WAIT TILL HELEN COMES by Mary Downing Hahn

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Molly genuinely wants to be friends with her stepsister, Heather.  When the whole family moves out to an isolated home in the country, Molly hopes that she and her new little sister will be able to do things together–or at least get along.  But Heather is spoiled and self-absorbed and shows no interest in getting along with Molly or her brother, Michael.  In fact, she seems determined to get them in trouble with their mother and stepfather whenever possible.  As they get settled into their new house, however, Heather’s torments become more sinister.  She begins threatening Molly with an imaginary friend called Helen, and Molly begins to suspect that Helen is not as imaginary as her parents believe.  With her parents blaming her for the destruction that Helen causes, it is all up to Molly to figure out who or what Helen is and to protect Heather from her new “friend.”

Mary Downing Hahn has written some great ghost stories for children.  Wait Till Helen Comes is one of my favorites.  It is scary and suspenseful without relying on the shock value of grotesque content.  Elementary and middle grade readers who enjoy ghost stories should definitely check this one out!

If you liked Wait Till Helen Comes, you might like The Seer of Shadows by Avi.

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