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Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story
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Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,678 Ratings  ·  1,565 Reviews
Twelve-year-old Molly and her ten-year-old brother, Michael, have never liked their seven-year-old stepsister, Heather. Ever since their parents got married, she's made Molly and Michael's life miserable. Now their parents have moved them all to the country to live in a house that used to be a church, with a cemetery in the backyard. If that's not bad enough, Heather start ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published April 21st 2008 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1986)
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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin SchwartzWait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing HahnThe Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanSomething Wicked This Way Comes by Ray BradburyAll the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn
Spooky books for Kids
2nd out of 101 books — 94 voters
Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing HahnThe Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren WrightAmong the Hidden by Margaret Peterson HaddixEscaping The Giant Wave by Peg KehretThe Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Iowa Children's Choice Past Winners
1st out of 29 books — 23 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nov 01, 2007 Martha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
Sigh...the good ghost stories that somehow passed me by as a kid...well, better late than never! This is a bone-chilling goodie, too. Everything I love in a ghost story: creepy little girls, hidden graves, faces in windows, crumbling ruins in the woods, even a dark and murky pond. Brrrrr!! A bit dated, but none-the-less, a gem of a read right before Halloween.
Jodi Meadows
Sep 18, 2015 Jodi Meadows rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was eleven, one of my teachers read this book to the class. I don't know what it was about WAIT TILL HELEN COMES, or if it was something the teacher said, but this was the book that somehow informed me that books don't magically appear on library shelves, as I'd previously believed. Books must be written. By people. Like, it's their job to make up stories. And if I worked hard enough, it could be my job, too.

It was also one of the first books I remember reading on my own where the magic w
Paige  Bookdragon
This book is a bit childish and the only reason why it holds my interest for an hour or two is because Heather annoys me. I want pinch her cheeks.
Mr. Balcoms Class
Dec 23, 2011 Mr. Balcoms Class rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this one aloud to my students again.

Nothing gets the blood chilling like ghost children. Shiver...
Kristina Horner
This is a book I've literally had on my shelf for over 10 years. My aunt gave it to me years ago, as it was her favorite children's book. I, being a terrible niece, never read it. Until now.
Wait Till Helen Comes is an interesting book. I think it might have scared me, as a child. It deals heavily with death, some twisted forms of manipulation from a ghost, and multiple people dying in fires. Surprisingly dark for a middle grade book.
As an adult, I was extremely bothered by how terrible and worth
Feb 02, 2009 MEREDITH :) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
I loved this book! It was really creepy! I think all of you should read it! ......
Michaeal & Molly have to move to an old church (now a house) with their mom and new stepfather. They are not happy at ALL & will miss all of their friends! Unfourtunatly Molly has to share a room with her new step sister, Heather! She is really rude & creepy. One day Heather wanders off to the graveyard behind the house. She soon creepily comes attached to this one grave in particular. Then one day Heat
Angie Elle
Mar 21, 2013 Angie Elle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read this book since I was a little girl, but I'm giving it five stars simply because I slept with my light on for a week after reading it!
May 12, 2015 MLE rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Just as creepy as when I was a kid. The kind of book that reminds me of what I like about ghost stories. Nothing over the top, just perfectly atmospheric and haunting. In some ways it reminds me of my favorite Disney movie from childhood.

Jubilation Lee
This book was ridiculously terrifying to me when I was eleven -- it isn't *quite* as nightmarish now, but it still holds up well. Moral of the story: When approached by tiny, waifish ghost girl who just wants to be your friend... run. Run like it's your job.
Lauren Munoz
I haven't read this book for almost twenty years, but when my dad came across it and sent it to me, I had to check it out again.

As a child, I found this book terrifying. I remember reading it in bed at night with chills, even though I knew exactly what happened after the first time through.

As an adult, I found the book sort of annoying. The parents act like selfish fools (I would never forgive a stepparent who asked me what kind of little monster I was, for example), and the little girl at the c
Oh some days don't you wish were twelve again? Well, probably you don't, at least if you were like me. I was awkward and chubby and had all sorts of acne. Puberty is a biotch!

BUT...I remember my love for little gems such as Wait Till Helen Comes. Don't you love ghost stories? I love a ghost story. I love getting a little thrill from being afraid of what may or may not be lurking around the corner or in the dark. Not because I believe in ghosts, mind you. I sort of really scoff at the idea. Most
May 15, 2013 03NicoleV rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-reviews
Title: Wait till Helen comes
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Year: 2008 Pages: 184

Intended Audience: anyone who loves ghost stories
Main Issue: A little girl brings up a ghost from the grave.

Setting: The sitting at the old church just adds to the creepiness of the story
Description: Molly - 12 years old, oldest child; Michael - 10 years old, loves the outdoors; Heather - 7 years old, has psychopathic problems.

Summary: A family moved into the country in an old church with a graveyard in the backyard. One
Nov 01, 2010 Zak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Molly and her brother have a stepsister Heather which they don't like. They move to the a church which has a graveyard in the back. Heather finds a grave and starts to talk to imagined friend Helen ... Or is she? Well Heather get killed by Helen? Why does Heather hate her new family? What secret is she keeping? Is Helen real?

I really liked this book for the most part. The writing was great and the plot was pretty good for the most part. At first it's pretty boring but in the last quarter of it i
Mar 11, 2015 Carley rated it really liked it
This book is amazing if you like thrillers this book is just that.
Nov 05, 2010 Jesus rated it liked it
I thought it was great book because there was a lot of tention exciment and thrilling scenes i would reccomend this book to a lot of people. This book is about a family who move their children out of Baltimore for a better life. They move into a church they had three children Heather is the adopted one, Molly, and Michael they didnt like the idea of moving out of Baltimore. Just one day all of the three had their own activities to do during the day michael went out looking for bugs Molly just st ...more
The main characther in the story is Molly. Including her brother Michael, her mother, stepsister Heather, and her stepfather. Her mother gets married so they all move in the same home. When they move in, they find out their home was once a church, and they live on a graveyard. Molly and her brother have never got along with Heather because she always gets them in trouble by lying. Heather finds the graveyard very interesting because one the graves has the same initials as her own. The family sta ...more
Lauren Fidler
this book gave me nightmares as a small child and yet i reread it at least 97 times between the ages of 8 and 13. i think i still own a copy, actually...

re-read: december 3rd, 2011:

i forgot how much i hate heather in this book. yes, it's written in first-person from molly's POV, so, of course, we're supposed to hate heather, but dang! that girl is a witch!

and what's with parents marrying people that their children don't get along with? this plot point probably nagged me as a kid, but now, as a
Dec 30, 2007 Ibby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes sort of scary books
Wait Till Helen Comes is a good scary story. I liked it a lot, even though I don't read a lot of scary stuff.

what it's about: a girl and her new younger stepsister move to the countryside, and they fight all the time. the younger stepsister is suddenly drawn in by a tombstone in the graveyard next to their house; the initials on the tombstone matches the little girl's. (sorry, I don't remember what the initials were!)
and so the story continues on as the stepsister uses her ghost friend for REVEN
Becky Keir Grace
Feb 28, 2016 Becky Keir Grace rated it really liked it
Molly and Michael's mother remarries and the family moves to the country to live in an old renovated church. Trying to adjust to their new life is hard enough. Dave, their step-father, spoils his daughter, Heather. Heather constantly tries to cause trouble for Molly and Michael. Things start to get out of control when she claims that the ghost of Helen is there, and she does not like them! Molly believes in the ghost of Helen, especially when bad things start to happen!

I read this book in elemen
Apr 27, 2008 Sydney rated it it was amazing
it is a good book because it has action and it is really exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jan 24, 2009 Sophie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i liked it a lot , but it was scary that is why i kept reading on .
Drew Graham
Mar 04, 2016 Drew Graham rated it really liked it
Shelves: me
Molly and her brother Michael really aren't keen on the idea of moving to an old renovated church in the country with their mom and new stepdad, and especially not with their malicious little stepsister, Heather. But move to the country they do, and when Molly realizes that there's a creepy old graveyard adjacent to their church, she's none too pleased. Before long Heather starts to behave strangely and making ominous threats about her new friend Helen. Molly never thought she was a scaredy-cat ...more
Diana Ocegueda
Nov 29, 2015 Diana Ocegueda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Diana ocegueda
Wait till Helen comes
BY:Mary Downing Hahn

SPOILER ALERT!!!!! DO you like ficton books?I do especioly realistic fiction.Wait till Helen comes is a realistic fiction book.It is also a very suspenceful Story and intresting.

The setting in my story was a church whit a grveyard in the back yard this is important because this is where the charecters spend most of their time.The main charecters in this story are Helen who is a ghost,Hether who is a 7 year old girl,Molly who is Hethers ste
Jan 13, 2015 Julissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Have you ever seen little kids speaking to themselves or talking to somthing it might be a GHOST then you should read this book it is scary lol. the genre of this book is suspance.I think this book is great it has a lot of detail of the setting and plot.It also shows you alot of the charactors back stories.

The setting of this book is in achurch that a family bought tthe people who used to live by the house has died in a fire.Heather is a little girl who causes trouble to her b
I prayed for a captivating read, and while this book compelled me enough to read to the end, I had major issues. Am I spoiled much-better written ghost stories and children books? Perhaps, but it never did do the trick.

Never do I use reviews to tell you about books, something that could spoil or something you can see already a few clicks away, so let's get to it:

The characters: whiny, annoying, flat. I can understand these in the stepsister. Hahn does a great job in making me hate this little g
Ryleigh forist
Mar 20, 2012 Ryleigh forist rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book wait till Helen comes is a good book because it keeps you wanting to read more. This book is about about a ghost named Helen. Molly & Micheal (main characters) have a step sister named Heather, ( also a main character)& Molly and Micheal hate Heather hates them to.

Helen is a lonely ghost that Heather can see. Helen & Heather end up getting attached to each other.
They become BEST FRIENDS & Molly knows about it. Mollys mother knows that she hates Heather so her mom tells
Oct 05, 2009 Corrinn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was really great, I loved the suspense it kept me in through out the whole book! I got really scared at some parts I could feel Helen in my room as i sat reading it (haha). This book is about Molly and her younger brother Micheal oh and of course Heather their younger step sister. When they move into a new house- with a graveyard in the back- things get a little strange, Heather stars saying weird things like: "just wait, wait till Helen comes you'll be sorry." The two don't believe h ...more
Kat Heckenbach
I really don't understand the great reviews on this. I gave up nearly half-way through. I honestly tried to read it--I read a lot of MG and YA books, so it's not that I didn't know what to expect. I felt the language was stilted. I didn't see all this beautiful description all the reviewers mention. All I saw was a lot of arguing, and parents who needed to be smacked up-side the head. The mom needed to grow a spine and the step-dad needed to wake up and see what a problem his daughter was. I und ...more
So spooky! I listened to it and there were moments of true scariness as I was driving in my car. There are things that you could be critical about with this book: the characters could be a bit more fleshed out, the ending is a bit too neat, and I was really annoyed with the parents throughout, but that's looking with an adult critical eye. As a kid, I would have thought this book was perfect when I was looking for something truly spooky to read. It still holds up with only a few dated references ...more
Oct 17, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in grade school and it has stuck with me ever since. It it easily one of the scariest books I've read. Perhaps that is because I was extremely susceptible to its horror themes when I was younger, or perhaps it's because a young dead girl wants to coax little girls to their death by drowning them. Either way, this book was a fantastic, scary, edge-or-your-seat read.
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2015 Reading Chal...: Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn 1 4 Oct 31, 2015 08:52PM  
is this book appropriate for children? 4 13 Oct 23, 2015 12:20PM  
Horror 3 20 Sep 04, 2014 05:10PM  
Are you looking for a good thriller? 5 26 Feb 03, 2014 09:06PM  
Why this was a wonderful book? 19 67 Oct 15, 2013 04:53PM  
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I grew up in a small shingled house down at the end of Guilford Road in College Park, Maryland. Our block was loaded with kids my age. We spent hours outdoors playing "Kick the Can" and "Mother, May I" as well as cowboy and outlaw games that usually ended in quarrels about who shot whom. In the summer, we went on day long expeditions into forbidden territory -- the woods on the other side of the t ...more
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