Ray on the other hand is bullied by the ghost Candle Face. At first Ray doesn’t fight back either but he eventually learns to fight back and takes on the ghost. Without giving away the ending, I can say Ray’s transformation throughout the story is amazing. Unfortunately, Richard doesn’t favor as well. I’m so glad the author is focusing his writing on such an important topic - bullying and suicide awareness - and making the topic entertaining. Thanks Arthur.