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The Girl in the Locked Room: A Ghost Story

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,044 ratings  ·  322 reviews
Ghost story master Mary Downing Hahn unrolls the suspenseful, spine-chilling yarn of a girl imprisoned for more than a century, the terrifying events that put her there, and a friendship that crosses the boundary between past and present.

A family moves into an old, abandoned house. Jules's parents love the house, but Jules is frightened and feels a sense of foreboding.
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Clarion Books
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Nenia ⚜️ Author of Filthy Trash and Unhinged Psychos ⚜️ Campbell

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Mary Downing Hahn was one of the middle grade thriller writers of the 80s and 90s. I vaguely remember seeing some of her books in my elementary school libraries, and I probably read them, too, though I barely remember what they were about. They were gentle reads, scary but not too scary, and always stopping short of that edgy line that the popular Point Horror books series loved to toe.

Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary Downing Hahn tells a great ghost story! Her stories are written for a middle-grade audience, but even at 50-years old, I love her ghostly tales!

Jules and her parents move around a lot. Her dad restores historic old houses and buildings. So they live in one place only long enough for him to finish a project, then move on to another town and another restoration job. Jules is tired of moving, new schools and having no friends. Her father's newest project is Oak Hill, an old mansion in
Kimberly Antill
I've read a great deal of Mary Downing Hahn's books and there hasn't been one that I haven't liked. And I enjoyed this book as well, just probably not as much as some of her other work. It has everything I have come to expect from her ghost stories however this one has a bit of a sci-fi twist. The plot revolves around the idea of other dimensions and parallel worlds. I understand the concept but it's just a little confusing to me. Perhaps if I had read the Chronicles of Chrestomanci that the ...more
Wendi Lee
Jules has never stayed in one place for more than a year because of her dad, who restores historical buildings across the country. She yearns for a permanent home and friends she can grow up with. But when she and her family arrive in Hillsborough, she starts seeing scenes of life from hundreds of years before, and a girl dressed in old fashioned clothing.

The girl has been hiding for years. She’s lonely and sad, and watches Jules in her strange clothes. She wants to go outside too, but every
With Mary Downing Hahn's The Girl in the Locked Room: A Ghost Story, I do have to admit that this is one of those stories where I have been so personally and massively disappointed with and by (in particular) the ending that my reading pleasure has in fact been lastingly and negatively affected (and to such an extent that I really have ended up not enjoying the story as a whole nearly as much as I had fondly assumed and hoped I would). For I was kind of expecting after Jules and her new friend ...more
This was a very gentle ghost story, not a scary one, perfect for young readers who want to explore the paranormal a little but need a safe story. I prefered "Wait Til Helen Comes" Mary Downing Hahn as a kid.
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary
It bothered me how much this book bothered me. It feels lately like a good kids book can get under my skin more than any adult novel can.

Mary Downing Hahn just does a fantastic job of giving the little girl the transition in to death, and making it obvious what is going on. At first she creeped me out, but by the end of the novel I just felt so sorry for her.

The ending was fantastic. The adult part of me eye-rolled and went "That's not right", but luckily my inner child shut that old biddy up.
Ivonne Rovira
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: mystery lovers looking for a twist
Recommended to Ivonne by: NetGalley
Author Mary Downing Hahn writes ghostly children’s books that will delight adults as well, and her latest, The Girl in the Locked Room proves no exception. I couldn’t put it down, if you’ll pardon the cliché!

Jules Aldridge has moved — yet again — this time to Hillsborough, Virginia; her father Ron oversees the renovation of historic homes, and this time he is lovingly restoring Oak Hill, a dilapidated 200-year-old mansion. But Jules fears he’ll move yet again, as he does after he finishes every
Deanna Siegel
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I am a big fan of Mary Downing Hahn. I think she does a great job of creating a spooky atmosphere for kids. This particular book was not as spooky as it was sad. However, still an interesting portrayal that discusses how our actions affect our course of life.
 Maddie Grace
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Horror Peeps
This is my favorite book so far. It is scary and just my type. I think it is a great book for people that like horror and being scared (ME!) And I read this with my bff, Ella. Next, we are reading The Collector! I think it will be really fun and hopefully scary. Bye my QTs! <3
Bridget Vollmer
I’d rate this 3 1/2 stars. It’s not as spooky as I thought it would be, but a solid middle grade ghost story which touches on the subject of alternate realities.
4.5 stars
How long do you keep your promise? To Lily….you keep it forever. Massie and Jules needed to convince Lily that there was another alternative to keeping that promise before it was too late.

This is another great ghost story that is threaded with compassion. I liked how Massie and Jules solved the mystery and then, went about proving to Lily that she mattered to them.
Carrie (brightbeautifulthings)
When Jules and her parents move into the long-abandoned Oak Hill, it isn’t the first time she’s been frightened by a house. Her father restores old buildings, but Oak Hill’s history is grimmer and more mysterious than most. There’s a room on the third floor that has been locked for over a century, and someone may still be inside it. When Jules makes contact with the ghost of ten-year-old Lily, she wonders whether the past can be changed and Lily and her family can be saved.

I received a free
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
The things that go bump in the night. Every child’s nightmare reaches out to me as I flip through the pages of The Girl in the Locked Room. My scenes are falling awake and aware of every sound I hear. My heart pounds and my eyes dart across the page. The book draws me in.
Jules’ dad has a job. He is to renovate the old house on the hill. The one the people in the town below believe is haunted. Jules has a bad feeling, especially when she starts to see a family no one else can see. Especially
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
You just can’t go wrong with one of Mary Downing Hahn’s books. The creepy factor is just right for reading alone at night with the lights out, covers pulled over your head with a flashlight to see the pages. When Jules moves with her parents to a house her dad is renovating, she knows it is haunted. Early on she determines Lily is the ghost’s name. A chance meeting in the town library, and Jules has a new friend, Maisie. Together the two try to help Lily. I’m so appreciative to the publisher and ...more
TammyJo Eckhart
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We usually think of ghost stories as scary but think for a minute, ghosts are just spirits of the dead, why do they need to be scary or creepy? In Mary Downing Hahn's story the ghost is sympathetic not scary even if what created her condition was horrific. The resolution feels rewarding and empowering for all involved.

The story is told from two perspectives. The girl in the locked room, our ghost, and that of Jules, a girl whose family moves around following her father's career as a historic
Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I was a little girl, I loved the stories by Mary Downing Hahn, and so as an adult, I was excited to pick up a new one of hers. The imagery is as creepy as always and the voice of the girl ghost alternating with a present day protagonist Jules is effective and haunting. There isn't a lot of character development for Jules, more for the ghost girl, but still it's a great read for middle graders. I'm not sure I buy the ending but it works for the level of reader. Overall, a nice ghost story.
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned, kids, supernatural
I was not a fan of the writing in this. I remember being a fan of all the other books I've read by this author, so I'm not sure if the writing is worse or if it's just worse than I remember...Everything from Jules perspective was very bland and one-dimensional to me. The dialogue did not seem believable and I think Jules' father is a jerk. If restoring old homes is your "passion" don't have a kid and force them to come along. The parts of Lily's perspective seemed much better written to me and I ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley
*I received an e-galley from Netgalley in return for an honest review.*

I liked the ghost story premise of the story, but wasn't totally into the ending and the connection to like other dimensions, it seemed a little stretched.

Melanie Dulaney
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mary Downing Hahn is the queen of the middle grades scary story, at least according to this librarian and most of her fifth graders through the years as well as many of those in the fourth grade. “The Girl in the Locked Room” is similar to Hahn’s “The Old Willis Place” in creep factor which means that it is a ghost story and there are moments of trepidation, but it does not cause the major chills of her “Deep and Dark and Dangerous,” “Wait Til Helen Comes,” or “All the Lovely Bad Ones.” In “The ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Can a girl from this time help change the tragic past of a girl from the 1800s? Are they both brave enough to do what must be done? Another excellent story from one of my favorite middle school authors.
The Reading Countess
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
With over thirty books to her name, Mary Downing Hahn is one name teachers, librarians and students alike trust for all things creepy. I’ve only read a few of her books, but I think this one’s got the most spook factor. Kids will love it.

There are many spooky ghost writers for MG readers who slap the words on the paper, eager to move on to the next money making title, but not Hahn. Many words and phrases could be plucked to use as mentor writing. It’s clear she respects her art as well as
Book #96 Read in 2018
The Girl in the Locked Room by Mary Downing Hahn

Hahn is the Queen of Ghost Stories and this one is another good one. Lily's parents are attacked and they tell her to lock herself in the attic and hide and to not come out until they come get her. But they don't make it. Lily waits...and waits...until Jules shows up and realizes there is a ghost in the old house her father is renovating. Jules and her friend Maisie try to help Lily....will they be able to bring her peace at
Kelly Hager
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I was younger (probably second grade but maybe third), I read her book Wait Til Helen Comes. It's still one of the creepiest books I've ever read. This novel isn't really like that; The Girl in the Locked Room is far more sad than terrifying. (Much like the novel and film of Carrie, as it happens.)

There's a lot to discuss here (the idea of alternate universes; exactly what happened to Lily; can houses hold memories?) but this book is also just an incredibly fun (if heartbreaking) time. It
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, youth, mystery
A little girl has been locked in the attic for over a hundred years, long enough that she doesn't remember her name or why she's there, but the men who hunted for her back then still try to get her every night, until Jules comes along. Seriously creepy and spooky, with a great friendship between Jules and Maisie. I really enjoyed this, and seeing the ghost girl take control of her destiny.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it liked it
That was more sad than it was scary :(. And it was basically Time for Andrew: A Ghost Story, just a more modern setting and a lot sadder.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a spooky middle grade book and I really enjoyed it! I loved the friendship and creepiness it had, and the audio book made it really atmospheric! Mary Downing Hahn has always been a favorite of mine and I can't wait to read more of her books!
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
this book is about the girl that got locked in one room and cant get out and every couple of days gardes will come through and try and find her
Jennifer Riddle
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think this was a pretty good selection for Juvenile Fiction from the Horror genre.
Oct 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Not a very deep or spooky story, which is a surprise for Hahn, but I appreciate that she leaned into a different sort of ghostly mystery.
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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 ...more