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The Girl in the Locked Room: A Ghost Story

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  760 Ratings  ·  115 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. Wh
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Clarion Books
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Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ 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.

I picked up THE GIRL IN THE LOCKED ROOM for nostalgia's
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 ni
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 M ...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.
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
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 e-AR
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 bui
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.
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.
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
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 w
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, mystery, youth
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.
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!
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.
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: j-supernatural
This latest ghost story for middle grades is a quick read, has an interesting plot and sympathetic characters, including the ghost.
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.
Ms. Jackson
Nov 08, 2018 rated it liked it
A possible theme for this book is while it is important to keep a promise, some promises need to be broken.
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jules (12) is used to moving from town to town and into very old houses. Her dad's construction company specializes in historical restoration. However, this deteriorated Virginia mansion is different. Jules can feel it in her is haunted. She starts having visions of the past of a young girl who is trapped in a locked upstairs room with angry men on horses outside the house. Told in dual perspectives of Jules and the girl in the locked room. Can Jules help to set the girl free or will ...more
Tracy J Hora
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
The kids in upper elementary devour scary books, and especially Mary Downing Hahn's. I am embarrassed to say this is the first one I've read. I can see why the kids like them so much. Definite fear factor, but not too scary. I think kids will enjoy the old creepy house and the broken dolls and the ghost girl. I will be reading more of Hahn's books.

Thank you NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for the advanced reader's copy in exchange for my honest feedback.
Jessica (Spooky KidLit & We Who Walk Here, Walk Alone)
The Girl in the Locked Room is (at least initially) a story of two lonely little girls and the adults who fail them. The Girl is a ghost, locked away and forgotten, reliving the worst night of her life over and over again. Jules is a young woman who moves in just below The Girl’s room, forced to move from place to place by a father whose wanderlust and selfishness won’t allow him to see that his daughter needs stability and friendships that last longer than a year. Mary Downing Hahn writes an ee ...more
Sep 24, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book as a long-time fan of Mary Downing Hahn, but I have to be totally honest: if you're looking for new and fresh you'll be disappointed, because there's not much here that dedicated Mary Downing Hahn fans haven't already seen multiple times in her books. An old mysterious house, a lonely living girl in the present day, a lonely ghost girl trapped in the past, a creepy doll, and a whole lot of good old-fashioned exploring make a recipe for a great Hahn book. All of these f ...more
Nannette Demmler
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
ARC provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Group via NetGalley for an honest review.
Whenever a student asks me for a scary story I always direct them to Mary Downing Hahn’s book, she always delivers and I have never been disappointed by one of her books. I am looking forward to adding this one to the collection and book talking to the kids. This is a middle grade book, but would be enjoyed by anyone of any age. And I must say that cover is just perfect. It will catch your eye and make
Janet Slipak
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
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. When she sees a pale face in an upstairs window, though, she can’t stop wondering about the eerie presence on the top floor—in a
Ms. Yingling
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Jules and her family move to the outskirts of Hillsborough while her father is restoring an old mansion in the middle of the Stonybrook housing development. It's just one in a long series of moves, and there are advantages and disadvantages. While the apartment addition at the back of the mansion is nicer than many of the places the family has moved, Jules wishes they were closer to the amenities of town so she could make friends and do things. Also, the house feels real
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Imagine your dad restores old home, and the one that he is currently working on is haunted. Would you live there? Jules and her parents move into an old, abandoned house while her dad and his crew are renovating it. Jules can see the third floor from the new extension that was build for them to live in. When she sees the pale face of a girl looking out the window on the third floor, she can't believe her eyes. Fear turns to fascination as she begins to learn more and more about the family that l ...more
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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