- Reading level: Ages 9-12
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Sandpiper; Reissue edition (April 21, 2008)
- ISBN-10: 0547028644
- Source: Personal copy
When twelve-year-old Molly and her brother, Michael, are forced to move out to the country with their mother, step-father, & step-sister, they are devastated. Their new home is a converted church with grave yard in the back yard. Over the summer, they are forced to watch over their bratty five-year-old step sister, Heather. Heather enjoys getting Molly & Michael in trouble. Their mother & step-father always side with Heather, who lost her mother to a fire when she was a toddler.
If moving to the remote country, into a house with a grave yard isn’t bad enough, Molly & Michael discover the cemetery is rumored to be haunted. When Heather discovers a neglected gravestone, Molly believes she has uncovered the source of the haunting.
Heather begins to act a little crazier than normal. One afternoon Molly finds her in the graveyard, talking to someone. Molly senses a presence and hears Heather referring to it as “Helen.”
“Something hung in the space between us. For a moment, I felt it watching me. Then it was gone, and all around me the insects struck up a chorus of cheerful summer sounds.”
When confronted, Heather initially denies it, but then begins to threaten Molly & Michael. If they don’t treat her well, when Helen comes they will pay. It isn’t until Molly sees Helen for herself that she really begins to worry for her safety, and for the safety of her family. She and Michael head to the local library and learn a bit more about the house they live in and of the tragic history behind it. Helen is quite well known, she’s reported to have caused several children to follow her into the pond to their deaths.
Wait Till Helen Comes is a truly chilling ghost story. Originally released in 1987, this book terrified me as a child! The line “Wait Till Helen Comes” still sends chills down my back. Rereading it as an adult, the same things that made me love this book were reawakened. Something about ghost stories, the idea that a spirit can remain long after a person dies, terrifies me! This one, in particular. The description of Helen’s appearance, the cover (specifically the one pictured above) truly makes the story.
“Too frightened to breathe, I saw the glimmer of blue light shape itself into the figure of a girl no bigger than Heather. She wore a white dress, and her hair, as dark as Heather’s, tumbled in waves down her ack. Her features were indistinct, her eyes in shadow, but I knew who she was.”
Heather’s anti-social behavior & hatred toward her step-siblings really adds to the story as well. There’s nothing creepier than a bratty step-sibling whose goal is to ruin a newly formed family, no matter the cost! In addition, the stress of this family really compounds the emotion, the fright & terror that Michael & Molly fear.
In case you haven’t guessed it yet, I highly, highly recommend this one! It’s the perfect “timeless” ghost story!
Tags: 7-10 years of age, 8-12 years of age, Fright Fest, ghost story, Halloween, Horror, Kid-Lit/Middle Grade, middle grade, Review