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The Headless Cupid (Stanley Family #1)

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,809 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews
When the four Stanley children meet Amanda, their new stepsister, they're amazed to learn that she studies witchcraft. They're stunned to see her dressed in a strange costume, carrying a pet crow and surrounded by a pile of books about the supernatural. It's not long before Amanda promises to give witchcraft lessons to David, Jamie and the twins. But that's when strange th ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 1971)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Myles
Apr 25, 2015 Myles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me and my reading nostalgia. The Headless Cupid was my first Zilpha Keatley Snyder book and made her my favorite author from when I couldn't remember how to say her name right let alone spell it to when I discovered Redwall.

All grown up now, this is definitely one of her best books, striking the perfect balance between troubled youth and the supernatural.

Snyder knows that the kids aren't alright, and that is what makes her books worth reading. Because yes, it's true that her plots aren't intri
...more
leigh
Jan 02, 2009 leigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zilpha Keatley Snyder simply smacks of awesomeness. Even her name is unbelievably rad. (I’m not a huge fan of the Snyder part but it serves a great purpose in keeping the name from being painfully hip or stripper-esq.)
The Headless Cupid stirred up many of my own childhood memories and made me smile a lot. My only two issues with the book were the title and the length. The title in my humble opinion is lame as it sounds like a rejected Nancy Drew book. The length is that of a typical middle gr
...more
Shawn Thrasher
The Headless Cupid exists in the same eerie world as Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Witch books Witch's Sister and The Ghost Next Door or Lois Duncan's Summer of Fear (The Children of Green Knowe has this flavor as well, only more gothic and less suspenseful). Snyder was one of the masters of the craft of children's literature; The Headless Cupid continues to hold up really well. It's deliciously slow, and like the best suspense and ghost stories, tricky. She uses David, her main character, and his ...more
Victoria
Aug 12, 2009 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books when I was younger, any fan of ghost stories or paranormal mysteries should really enjoy this.

David Stanley tries his hardest to play the ultimate big brother to his three very different young siblings. With their mother dead, and their father often away working and preparing for remarriage, he is the one they look up to. But David is about to have problems of his own, arriving in the form of his new stepsister, Amanda. And Amanda brings more than the usual problems. She
...more
Desiivy
I was 12 when I first picked up this book, I had just move hundreds of miles away from my home to a new school new step family and knew nobody. Honestly I only desided to read it because the two main characters were David and Amanda. David and Amanda were the names of 2 cousins I missed very much.
But after that it was the story that carried it, it was the very first book I read completely and then read again. I fell in love with the characters as well as the author. At the time 1989 I could on
...more
Alexis
Sep 14, 2015 Alexis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I loved Zilpha Keatley Snyder as a child and I was curious to see if her books stand up. I'm also re-reading lots of my childhood favourites, and analyzing them and paying more attention to how stories are told.

This book stood up well. It was well written and had a great plot and was still creepy. I plan to read more of Zilpha's books. I loved them.

There's only one section of the book that didn't stand up and that's a section where the characters were playing slave drivers and slaves. I can't pi
...more
Julie
Apr 22, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found this when I was looking for a book for Miles - I loved this book when I was a kid. Guess what, I still like it! Good writing, good messages, and a poltergeist storyline to hold interest.
Emily
Jun 03, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the rare books that I loved as a kid that still holds up upon reading as an adult. David's new step-mom has a daughter, Amanda, who is quite taken with the occult and also not terribly pleased with being moved to the country to live with her new family. Amanda decides to make the kids her "neophytes" and initiate them into magic and spells. However, a real supernatural occurrence is more than she, or anyone, bargained for.
I never knew when I was a kid that this was the first in a series
...more
Heather
Mar 17, 2014 Heather rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
0.5 stars.
I really didn't like this book. I only got to page 69 and it was so dead boring that I was almost falling asleep.

The main female chacter was sooo snotty. She thought that adults were despicable things that didn't even deserve to be called humans. She hated her mom with a passion and though that the main male caracter's dad was the devil himself. The main female was also super cruel to all animals and even worse to young children (she called them things). She hates everything but her b
...more
evelyn
Finished my book on the train to work and realized the battery on my Kindle was dead, so I grabbed a book form my classroom library I hadn't read in a while. I've been recommending this to all my kids asking for scary stories even though I hadn't read it since I was their age. It's still great, although I'm not sure that the kids looking for a scary book will be very satisfied. The only scary parts are close to the end. The characters are so well-written, though.
Ana
May 20, 2014 Ana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a young girl and loved it and recently read it again to my children and loved it even more. My 15 year old son even commented on how he liked the way she did the characters--one of the big reasons I like it so much too. It is a great read-a-loud for many ages--I read it to all my kids. The three year old didn't get into it but from ages 6-15 they were spellbound.
Debbie
Feb 26, 2012 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile
At one of the library's booksales, I picked up a bunch of books that I liked or were super-popular when I was in elementary school. This is the first one I've actually read, and it was fun to indulge the nostalgia. While resolution at the end was a little too quick, I thought, the rest of it was still good!
Cassie
Mar 28, 2012 Cassie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book again. I hadn't read it since childhood. I do enjoy Z. Keatley Snyder a lot. The Egypt Game is another favorite by her. I know that there is another book with the same family that is set in Italy I think. I'm going to check that one out.
Wealhtheow
Children deal with living in a haunted house. When I was a kid, this was an unbearably spooky book.
Kaethe
A recently blended family getting to know one another. A resentful girl with an interest in the occult. Amusing little kids. A big, old house.

I think what marks this out as a novel of the 70s is that the kids have all summer pretty much on their own. They're expected to appear for meals, but none of them has any playdates, or scheduled activities, nor do they have other kids around to play with. Just a long, empty summer to get into trouble. It's a fun book, less creepy than amusing in their eff
...more
Karl Kindt
Dec 30, 2013 Karl Kindt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I read this because it is one of the books that Lemony Snicket slyly recommends in the series "All the Wrong Questions." Clearly the tips in the Snicket series are books that the actual author of the series enjoyed and thinks are worth recommending. Normally, I never read this kind of book. I will read "children's books," but not this genre of kid lit.

It is well written. The characters are well wrought. The plot is expertly handled. I will not read any more of this author or this series because
...more
Areeba
Dec 16, 2015 Areeba rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This was such an unexpected read! When I picked this book up, I thought the story was going to concentrate heavily on the haunting aspect but in fact, that doesn't even come in until the last half of the book. Instead, the novel is much more about Amanda and how she interacts with her new family as well as her relationship with her mom. It was told from the POV of the oldest Stanley child, David, who quickly becomes aware of the antics Amanda pulls and is perceptive about what she is going throu ...more
Gary
Apr 18, 2015 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this many years ago, back in the 70s, not terribly long after it was first published. I remembered only that I had enjoyed it, and that reading it fueled my desire to want to write my own stories. Perhaps because I loved this one so much. Perhaps because I thought it should have had a different ending, and the only way to give it a different ending was to write my own story.

I found a copy in Open Library and decided to read it again, nearly 40 years after that initial reading. It still he
...more
Marcia
Nov 10, 2014 Marcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I belatedly checked out The Headless Cupid and liked it. I think some preteens might find it a little too spooky (if they believe in ghosts!), but it's well written with all loose ends tied up nicely. It was a bit of a stretch for me to believe the four-year-old twins were up in the middle of the night attending seances and discussing poltergeists, while keeping it all secret from their parents, but nevertheless this was a fun story told from the point of view of a good, believable main characte ...more
Toni
I absolutely LOVED this book as a child. I read it when I was about 10 or 11 and I was fascinated by Amanda. Her obsession with the occult was a new and exciting concept to me and I wanted to find a mirrored triangle to put on my own forehead. The idea of conjuring spirits and making others wonder about my mysterious inner workings was exciting. I was already avidly reading chapter books - namely, the Babysitter's Club series, but this was my first introduction to mystery and suspense and I fell ...more
Awallens
When the four Stanley children meet Amanda, their new stepsister, they're amazed to learn that she studied witchcraft. They're stunned to see her dressed
in a strange costume, carrying a pet crow, and surrounded by a pile of books about the supernatural. It's not long before Amanda promises to give witchcraft
lessons to David, Janie, and the twins. But that's when strange things start happening in their old house. David suspects Amanda of causing mischief, until
they learn that the house really was
...more
Emma
Jan 12, 2012 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After David's mother dies he mostly takes care of his younger siblings, that is until his father gets remarried. Davids new step mother, Molly, has a 12 year old daughter named Amanda who is a year older than David. She claims to be part of the occult world and practices supernatural things. Everything she does is strange or rude but yet she still has a unique sense of coolness according to David. Living in an old house made David suspect that is was haunted, but with Amanda there his suspicion ...more
Jessica  Crow Braswell
Two families merge into one and move into an old house in the country. Everything seems to be going well until the new stepsister Amanda moves in. Amanda is not your average teenage girl, after all she brings with her her pet crow. Amanda tells the Stanley children she studies witchcraft and is willing to give them lessons on becoming witches themselves. The Stanley kids must endure all sorts of antics that has the potential to get them all in serious trouble. All seems fine until they realize t ...more
Kirsten
A Newbury honor book from 1972. I picked it up off the bookshelves at church, not knowing much more than that it was supposed to be spooky. This is an early book in the blended family genre and shows some of the difficulties when your parents are divorced and one remarries. There are four kids whose mother has passed away and "Dad" has remarried Molly, who is divorced and has one preteen/early teen daughter named Amanda. Amanda is moody and mysterious and invites David and his younger siblings t ...more
Chris
Nov 12, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty neat story. The core plot is pretty simple. David Stanley suddenly has a new stepsister and mother move into his life. Amanda is very strange and obsessed with the occult. She dresses unusual and has a rather unapproachable demeanor, not wanting to interact with the family, until she eventually opens up and lets David and the younger kids (who are 4-6 years old) join in on her love of the supernatural. She will train the "neophytes", as she calls them, in the ways of the otherw ...more
Angela Berg
Apr 05, 2012 Angela Berg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two families merge into one and move into an old house in the country. Everything seems to be going well until the new stepsister Amanda moves in. Amanda is not your average teenage girl, after all she brings with her pet crow. Amanda tells the Stanley children she studies witchcraft and is willing to give them lessons on becoming witches themselves. The Stanley kids must endure all sorts of antics that have the potential to get them all in serious trouble. All seems fine until they realize thei ...more
Tristin Smith
I like this book because in the story people think that their new stepsister is weird. For example, when the four Stanley children meet their new stepsister they found out that she reads about the supernatural (pages1-6). Another example is when Amanda gets to her new family on the night that the Cupid was cut in half (pages 20-30). One challenge that was in the book was when the Stanley children thought that Amanda broke the Cupid when she didn’t (page 35). Another challenge is do not judge peo ...more
Denise Kang
I will tell you beforehand that this book can be deceiving. I honestly thought the story line would deal with complete mystery and be an intriguing ghost story. It had me fooled for a time.

David, the eldest of four, now to be the second eldest of five. His father has just remarried to Molly, and let me tell you her daughter isn't so pleasant. Amanda, the new step sister is rude and completely supernatural. She claims to be skilled in the arts of magic. One day while Molly is away Amanda decides
...more
Jailine
Oct 02, 2012 Jailine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I saw the book The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder and it caught my eye instantly. I started to read it because the title and cover page were interesting. "The headless Cupid" it made me wonder why it was titled like that and right away I started reading it.

From the beginning I knew it was going to be a great book. I read the first pages and it was descriptive I understood the story easily. David is the oldest of 3 and Amanda is their new step sister, since Amanda's mom and David's dad a
...more
Denise
Jan 13, 2015 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, written by the Author if the "Egypt Game", was interesting and enjoyable. A blended family is struggling to survive and grow together and the children eventually bond with the aid of some extraordinary events. There are a few worrisome aspects, the children are left alone and unsupervised an awful lot. The troubled step sister is a bit much.

I would definitely recommend this as a good read to young adult readers but might want to discuss it with them as well.
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The recipient of three Newbery Honor Book awards for "The Egypt Game," "The Headless Cupid," and "The Witches of Worm," Zilpha Keatley Snyder has been writing books for children since 1964 when her first book, "A Season of Ponies," was published. Since that time she has completed 43 books, mostly for children aged 9 to 13, but also including two books for young adults, four picture books for young ...more
More about Zilpha Keatley Snyder...

Other Books in the Series

Stanley Family (4 books)
  • The Famous Stanley Kidnapping Case (Stanley Family, #2)
  • Blair's Nightmare (Stanley Family, #3)
  • Janie's Private Eyes (Stanley Family, #4)

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