Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn


Wait Till Helen Comes, Mary Downing Hahn, 1986

My favorite quote: “A breeze sighed through the leaves of the oak. It was the loneliest sound I’d ever heard, as lonely as a ghost who had been lying alone in the dark for a hundred years.”

Notable characters: Molly, the twelve-year-old main character; Michael, her little brother; Heather, their strange younger stepsister; Helen, Heather’s mysterious friend … who just so happens to be dead (because you can’t have too many dead friends, I don’t care who you are) 

Most memorable scene: What Molly sees — and hears — when she follows Heather to the graveyard. I’m not going to tell you what it is because then you’ll get all freaked out and send me hateful messages because I gave a spoiler, even though it’s not really a spoiler. So if you want to find out what happens when Molly follows Heather to the graveyard, you’re just going to have to read the book. You only have yourself to blame … 

Greatest strengths: I wasn’t expecting Wait Till Helen Comes to have such a strong emotional impact on me. I mean, I didn’t cry or anything (I reserve crying for more appropriate events such as weddings, funerals, or feigning medical emergencies so I can get ahead in long lines) but it was a surprisingly touching book  

Standout achievements: Though written for kids, Wait Till Helen Comes holds up amazingly well for adult readers. I’ve read it a lot and I actually like it better as an adult than I did as a kid (as a kid, I was disappointed by the lack of bloodshed, but in hindsight I can understand why Mary Downing Hahn might have deemed it unwise to slaughter all the children in her book — annoying though they may be) 

Fun Facts: Wait Till Helen Comes was the first book of Mary Downing Hahn’s to be turned into film, and she has a speaking role in the movie. I don’t know what she says because I haven’t seen it, but according to the interwebs, it’s so

Other media: The 2016 film of the same name, which is … wait for it … Wait Till Helen Comes

What it taught me: I was introduced to Wait Till Helen Comes at ten years old when my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Jorgensen (I realize you don’t need her name — you don’t know her, but she was very pretty and cool as hell and deserves a mention here) read it aloud to the class for Halloween. This was great for me, because I had a huge crush on Mrs. Jorgensen (again, she was very pretty and cool as hell) and this allowed me unlimited opportunity to admire her without feeling like I was staring. Somehow, I totally got into the story though and that’s when I learned that even as a child, there was one thing that could distract me from very pretty and cool-as-hell women: Ghosts!

How it inspired me: This, as I recall, is the book that began my love of ghost stories. While I’d read ghost stories before this one, it was Wait Till Helen Comes that really sealed the deal. For a year afterward, I haunted graveyards in search of an understanding undead friend of my very own … but alas … it wasn’t to be. I did find lots of pretty flowers to take to Mrs. Jorgensen, though

Additional thoughts: Because this book deals with such subjects as death and suicide, many parents have long tried to have it removed from school libraries. I, for one, am glad those attempts have failed. I don’t believe in books being removed from libraries. I do, however, believe in having narrow-minded, busy-body parents removed from libraries 

Haunt me: alistaircross.com

Read Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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