- Age Range: 10 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 5 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Clarion Books; 1st Edition edition (March 18, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0618854673
- ISBN-13: 978-0618854677
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 138 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,089,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hardcover – March 18, 2008
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I have been disappointed by most of the ghost stories I've read over the past few years. Sometimes nothing really happens until a little bit of ambiguous nonsense on the next to last page. Or we get gruesome hyper-violence. Or we get psycho-thriller literary gamesmanship. Not so with this book.
Here, we start with an Inn with a history of hauntings. Two visiting kids decide to fake some ghosty activity and end up waking up the real ghosts. From the blurbs that sounds like the sum of the plot. But no, without doing too much SPOILING it is fair to say that the awakening of the ghosts is really the start of the story, with action, mystery, a deep backstory and some very touching and/or scary interactions with ghosts.
The book is fast paced, with a crisp and direct style appropriate for the target reading demo. It's scary, but in an honest thrills sort of way. The book doesn't turn on violent scenes, but is suspenseful and has it's scary moments. The narrator, the older of the two visiting kids, has a matter of fact but reasonably personable style that doesn't overshadow the action. There is a fair amount of mild humor, and some nicely turned phrases and descriptions. The overall effect is tight, well crafted and efficient. There is a fair amount of monologuing, but that doesn't interrupt the flow of the story and keeps the plot on track for younger readers.
So, this turned out to be a very satisfying, classically scary and entertaining ghost story with a lot more going for it that I had expected. A nice find.
In "All the Lovely Bad Ones", a pair of siblings who love playing pranks find that the joke is on them when they visit their grandmother at her inn in Vermont during the summer. Both twelve-year-old Travis and his younger sister Corey love playing tricks on people, and when they hear that their grandmother's inn may harbor restless spirits, they playact as ghosts in a bid to get the inn some attention and hopefully more guests for their grandmother's business. Their tricks do attract attention - from both humans and supernatural entities!
To Travis and Corey's horror, they find that the inn was once a poorhouse which was run by a cruel and greedy man and his sister. Many poor people died horrible deaths at the farm, and were buried in nameless graves. Among the dead are young boys who are now restless spirits, having been awakened from their sleep by Travis and Corey's shenanigans. Both brother and sister now have to set things right and put the spirits to rest at last.
The story moves along, though at times it does appear to drag. The back story of how the poor farm was run and what happened to its hapless residents makes for interesting reading. Travis and Corey are typical fun-loving teens though they can be annoying at times. Overall, it is an atmospheric ghost story that might appeal to upper elementary readers.