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Guest: A Changeling Tale

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  196 ratings  ·  53 reviews
From the master of spookiness, Mary Downing Hahn. When malicious sprites called the Kinde Folke snatch Mollie’s baby brother and replace him with a hideous changeling, Mollie travels through eerie, perilous lands to save him.
When her adorable baby brother is replaced by an ugly, ill-tempered changeling, Mollie is determined to find the so-called Kinde Folke who too
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Clarion Books
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Nenia ☠️ Hecka Wicked ☠️ Campbell

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GUEST is a middle-grade novel about faerie folklore, and reminiscent of stories like Mirrormask or Labyrinth, in which the fairy tale is an allegory for a coming-of-age morality play. It definitely reads as though it is written for a young audience, but it doesn't condescend to its audience, either, and would appeal to readers of Diana Wynne Jones or Vivian Vande Velde.

Mollie is the daughter of two peasants, and her parents have recently had another baby, Thomas. Thomas is a beautiful, good-natured child, an
Misty Mount
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Guest" by Mary Downing Hahn is a middle-grade fantasy adventure inspired by Irish folklore.
I was charmed by the main character, Mollie Cloverall—a brave, spirited young girl who also has her flaws. In fact, it's partially her jealousy that allows her baby brother Thomas to be replaced by a mean and ugly changeling.
Her parents don't handle the tragedy well at all. Her father leaves his family and her mother falls into illness and depression. Mollie, however, takes a different approach and is
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
It's a really enjoyable read and once I started I couldn't put it down! I finished it in one sitting. I did have a problem with some characters and their decisions, but I just fell in love with Guest and that made it a 4 star rating instead of a 3 star.
I really did not expect to get invested into this book like I did.
Richelle Robinson
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
"I received a review copy from Amazon Vine and voluntarily provided an honest review. This does not affect the opinion of the book or the content of the review."

First time reading this author and she can definitely write a story. The description was very vivid and it felt like I was along side the characters which I enjoyed. The main character, Mollie, annoyed me since she kept making the same mistakes over and over after she was warned. I know she is a kid but come on. You hav
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this title for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

I am not always a huge MDH fan, but let me tell you, her books FLY off of my middle school collections shelves. I have multiple copies of most of her books on the shelves and they are in constant rotation with students turning one in and grabbing another. So when I saw that MDH had a new book coming out, one that wasn't going to fit in with her tradition
Teresa Barrera
Aug 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Mollie's baby brother Thomas has been stolen and switched with a changeling in his place and it's all her fault. If Mollie hadn't of taken the locket for herself that was meant to protect Thomas, none of this would of happened.
With her father gone in the event of what has happened and the changeling weakening her mother, Mollie takes the changeling determined to give the creature back and get her brother back.
But, not all goes as planned. There's twists and trickery in the Dark Lands
This book made it to a new shelf, Best This Year Shelf.
Should be 6 stars shelf ...
I LOVED this book so much, I'm not deleting it from my reader.
I'm gonna read it again some day for sure.
In the end I shed a tear, gonna miss Guest, I love him so much.
Loved the whole place, the woods, the magic in it...
What a wonderful, magical story.
Best book I've read this year.
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are a fan of folk lore tales than you need to check out this book. It is about a changeling. I have read several books on this subject but I have to say this is in my top three favorites. What I loved the most about this book is how author, Mary stayed close to the real legends of stories about changelings and other folk lore. Some of the other books that I have read on this subject were a bit more "fictional".

Mollie's compassion towards Guest was kind. It showed that love can
Andrea Johnston
Jul 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I was hooked on this book just from reading the description. The fabulous writing style kept me hooked and reading straight through to the end. I completed my Masters thesis on Newfoundland folklore which is also very rich in fairylore so I was in heaven, henny!

But here are some reason why YOU will want to read this novel:

*Brilliantly (and accurately) explores the idea of changlings, the fairy realm, and some of "the rules" of interacting with Faire and Kinde folk.
Liz Friend
May 29, 2019 rated it liked it
The story: It’s Mollie’s fault when the dark faeries kidnap her brother and leave Guest in his place--a sickly fairy halfling who does nothing but bite, pinch, eat...and break her family apart. Eventually, determined to make the fairies give her brother back in exchange for Guest, Mollie leaves home on a dangerous quest. Everyone they meet along the way means them harm, but worst of all is the Queen of the Kinde Folk...and the fact that Mollie’s brother, once discovered, doesn't believe her stor ...more
Valerie McEnroe
This is my least favorite MDH book. It's a fantasy book about a changeling baby left by the Kinde folk in exchange for Mollie's sweet, adorable baby brother. I've never been much of a fan of Hahn's work personally, although I do acquire her books for my school library because they are perfect for older elementary kids moving into scary books. I've also never been much of a fan of changeling stories, but if I had to pick one it would be 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison. MDH should stick to ghost stories ...more
Alexandra Martin
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
NB: Contains spoilers!

I can't quite decide whether I enjoyed this book or not.

The positive:
It was absolutely original and unusual and I didn't really know what was going to happen.
It's highly atmospheric with some beautiful, evocative description.
The character of Mollie is a brilliant, brave, determined heroine and engaged me from the first page.
Guest himself is a fantastic creation: he moves from repellent to endearing and leaps off the page.

Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mollie should know better than to gush over how cute her baby brother is, because everybody knows that saying a baby is cute will alert the Kinde Folk. But she can't help herself, and the next thing she knows, there's a changeling in Thomas's place - an ugly, screaming baby that exhausts her mother and drives her father away. Mollie decides that she will bring the changeling, who she names Guest, back to the Kinde Folk to try to get her brother back. With help from a traveler named Madog, Mollie ...more
Shelly Hammond
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this to be terrific. It may be a middle grade tale but I'm way beyond that in years and I absolutely adored this story. I thought it was great how it followed some folklore and myths but turned them into all new stories with characters that aren't soon to be forgotten.
I'm not going to tell you the story or what happens in it because you have to read it to find all that out but I'll give you the briefest of summary without spoilers.
This is the story of a family that has an adorable litt
Jaime Sanborn
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is written in the style of Grimm. The characters make mistakes over and over and have to face magical consequences. There is also an element of sexism, as it appears child-rearing is entirely a female concern in this novel. However, since it is meant to be a story that takes place in an ancient Celtic setting, I will forgive.

This is a story of the cruelty of the Kinde Folk, a magical people who treat humans like toys. One day, a young farm-girl named Mollie accidentally compliments he
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down. I love learning about history and this book gives readers a look at some of the folk stories that people believed in so many years ago. In this case, this story surrounds a changeling child. One family loses their beautiful baby boy and in his place they are given a changeling – a sickly, mean child that does nothing but scream and make life miserable. We learn that children believed to be a changeling are left at a crossroad to die due to fea ...more
April Taylor
Jul 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Mollie lives in a world where human baby boys have to be spoken to only with harshness or else they might be stolen by creatures from the Dark Lands. When Mollie makes a mistake by saying something kind to her baby brother Thomas, he’s whisked away and replaced with a repulsive creature known as a changeling.

Eventually, Mollie decides she must rectify her mistake. She sets out on a journey to the Dark Lands to find Thomas. But the Dark Lands are a place where nothing is as it seems, which makes
Melanie Dulaney
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Readers of Mary Downing Hahn's previous middle grade novels will likely put "Guest" into a category alongside "Took" and very far away from titles like "Wait Til Helen Comes," "All the Lovely Bad Ones," and "Deep and Dark and Dangerous." The plot of this newest Hahn work comes straight out of Celtic lore and has plenty of action, fantastic creatures, and dark magic. The main character, Mollie, is not altogether likable at the straight, but as she seeks to restore her family to a happier state an ...more
Mollie knew she shouldn't say anything positive about her baby brother, lest the Kinde Folk hear and swap him for one of theirs. She knows that the locket around his neck is meant to protect him. But it won't hurt to wear the pretty necklace herself, just for a few minutes? He's such a good baby!

The changeling child--whom they call Guest, since he's NOT staying--is a hellion. Mollie's dad left and her mom is a mess, trying to care for this hated creature and distraught over her own b
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another great tale by this true storytelling author!!
I first "met this author" through Wait til Helen comes and ever since I've been hooked! I love her ghost stories!
This one is a little different than she normally writes which is why I gave it a 4 star. Plus, it was a little slow in the beginning. However; I'm glad I kept reading. It has a cool ending though!!
Mollie learns a lot about herself throughout the book. At first, I truly thought she was going to be a brat in the whole sto
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mary Downing Hahn is one of my favorite authors. I have always loved her books, and this one is no exception!

Guest: A Changeling Tale is a middle aged novel based on Irish folklore. It is the story of Mollie, a young girl who inadvertently and carelessly causes her baby brother to be stolen by the Kinde Folke and taken to another land. A changeling is left in his place and misery ensues. Mollie sets out on a mission to find her baby brother and bring him home.

I finished this book within two da
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
ARC received from publisher's booth at ALA Conference.

This is both true to form for Mary Downing Hahn and a departure from her usual voice and style at the same time. It's a great introduction to Irish myths and folktales for young readers, and I could hardly put it down even as an adult.

The main character's stubbornness became grating at times, and the bittersweet ending drags quite a bit but I also don't know how it could have been handled differently. I like the bitter
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I almost did not give this book 4 stars, but the ending the second half of the book made up for the annoyance and anger I felt at Mollie for the first half.

This was an interesting take on Irish folktale of the changeling and I enjoyed it a lot. I thought this was going to be a bit creepier when I read the summary and it's not creepy at all. Certainly not on the same level as her ghost stories.

I will also add that this book does do that middle - grade fiction thing where the author is not expli
Thanks to and the publisher for letting me read this ARC.

Another great read from my favorite kids scary book author Mary Downing Hahn. It's a bit different than her usual story. This one doesn't have a main character in present day dealing with a ghost from 100 years in the past but in this book we are dealing with a changeling.

Mollie loves her little baby brother, Thomas, but she has to say that he is an ugly dreadful boy so the Kinde Folke won't come and take him and leave one
Sep 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I like Mary Downing Hahn's books and think she's great at using your own imagination to enhance her stories. That being said, The Guest fell flat. I wanted to like it and felt like I had to power through it. I felt constantly torn between feeling badly for Guest and feeling creeped out by him. The inability to trust the other characters or trust the reality of the other characters made it hard t
Dai Guerra
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed that the main character was naive and acted her age. I read too many books that are meant for a younger audience in which the protagonist seems like they are an adult and it throws me off. It was refreshing to read something different as Mollie gets into a whole lot of trouble for being a child.

Something else that I liked was the way that the twists unfolded, it seemed like there was no substance to them but as I kept reading I thought differently. I thought it was great that t
3.5 stars. Lovely writing, and good interpretation of Irish folklore and a nice spin on the tale of Tamlin. It needed just a few more pages though, because Mollie's journey from obnoxious bratt, stupid, and insufferable, to kind, loving, caring sister for the changeling, and listening versus irrational behavior was a bit sudden at points. I liked Mollie by the last 30 pages, but wanted to knock sense into her thick skull for most of the book. A very good fall read. Fun and dangerous, atmospheric ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC eBook in exchange for honest feedback.

As someone who grew up loving Mary Downing Hahn’s ghost stories, and later her realistic novels, I was excited to see yet another new middle-grade novel from her. “Guest” is based on Irish folklore and follows a young girl, Mollie, as she attempts to save her baby brother from the Kinde Folke. The Kinde Folke are a magical people that snatch human babies and leave their own ill-tempered changelings in their plac
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grades
Guest is a quick read, primarily because Hahn does an excellent job of pulling you into the story and making it difficult to put down. Though a little different than her typical ghost story, there is still the "just right" amount of creepy and spooky factor for your middle grades reader. I also appreciate that she stuck closer to the original tales of the Fae, rather than creating a feel good "fairy" tale. I would definitely recommend to any young reader who is beginning to dive into the genre o ...more
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another great novel for elementary/middle school students by Mary Downing Hahn. This is a journey story and it is quite well written. Mollie leaves her home with the changeling. They are going to the Kinde Folke land to exchange the changeling for her brother. They meet good and bad and quite scary along the way. There is a part that might get confusing (the tithe part) for young students but I tell them to come see me if they don't understand something in a book and they do. Always good discuss ...more
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