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Wait Till Helen Comes (1986)

by Mary Downing Hahn

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1,760708,212 (3.99)34
Molly and Michael dislike their spooky new stepsister Heather but realize that they must try to save her when she seems ready to follow a ghost child to her doom.

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» See also 34 mentions

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I wanted a little nostalgia in my life so I revisited this one. I loved this book as a child and it definitely holds up, since I loved it dearly back in elementary school. I see parallels between little Amanda's love for this book and the passion for certain fiction and poetry I read now as an adult. It's a spooky ghost story, and the character Molly loves journaling and reading, and her favorite poets are Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson. Whhhat! ( )
  mandarella | Jul 11, 2022 |
Wait Till Helen Comes tells the story of Molly, a young girl whose family has recently moved into a home that used to be an old church. When her step-sister befriends a ghost, she must do her best to save her and her whole family from the evil spirit. I loved reading this book because I used to read it when I was young as well. supernatural tales were always my favorite to read growing up and it was nice to reminisce on my younger days. ( )
  mcervantes4 | Apr 8, 2022 |
Molly, 12 years old and her brother are struggling to adjust to their new stepfather and especially their new stepsister, Heather. Heather has lost her mother in a fire and is hard to love. She is overly possessive of her father and highly dislikes her new family. To try to have a new start for the family and to help the parents have more space for their art businesses, the family moves to a remote town into an old church. The church includes a graveyard, which bothers superstitious Molly. Young Heather befriends a ghost and Molly is the only one who notices and tries to break their unhealthy connection. The book lets you relate to several chacters, mosly Molly as she struggles with the new family dynamic, being forced to watch Heather, then investigating who this ghost is and why it wants to hurt them. It is tense, scary and has great character development. ( )
  Sstenson | Jul 22, 2021 |
Molly and Michael are trying their best to like their new step-sister, Heather. Since their mother married Heather's father, Dave, it seems all the 7-year old girl has done is try to cause trouble. When they move to live in an old church in rural Maryland, Heather is drawn to the nearby old cemetery and a dilapidated, burnt-out old house. Molly tries to tell everyone that Heather is in danger when she overhears her step-sister talking to someone in the cemetery. But, instead, Molly gets in trouble for scaring Heather with ghost stories. When Heather starts threatening that the ghost is going to come and make them all pay, Molly realizes she has to protect her step-sister. Will anybody listen to Molly about the ghost before it's too late?

After a lackluster experience with Hahn's The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall, I decided to try another of her stories. This time I was pleasantly surprised. Wait Til Helen Comes is a fabulously spooky middle grade ghost story. It was the perfect combination of ghost story and mystery. Just an enjoyable, eerie, afternoon read.

The ghost story is creepy, but not overly scary. The pacing of the story was great. The mystery unraveled just at the right speed to keep me reading, and wondering up until the very end. The story was spooky, but totally age appropriate for middle grade children.

If you like ghost stories, give this one a try! You won't be sorry!

My rating: 8/10
Some scary situations, but age appropriate
Ages 10 ( )
  JuliW | Nov 22, 2020 |
Fantasy - Ghosts and the Supernatural

This story is about Molly and her brother Michael and their step sister Heather, who all move into a church in the country with their newlywed parents. Heather is having a hard time adjusting to her new life and oftentimes makes everyone else's life miserable. Molly is in charge of looking after Heather, but one day she disappears and meets a new "friend", Helen. Molly and Michael make fun of Heather because they believe that she is making Helen up. However, Molly realizes that Helen is a ghost with very bad intentions for her family.

I love Mary Downing Hahn books so I thought that this one was very good. There were so many interesting adventures and details in the book that I thought made the book even more amazing.
  elizabethardacre | Nov 15, 2020 |
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7 Ghost story fans have a spooky treat in store with Hahn's eerie new novel. Molly, the 12-year-old narrator, and her brother Michael dislike their bratty 5-year-old stepsister Heather and resent the family move to an isolated converted church in the country. The adjourning graveyard frightens Molly, but Heather seems drawn to it. Molly discovers that the ghost of a child (Helen) who died in a fire a century ago wants to lure Heather to her doom. Molly determines to save her stepsister. In so doing, she learns that Heather's strange behavior stems from her feelings of guilt at having accidentally caused her mother's death by playing near a stove and starting a fire. Eventually, Molly wrests Heather from Helen's arms as the ghost attempts to drown them. The girls discover the skeletons of Helen's parents, and their burial finally puts to rest Helen's spirit. This is a powerful, convincing, and frightening tale. The details of everyday life quickly give way to terror. The pace never slackens. Characterization is strong, and descriptive passages set a mood of suspense. There should be a heavy demand from readers who are not "faint at heart." Judy Greenfield, Rye Free Reading Room, N.Y
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A Ghost Story for Norm
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You've bought a church?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Molly and Michael dislike their spooky new stepsister Heather but realize that they must try to save her when she seems ready to follow a ghost child to her doom.

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Average: (3.99)
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