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Was Great til the Ending

Wait Till Helen Comes - Mary Downing Hahn

I was really enjoying this young adult ghost story until we got to the ending. I wish Hahn had gone a different route, or at least made it that things were not wrapped up so smoothly. Then again maybe I'm a blood thirsty reader who wanted some murder and mayhem to occur. 


Told in the first person, we follow 12 year old Molly as she and the rest of her blended family move from Baltimore to some random place in the country. 


Right away Hahn causes all my sympathies to lie towards Molly and her 10 year old brother Michael. Molly and Michael's mother Jean has remarried a man named Dave. Dave has a 7 year old daughter named Heather. Heather sucks. I don't care about how Hahn tries to absolve that kid of some of the things that goes on, but nope. She's awful. Her father is too.


Picture it, you're randomly just told that you and your brother and the rest of your blended family are moving out to the country. There goes your summer of hanging out with your friends, the ability for you to participate at a lot of events. Instead of you're getting moved to some old church so your mother and your stepfather can concentrate on their artistic endeavors. Frankly I kind of hope the parents would meet a bad end in this book. Because those two were probably two of the most selfish human beings ever. They sucked as parents and even partners. I just couldn't get over how Molly and Michael's mom just expected them to sit there and watch their terrible stepsister while she did things. Also I'm kind of baffled that they would move this family out somewhere randomly in the country that doesn't seem to have a school system set up to what the kids were used to. 


Once the family settles into the old church, things start to happen. They find out that they have a graveyard on their property, and a dilapidated home nearby as well. Things take a turn for the worse when it appears that Heather seems to be talking to someone named Helen and Heather keeps threatening Michael and Molly that when Helen comes she's going to make them pay. We have a lot of tension being built in the story as Molly starts to realize what's going on and nobody believes her. But also there's tension because a family of five plopped down in the middle of nowhere is going to have a lot of issues especially when half of the family doesn't appear to like each other much.


Molly is cast in the role of a modern-day Cassandra that will not be believed no matter what is being shown to everybody around her. Her brother Michael is a budding scientist and skeptic, and doesn't believe in ghosts. He just believes that Heather's doing what she can to get a rise out of Molly. The two parents are just oblivious and jerks and blame both Molly and Michael anytime Heather's upset about anything. Frankly it would have done everybody a lot of good of Heather had just been turned over somebody's knee and spanked, but there you go. And Heather is at turns dishonest, shows jealousy and just general jerkitude about everything that's going on. 


I did like the writing and thought that Hahn did a very good job of setting the mood so to speak. The illustration was pretty cool to look at at the beginning of the book that showed the layout of the church, the graveyard, Harper House, and the pond that is nearby. 


The flow was okay, though after the first couple of incidents you just kind of want the story to get on already. But this is a really short book and you can easily complete it in about an hour. 


This is definitely a good book to read on a rainy day or at night right before you go to bed. I have already said though I did find the ending to be just blah. I think Hahn could have gone for maximum horror effect if she had just decided to change the ending up and this would have easily been a five-star book in my mind.