Don't let the (short) length of Wait Till Helen Comes, by Mary Downing Hahn, fool you. There's enough creepiness packed into this slim volume to keep you reading long into the night--and jumping at every strange sound you hear as your house settles (pssst: don't turn off the light. Helen's coming to get you!).
The horror begins almost immediately when step-sisters Heather and Molly discover a creepy old graveyard in the woods behind their new home. At the weed-choked edge of this graveyard, the girls find a forgotten, moss-covered gravestone carved only with a set of initials and a date of death. This stone becomes an obsession for the girls, particularly for scardy-cat Molly, who is, perhaps, overly disturbed by its isolated location and its mysterious inscription. Her uneasiness soon transforms into terror when Heather begins visiting the stone, claiming she's met and befriended Helen, the spirit of the young girl buried beneath it. But Helen's no friendly ghost. She's an angry and vengeful spirit who, Molly learns, may very well be responsible for leading several children to their deaths in a nearby pond. And it's looking like Heather might be the next victim. Can Molly convince her step-sister of Helen's deadly agenda before it's too late?
Wait Till Helen Comes is one of our 2014 Oxford Middle School Battle of the Books selections. I first encountered it when I was in middle school, and found it seriously creepy back then! When I re-read it for the Battle, it was still just as creepy as I remembered! So if you're looking for something scary, something other than love triangles and Hunger Games wannabes, or just something you won't be able to put down, look no further than Wait Till Helen Comes! --AJB