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397 Reviews
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't say enough about it!
I first read this book about 15 years ago. I've probably read it at least 50 times. It wasn't a book - it was an experience. I mean, how often does this happen - a stranger comes up to you because you're holding a book, says they knew they had to talk to you when they saw it, you bond over it and go on to be friends for years. That's what kind of book this is...
Published on March 29, 2004

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great
First, the good. The author's use of language, while not in the top class, was well above average and I believe that children can only benefit from reading the beautiful descriptions. I think many children of the age at which this book was aimed will identify with the protagonist -- her heightened emotions, her sensitivity, her feelings of isolation, and her interest in...
Published on April 5, 2012 by Mrs. Robinson


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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't say enough about it!, March 29, 2004
By A Customer
I first read this book about 15 years ago. I've probably read it at least 50 times. It wasn't a book - it was an experience. I mean, how often does this happen - a stranger comes up to you because you're holding a book, says they knew they had to talk to you when they saw it, you bond over it and go on to be friends for years. That's what kind of book this is...!
This is a scary book. I wouldn't go near anything or anyone with the name "Helen" or "Harper" for years. This book also got me started reading the other books by Mary Downing Hahn. Every time I went to a library or bookstore, I immediately looked for new books by her.
I know my paperback is around here someplace (I remember the library hardcover's much nicer cover illustration...) but I haven't read it in a while. However, little bits of it or certain phrases from it pop up for me now and then... I think the book got so ingrained in me that I don't even notice it! Parts of it were so vivid and (fittingly) haunting - the link between the girls' names, the ruins of the house, the damage done to Molly and Michael's rooms, the creek that wound around through the forest and near the graveyard before finally leading to Harper Pond. Thinking about it still gives me chills.
Excellent... I can't recomend it enough.
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, July 4, 2004
By 
This is an amazingly well-crafted ghost story. Spooky without ever being really scary, it is a good read for anyone of any age.

Molly's mother has remarried, and the new family (including Molly's brother Michael and new step-sister, Heather) moves out to the countryside so that the artist parents can have studio space. Heather, however, is a horrible little brat that tries to make Molly and Michael's life a nightmare. Since she is younger than Molly or Michael, and still hasn't gotten over her mother's death, Molly and Michael always get blamed. Even when Heather starts claiming that she can see a ghost named Helen, who is coming to get Molly...

I have a very low fear tolerance, and still can't watch horror movies (Christine scared the living daylights out of me as a teenager, and I couldn't sleep for days), but I still love this book. I re-read it every year on Halloween for years, and I still enjoy reading it. Any child, teenager, or adult who likes ghost stories should definately pick this one up.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helen's crazy idea, October 20, 2005
A Kid's Review
The book Wait Helen Comes is one of the scariest books I have ever read. It's a mysery and ghost story by Mary Downing Hawn. The book's about a ghost named Helen who died in a fire.A girl named Molly,her step-sister named Heather who's mom died in a fire ,and her brother Michael who thinks everything has a scientifical explanation.

I liked the part when Heather got back the locket from Helen.But I didn't like that the only thing on the letter was don't forget me.But I wonder if Michael will beleve in Helen.

I think that the theme is love is strongest overall. In the book two charecters did horrible things.But they where forgiven by other charecters.So I think that love is strongest overall.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great, April 5, 2012
First, the good. The author's use of language, while not in the top class, was well above average and I believe that children can only benefit from reading the beautiful descriptions. I think many children of the age at which this book was aimed will identify with the protagonist -- her heightened emotions, her sensitivity, her feelings of isolation, and her interest in poetry and fantasy. Even though some of her interests are a bit dated more than 25 years after the book was written (do prepubescent girls still like unicorns?), it is a convincing portrait of a girl that age, capturing both the sense of wonder and the angst.

I think a lot of kids will find this story cathartic and moving and will benefit from its basic message, that parents (normal parents, I should stress) will love their children no matter what. I also think that it might help children to cope with feelings about death. One of the other reviewers criticized Molly's dark view of death, and while she had a point, I do think that the author realistically portrayed the fear and anguish that a child -- or anyone of any age, indeed -- would have when first having to confront mortality.

Now, the bad. Molly and Michael are realistically portrayed, but their parents and Heather are not. The message about a parent's unconditional love would be much more convincing if this particular mother and father had actually acted loving before the book's end. On the one hand, you have a man who spoils his daughter and is completely fixed on an obviously unrealistic view of her while at the same time refusing to do anything that would really help her, like send her to a counselor or try to facilitate a good relationship between her and her stepsiblings. We're supposed to believe that this man is normal and loving, but his tunnel vision makes him seem more like somebody with a personality disorder. On the other hand, we have a mother who is so obsessed with trying to keep her immature new husband happy that she has almost zero sympathy to spare for her children, even expecting her daughter to spend all of her time watching out for a seven-year-old who clearly hates her. Even factoring in the stress of the mother's situation, it is hard to believe that a mother who is obviously loved by her children and is said to have once lived with them in great happiness would start behaving with so much insensitivity and irresponsibility.

I realize that adult actions often appear selfish and incomprehensible to children even when the adults are in the right, but this is extreme. Never once do either of the adults show any consideration or understanding of their children. They really bought a house out in the country without so much as mentioning it till it was a done deal? This supposedly loving mother really tricked her kids into thinking they were moving to a town rather than an isolated rural area? She really completely brushed off their unhappiness over losing everything familiar and enjoyable to them? I could go on.

Heather was shown, until the end, as a hackneyed evil child lifted straight from horror movies. I kept on expecting her to knife someone. I think the reader could use a few more hints that she is traumatized, not evil.

This is a decent book and children, who are frequently not discerning readers, may not notice that this is an extreme, almost unmitigatedly negative portrayal of a mother and father. I do think they would benefit more from the book's good message if the adults showed at least occasional glimmers of interest in anything but themselves.

A better ghost story for this age group, with some similar themes, is "Mirror of Danger" by English author Pamela Sykes. Not only is the book stylistically excellent and imaginative with a wholly satisfying, believable ending, it has a couple of the best parent characters I've ever encountered. Solidly real, with defined, interesting personalities. Not perfect, but caring. Giving their children some independence and responsibility without taking a hands-off approach. And it works! Total adult absence and indifference to their children is not necessary in order to have a story that is about the experience of children, told from their viewpoint. And the children's own feelings are realistically portrayed as complex, not the black and white you get in this book. Unfortunately, "Mirror of Danger" is out of print.

A word about this audio version: The actress who reads the story is a good reader and does a good job of doing different voices so that you know who's speaking, but she accentuates the "demon child" portrayal of Heather by giving her such an insipid, cloying, nasty tone.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four and a half - good story, but too bratty!, August 7, 2006
It is a new beginning for Molly, her brother Michael, and their mom, after she remarries Dave and his daughter, Heather. They just moved into the country in a house that was converted from a church, complete with a graveyard in the backyard. Things are already hard with Heather, who acts bratty and wants nothing more than to have her father all back to herself again. Yet, she continues to get away with it because her mother died in a fire and everyone feels sorry for her. Now that the "family" has moved, things get harder and Heather pulls away even more. No one believes Molly when she tells them that a ghost of a drowned girl is after Heather, so it is up to her to save Heather. Meanwhile, Heather does all she can to breakup the family.

I think that the story moves quickly and builds up the creepy momentum all the way to the end. It is all that a ghost story should be and very much fun. Yet, I just thought that Heather was soo bratty and her father soo naïve, that is was almost unbearable. I think it took away from the story, just a bit. Other than that, I think it was great - highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth your attention!, April 26, 2014
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This review is from: Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story (Paperback)
Very good story with goosebumpy creep factor! Appropriate for teens and adults! Was a gripping story with lots of chills but a happy ending!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing, April 16, 2014
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Loved this book!!!amazing!!!!definently
Will read this again,!!my sister read it and she also loved this book to she said it was very good and a page turner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, April 15, 2014
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It's so good I love it these are very very good books that u write I love them your the best
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, March 25, 2014
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This is one of my favorite books I would tell people it is kinda scary but I think it is a awesome book just wait till Helen comes
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary but Not Scary, February 2, 2014
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Jen Cubberly (Webberville, MI USA) - See all my reviews
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Wait Till Helen Comes is a very fascinating story. I love it, that's for sure! It's spine tingling but Not Scary enough to give you nightmares. I've read this book about a hindered times, and every time I turn the page, the hair on the back of my neck stand on edge. Now, if you don't want your child to read horror stories, then don't get this book, because this book is very horrifyingly suspenseful!
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Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story
Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn (Paperback - April 21, 2008)
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