One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Category: Middle Grade
Against the ominous backdrop of the influenza epidemic of 1918, Annie, a new girl at school, is claimed as best friend by Elsie, a classmate who is a tattletale, a liar, and a thief. Soon Annie makes other friends and finds herself joining them in teasing and tormenting Elsie.
2.5 stars. I've read a few of Mary Downing Hahn's books and liked them quite a bit. I don't read a lot of middle grade, but her books are usually fun, creepy reads. This one I did not like as much as the others I've read. Despite there being a ghost, this was not a creepy book, and that disappointed me. Most of this book was not pleasant to read. There is a lot of bullying done among school girls and although I wanted to feel badly for the girl that was being bullied, and I did at times, it was hard to because she was just as mean as the bullies. For most of the book none of the girls were really likable because of all of the meanness, but in the end the girls all do change. But it does take a vengeful ghost to get them to that point.
The thing I found most interesting about this book was that it was inspired by a story from the author's mothers own experience of living during the Spanish influenza and surviving it. The part in the book when the girls go to the different homes to pay their respects to and view the dead, mainly so they can get free cake, candy, and punch was something her mother and her mother's friends actually did, and they really did end up at a house that belonged to one of their classmates that they had no idea had died until they saw her in the coffin.
If you like reading books about mean girls or vengeful ghosts you might like this book, but for me it was just ok.
Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for giving me a copy of this book.
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