Ghost Girl: The True Story of a Child in Desperate Peril-and a Teacher Who Saved Her

Ghost Girl: The True Story of a Child in Desperate Peril-and a Teacher Who Saved Her

by Torey Hayden


$12.94 $12.99 Save 0% Current price is $12.94, Original price is $12.99. You Save 0%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, November 20


From the bestselling author of One Child comes this compelling, true story of a child in desperate peril and the teacher who saved her despite the odds.

Jadie never spoke. She never laughed, or cried, or uttered any sound. Despite efforts to reach her, Jadie remained locked in her own troubled world…until one remarkable teacher persuaded her to break her self-imposed silence.

Nothing in all of Torey Hayden's experience could have prepared her for the shock of what Jadie told her—a story too horrendous for Torey's professional colleagues to acknowledge. Yet a little girl was living in a nightmare, and Torey Hayden responded in the only way she knew how—with courage, compassion, and dedication—demonstrating once again the tremendous power of love and the resilience of the human spirit.

“An amazing story.”—Washington Post



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062564382
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/23/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 306,920
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Torey Hayden is an educational psychologist and a former special education teacher who since 1979 has chronicled her struggles in the classroom in a succession of bestselling books. She lives and writes in the U.K.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
There were 152 miles between the city and Falls River and from there another 23 miles to Pecking. All of it was prairie, wide, flat, and open, interrupted only by the interstate. There were towns along the way, of course, although "town" was a rather grand description for most of them. The names, however, were always hopeful: Harmony, New Marseilles, Valhalla.

I'd allotted myself two and a half hours to cover the distance, setting off in the early morning darkness with an egg salad sandwich and a thermos of coffee. Given no nasty surprises in the January weather, I anticipated reaching Pecking by eight.

For much of the way mine was the only car on the road. In and around Falls River there was the bustle of rush hour traffic, but otherwise, nothing disturbed the white emptiness of the plains for mile after mile. A faint breeze eddied powderlike snow across the highway, making the tracks of my tires disappear as quickly as they were made. The sun rose, pale and indistinct in a white sky. A litter of sundogs scampered in an arc around it. Passing through one small town, I peered down the main street. The tirne-and-temperature sign read -38 degrees.

I was born and bred in the Montana Rockies, and my heart had remained in wide, wild places. Despite the enjoyable stimulation of city living, I found the confinement, the dirt, and especially the noise, oppressive. Consequently, what absorbed me most as I drove across the snow-covered prairie that January morning was not thoughts of the new life which lay ahead but rather a simple sense of unbridled freedom. I'd escaped from the city. I was alone with all that silent space around me, and the sense ofdeliverance it gave me verged on the ecstatic. I don't believe I actually thought about where I was going at all.

Fact was, it probably wasn't so much a case of not thinking as daring not to think. After nearly three years as a research coordinator and therapist at the Sandry Clinic, I'd thrown it all over in one wholly impulsive moment. Opening the Sunday newspaper one weekend before Christmas, I'd seen an advertisement for a special education teacher to fill a midyear vacancy in a class for the behaviorally disordered. A perfectly straightforward ad. Straightforward enough response, too. I saw it and I wanted it.

The strange part was that I hadn't been looking for a new job at the time. I hadn't even been thinking of looking. My time at the Sandry had been thoroughly enjoyable and professionally fulfilling. Staffed by seven psychiatrists and a handful of specialized psychologists like myself, the clinic was small, private, and pleasantly situated. I'd been taken on mainly for research expertise and for my experience in treating children with language-related psychological problems. In the years that followed, I'd often worked very hard and certainly there'd been a fair share of ups and downs, but the challenges had been worth it. I really did think I was happy there. Nothing available on a conscious level had clued me in to any desire to chuck the large, airy therapy room full of toys, the genial group of colleagues, and the stimulating research for another chance to gird my loins in denim and crawl around on some dusty classroom floor for the kind of money that would have paid traveling expenses at the clinic. But the Siren called and without a backward glance, I responded.

Like so many other little communities I'd passed through on my drive from the city, Pecking was in a state of sleepy decay. The wide, tree-lined streets testified to a time before the railroad had pulled out, before the interstate had passed it by, but now it stood, a wan ghost of small-town America, its A&W root beer stand still there but abandoned, its "Drink Coca-Cola" girl still gamely smiling from her faded mural on the side wall of the savings-and-loan building. The downtown district was virtually gone, all the big stores having moved to the shopping mall in Falls River. There was still a bank and a drugstore, a couple of cafes, a real estate agent, and a gas station on Main Street, and around the corner on First Street, a ranch store that sold saddles, boots, and hats, but there was no shopping district. What was available in Pecking had relocated far out on the southern fringe in an effort to tempt drivers from the interstate. A "shopping center" had been built there a few years before, and it consisted of a supermarket, another drugstore, and a parking lot so spacious it could no doubt have accommodated every car within five miles of Pecking and then some.

The school was on a side street two blocks over from Main. Built in 1898, it had once been the Pecking high school. The beautifully carved wooden plaque attesting to this status still hung above the door, although the word "High" had long since been puttied in. I didn't know how many schools there must have been in Pecking during its heyday, but this was all that was left now. An enormous monstrosity built from local sandstone, it housed grades K to six and the only special education classroom in the district.

"Good morning!" came a cheerful voice as I ascended the broad stone steps. One of the double doors swung open for me, and there stood Glen Tinbergen, the principal. "Getting settled in?"

"Just about," I replied and stamped snow from my feet. "But I don't get the keys to the apartment until Friday, so I've come down from the city this morning." Ghost Girl. Copyright © by Torey Hayden. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Ghost Girl 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I read by this author and I was not disappointed. It grabs at you, making you want to continue to read more and more until you are done. Her words, so descriptive they make you feel like you are there, right over her shoulder while all is happening. As soon as I was done with this book I ran out and purchased Beautiful Child. I could not put that one down either. Her writing is flawless. I can't imagine having seen the things she's seen/heard as a teacher for special ed children. But I recommend her books to everyone. It is tragic however, the terrible things that happened to those children. It's just unimaginable, until you actually read this book. Be warned-it is graphic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book. The first night I started reading at 9:00p.m and didn't stop until 2:00a.m! It was really a page turner and I COULD NOT put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is such a wondeful story. It has tear jerkers around every corner. Its such a horrifying story, knowing that some one has been treat this way. It makes me wonder how any one could ever treat anyone like the way Jadie was. Theres beauty and brilliance in every sentence. This story made me have a few tears in my eyes. Its definatly worth reading, and a tremendous 5 star!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story Hayden tells will leave your jaw dropped! It blows the mind to think that this is in fact a true story. I was intrigued, shocked, and ultimately moved to tears with Hayden's haunting story of such a broken little girl. A girl facing a darkness so disturbing I scarce could take it in. This book will have you staring at the cover days after you have finished it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found the book truly amazing. I had heard of Torey Hayden, and was intrigued to know more, so I went along to the book shop and looked up her name. I was surprised to find a selection of books, and through reading the blurb's on the back of the books, I was immediately drawn to Ghost Girl. The book was an incredible, and it deeply saddens me to know that people can be so cruel, and its horrible to know that things like that are actually happening in the world. I would like to thank Torey Haden for bringing us such an amazing account of the story. I loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Everything you read in this book is so surreal, torey is an amazing person and it just really makes you wonder like jadie if torey isnt god. this was probably the best book i have ever read. Every chapter i was finished with made me want to read more, i finished it in a day because i just COULDNT put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brace yourselves. This is a suspenseful, heart wrenching, and sadly, a truthful novel. But it is also eye-opening. I was riveted by the first chapter. As every sad detail of Jadie's life is revealed, I felt as if I was getting punched in the stomach. This book is so horrifying because it isn't fiction,it is fact. My heart just goes out to Jadie, and I admire her strength and determination. I recommend this to readers who are willing to find the hope in this book , to know that there are people like Torey who can help the children and inspire us to do the same.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat page after page. A teacher accepts a job as a teacher for the slower children ,in a small city but little that she knows she has a lot to deal with. She meets all the children and gets to know them well, then a little girl named Jadie comes after school everyday to play with dolls and other things. The only problem with this girl Jadie is that she doesn¿t talk in class, so Mrs. Hayden always tries to get her to talk but never could get anything out of her. Then finally one day she spoke, as she spoke she would tell some stories that didn¿t sound realistic, but later to come out that it really is true and Mrs. Hayden has a lot of thinking to do. When she finally comes to the bottom of everything it shocks her to find out the truth about it all. Ghost Girl by Torey L. Hayden would be a great book to read if you would understand the issues going on. That is why I am recommending this book to all to read it and love it. Once you get into the book you will never want to let it down til you get to the end. In the book you will never know what is going to happen next, and when it does it still shocks you for what the outcome is. This book is what you can call a ¿Page-turner.¿You never will find another book well written and well described like this one, once you read this you will want to read more books of the same author. When your done and finished you will be in totally awe because it is very surprising.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the book I'm only 11 years old but it was one of the best books I ever read. It is not a book I would reccomend for 9 and under
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another great read by Hayden. The only dissapointing aspect of the book was the lack of a solid conclusion. However, don't let that deter you from reading it. It is definately a great read and I recommend it to everyone.
opinion8dsngr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The things this book describes are horrifying and, by the author's own admission, hard to attempt to stomach or understand. Tory Hayden, a teacher with a long history of working with severely troubled young children in special education and institutional settings, finds herself teaching a child who keeps relating unbelievably horrific stories and memories. Risking her credability, and maybe her career, Hayden has to decide whether to act on the belief that the girl is telling the truth, or is violently schizophrenic. Not shoes that I would like to be in. Thankfully, using patience and courage, Hayden is able to stand on the other side of the story and tell how one little girl literally living in a living hell manages to get at least partially stronger and more stable.
debbiewalters on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Started this book last night (19/01/09) and finished it this afternoon (20/01/09). What a fantastic piece of writing and handled very tactfully. Torey Hayden is an educational psychologist and a special education teacher, who has worked in special units, where she teaches groups of about 5-8 kids, all of who have varying difficulties with learning and lots with varied behavioral problems-Ghost Child is based on facts of one of Torey's students in a small country school in the US. she has of course changed the names involved, but her telling of this little girls story hits the heart of this teacher!! Having worked in various school settings overseas and in Victoria, this story reminded me of some of the students I have dealt with-I could never write like Torey does, but I certainly loved reading this one and am looking forward to reading the rest of her tales.
Pickle115 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of Torey's best. She has been a favorite of mine for years and this book was my very first of hers, found by accident in a thrift store. I've read all of her books over and over...three or four of them more so than the others.
Heather19 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
*possible spoilers*Why do I continue to read true-story child abuse books like this one, when it makes me so upset and frustrated? I have no idea, but this book was certainly one of the most disturbing.Filled with references and memories of perverted ritual abuse, confusing almost hypnotic recounts of blood and spiders and definitely-not-subtle euphanisms for sexual acts, a book like this would freak me out anyway. But then add the knowledge that the victim was an eight year old girl and it's a true story.... Total mental overload.As the author herself mentions at the end of the book, it would be a million times more satisfying and relieving to have an actual end to this case, a cut-and-dry "this is what actually happened"... but real life just can't be that simple. The monsters who hurt Jadie and her sisters were never found, and technically it was never 100% proven that it all happened like she said. Which leaves me one very frustrated reader.
224perweek More than 1 year ago
Amazing the first time and still amazing.
the1butterfly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is, I think, the first Torey Hayden book I read back in high school, and, having reread it (and all the others I read) recently, I still find it an engrossing story. Torey is trying to solve a rather puzzling mystery: what has happened to this girl? Why does she act this way, and how can she be helped? This little girl's story is fascinating, and, as the truth emerges, we want to help her even more.
Prop2gether on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Slightly better than average "I taught unteachable/ unreachable children"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Ghost Girl" by Torey Hayden is an amazing book and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good read. In the book, Hayden writes about her true experience with a disturbed child and how she helps the child be pulled out of her awful world. The story begins when Torey Hayden gets a job as a special education elementary teacher in the small town of Pecking, but little did she know, she would have huge obstacles to deal with. Jadie, and eight-year-old girl in Torey's new class, never talked and looked miserable all the time. Despite numerous attempts to get Jadie to speak, no one ever could, so Torey wanted to be the one to help the young girl everyone else had given up on in order to pull her out of the dark world she was in. As time passes, Torey convinces Jadie to speak, but nothing could have prepared Torey for the horrendous, gruesome, awful stories Jadie shared about her life, and Jadie refused to share these stories with anyone but Torey. Now, the whole town is wondering whether Jadie has driven Torey to insanity with these stories, or if Jadie is really in pain with no way out. The book's major theme is that the power of love and the passionate determination of the human spirit can help anyone in extreme peril. Until Torey came along, Jadie has never opened up to anyone. But, Torey treated Jadie with love and compassion, which made Jadie feel wanted and like she was important enough to share her stories with Torey. Also, through all the frustration, Torey did not give up on Jadie. Torey was determined to get her better, and it taught Jadie that someone was willing to fight for her. There were many elements I loved about this book. I loved the story, and the fact that the story is true made it even more powerful. The author also used many similes and metaphors, which enhanced the book's power and made it come to life more. Furthermore, I loved that the author ended every chapter with a cliff hanger, which made me want to read on. I can honestly say there is nothing I disliked about this book, because everything about it was great. I believe someone should read this book because it is truly an inspiring story. The book is all about a woman helping a miserable child no one else could help, and it just inspires the reader to go do something good for someone in the world. I would also recommend this book because I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, and I did not know what was going to happen next which made me want to keep reading. The author of the book is Torey Hayden, who has other great books like "One Child" and "Just Another Kid." Overall, I give this book a five-star rating because it was amazing. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago