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The Haunting

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A dark family secret prompts a ghost to wreak havoc in this spooky novel in the spirit of Mary Downing Hahn.
The only life 12-year-old Emily has ever known is the cold, unloved existence of being an orphan. But everything changes when the Thorntons, a young couple from London, adopt Emily, whisking her away to a new life at their grand estate.

At first, life at Blackthorn Manor is wonderful. But as Emily explores the grounds and rooms, she stumbles upon a mysterious girl named Kat, who appears to be similar in age, and the two become fast friends.

That's when things take a turn for the worse. Kat seems to know a curious amount about the estate, and strange things happen whenever she's around. In one case, Emily narrowly avoids getting toppled by a bookcase in the library; in another, the fire erupts in the fireplace, nearly burning Emily's hands. It's almost as if someone -- or something -- wants Emily dead.

Emily must find out what happened to the Thorntons and, more important, how Kat is connected to these strange goings-on at Blackthorn Manor before it's too late!

229 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2020

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About the author

Lindsey Duga

8 books293 followers
Lindsey Duga is a middle grade and young adult writer with a passion for fantasy, science fiction, and basically any genre that takes you away from the real world. She wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.

Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show and practicing yoga.

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5 stars
79 (30%)
4 stars
97 (37%)
3 stars
59 (22%)
2 stars
16 (6%)
1 star
6 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews
Profile Image for Jen.
597 reviews253 followers
December 24, 2020
This is exactly the kind of middle grade book I would have loved as a kid. This is going to show my age, but every time I went to the library, I'd look in the card catalog under "ghost" to see if there was anything new. The Haunting by Lindsey Duga would have been an instant favorite!

I know I'm not supposed to review middle grade for other adult readers, blah, blah, blah. Too bad because I am going to so prepare thyself. If you can't handle me saying this is a great book for kids but not so much for older readers - you've been warned.

I'm going to happily pass this book on to my boys. I think they would find it just scary enough to get creeped out by it. That's the beauty of young readers. They don't have a thousand stories in their minds and a thousand tropes that have come before when they pick up something new. The Haunting will be fresh and new and creepy.

If you are an adult reader who reads middle grade as one of your own personal genres - like I do! - The Haunting isn't going to feel particularly new. The Haunting reminded me of Little Orphan Annie - with Sandy and Miss Hannigan and Daddy Warbucks - which I enjoyed. The scares are fun, but they are also very traditional for a ghost story. The reader will know what's going on in The Haunting long before our main character Emily figures it out. This will be far more thrilling to younger readers.

This was my first time reading Lindsey Duga. She has written YA previously, but The Haunting was her middle grade debut. She has another middle grade horror coming out in March 2021 called Ghost in the Headlights so you know my inner Jen is excited to read that one next year as well.

3.5/5 stars
Profile Image for ☠Kayla☠.
204 reviews72 followers
October 20, 2021
This book would be perfect for someone who is wanting to get started in spooky books but is a little worried and not wanting to get to scared. This story is about a young orphan girl named Emily and her loyal dog who finally get a chance at a family. But when they go to there new home, Emily quickly starts to realize that maybe things aren't what they seem as weird things start happening to her and her dog. Emily is determined to get to the bottom of it and discover whether her new home is really haunted or if it's all just her imagination.
I'm a sucker for a good ghost story and I absolutely loved this one for having the dog be such a huge part of the story. I give it a 3 stars because I immediately guessed the whole storyline after the first chapter. Either way though it was still a good story with a gothic feel and great for the spooky season.
Profile Image for Caryn - iam.caryn.
715 reviews85 followers
November 9, 2019
I might be aging myself here... but does anyone remember the show Are You Afraid of the Dark?

You know how some of those episodes were truly excellent and creepy and full on eyes bugging out of your head terrifying?

Well that’s what this book was like. It’s like one of those great episodes that has spent the last 20+ years occasionally floating across your brain and making you shiver.

A truly fun and exciting middle grade ghost story.
Profile Image for Alice 🌙.
1,599 reviews123 followers
July 19, 2022
3.5/5 ⭐️
This was super cool! I love a middle grade spooky ghost story! I swear sometimes they’re even better then adult ghost stories.
Profile Image for Kasha's Book Sematary.
603 reviews253 followers
November 6, 2022
3,5*

This was my first time reading Lindsey Duga. She has other YA titles, but The Haunting was her middle grade debut and I really enjoyed it.

I loved to see a main character that came from an orphanage and struggled since many kids might be able to relate to this and we do not see it so often in books where most characters come from seemingly perfect families.

This story is about a young orphan girl named Emily and her loyal dog who finally get a chance at a family. But when they go to their new home, Emily quickly starts to realize that maybe things aren't what they seem as weird things start happening to her and her dog. Emily is determined to get to the bottom of it and discover whether her new home is really haunted or if it's all just her imagination.

It was a really nice and quick spooky read. Of course as an adult you can always tell where things are going but this story felt refreshing.

Perfect for:Someone who loves stories about haunted places. Readers that want to be introduced to horror.
Profile Image for Aleisa.
402 reviews9 followers
February 5, 2020
Loved it! I scare easy and hate the horror genre but have found a fondness for the middle grade version of the genre. This was another fun story. Not TOO scary and creepy for, you know, an adult but just enough to keep me thoroughly engrossed. Well okay, maybe a little scared and creeped out.
Profile Image for Sharon.
24 reviews
October 21, 2021
An excellent story for young readers who love stories about ghosts. Even though it is aimed at 10-14yr old readers, adults will enjoy the story of Emily and the ghost that haunts the house of her newly adopted family.
Profile Image for FU€K 0FF.
125 reviews1 follower
February 6, 2022
This was an okay book. I never was impressed by anything throughout it, and altogether it wasn't a story I would remember for more than a year.

The plot was good. I like horror stories, especially ghosts ones because I'm not scared of them. I did like the dog, Archie, he was cute and reminded me of my own good. That's basically it though. Except for Archie, all the characters were incredibly bland, they had nothing special to them. And the ending was rushed. The book is overall fast-paced, but the ending was just RUSHED.

Not much else. This is a middle-grade read, so couldn't expect much. If you're just starting out in the horror category and don't really care about the characters and more on the plot, then I'll recommend this. But otherwise, not really.
Profile Image for Cindy :: leavemetomybooks ::.
871 reviews38 followers
May 28, 2020
Skip this and read “Small Spaces” and “Dead Voices” by Katherine Arden and/or “Spirit Hunters” by Ellen Oh if you are looking for a tween horror book that’s actually scary and has smart characters instead of boring yourself with the Scooby-Doo-grade hijinks and dummy main character this book offers.
Profile Image for Monique.
993 reviews60 followers
July 8, 2020
Wanted something quick and fun I could recommend to students next year--(Scholastic always has the best book trailers and intriguing covers!) So I chose this slim read from my last Book Fair haul and wanted something I could read until one of my library holds come through---LOL I’m Kindle reading addicted and the library is helping so much to get me into ebooks---Anyways started this 2020 read with a decidedly creepy cover depicting a ghost girl --hmm- okay so this one starts with a young girl living a poor and terrible life in an orphanage where she is simultaneously neglected and overworked with the headmistress holding a personal vendetta against her...Emily’s life is all starvation, hardships and poverty with the only bright spot a stray dog who visits her and she doesn’t see it getting any better until one day a beautiful young rich couple enters the orphanage and --miraculously they choose her as their new foster daughter and allow her dog to come along too…

“And now here was Emily, riding out with her new family, to a new home, a new life.” (Pg. 24)

Emily’s wildest dreams come true as she is whisked away to live and be a part of this family in their huge mansion...what are a few rules and doors she is forbidden to enter?

“She had parents who had given her a beautiful room, accepted her best friend, and allowed her an entire castle to explore. What was one off-limits room out of so many open to her? What was one rule compared to an endless list of them at Evanshire?” (Pg. 44)

the only problem is the house has been horribly neglected, the parents seem to be holding a secret and the only child Emily meets to play with only shows up right before disaster happens jeopardizing her happiness…...
Figuring out the mystery of this house and her new parents is pretty much the premise of this super fast read that holds your interest and is written for kids with lots of eerieness and creepy atmosphere...Pretty good, thanks Scholastic!
Profile Image for Jessica Harrison.
469 reviews34 followers
January 27, 2020
Wait Till Helen Comes.

The Doll in the Garden.

These are books of my childhood. In fact, I don’t know any of my contemporaries who don’t remember these reads from Mary Downing Hahn.

Lindsey Duga’s The Haunting takes me right back to my childhood, curled under a blanket with a flashlight and squeezing a stuffed animal.

The Haunting stars 12-year-old Emily, an orphan who has never known anything other than cold loneliness. Emily has no hope of advancing past her current condition, she’s just too old, too plain to get adopted. Everything changes when the Thorntons, a young couple from London, choose Emily to join their family.

Emily soon finds herself at Blackthorn Manor, a grand estate with surprises around every corner. But not all surprises are good ones. As Emily explores the grounds and rooms, she meets Kat, a girl who seems to know everything about the estate, and strange things happen whenever she’s around.

As time passes, those strange things start to become less strange and more dangerous — a narrow miss with a toppled bookcase, shattering glass and erupting fire. Emily tries to explain what’s going on to her new parents, but they won’t listen. As Emily uncovers the Thorntons’ past, she may just be able to save her future.

The Haunting is just the right amount of creepy mystery for middle readers. Author Lindsey Duga’s prose is spot on for this genre. Emily is likeable and Kat’s unsettling behavior is perfectly balanced. I did figure out the mystery before the “big reveal” but that didn’t lessen my anticipation for the climax.

The Haunting is a fast-paced read that I finished in a day. It’s sure to be a hit with middle graders.
Profile Image for Suspense Magazine.
569 reviews83 followers
May 11, 2020
There’s nothing quite as refreshing as a good old ghost story, especially one set back in time. Lindsey Duga’s book, “The Haunting,” brought a ghost story to life for me in an old house where something sinister is lurking.

Emily knows that adoption is out of the picture for her when she’s competing with beautiful, blue-eyed, blonde girls of much younger ages around her at Evanshire’s Home for Neglected Girls. But all that changes when the Thornton’s, a rich couple, come and choose Emily from amongst all the girls. Emily can’t believe her luck. She and her beloved dog, Archie, are whisked away to Blackthorn Manor, where she expects to be loved and become the child of a family she had only dreamed of before.

But something weird is going on in Blackthorn Manor. Emily sees shadows crawling around the walls. Things seem to fall apart all around her, trashing the home that she knows she’s supposed to care for. And an odd girl who seems to know the manor better than anyone keeps showing up, trying to befriend her. Emily knows the Thornton’s are hiding something from her, and as more bad things start happening at the manor, Emily knows she needs to find out quick, before whatever is haunting the manor banishes Emily out of the home.

Good, creepy ghosts that wreak havoc have always been a favorite of mine. And the ghost (because yes, it’s totally a ghost) that Duga shows us at the end is scary and satisfying at the same time. If you love a good, kid-friendly ghost story, this book is definitely for you.
June 7, 2022
The only life 12-year-old Emily has ever known is the cold, unloved existence of being an orphan. But everything changes when the Thorntons, a young couple from London, adopt Emily, whisking her away to a new life at their grand estate.

At first, life at Blackthorn Manor is wonderful. But as Emily explores the grounds and rooms, she stumbles upon a mysterious girl named Kat, who appears to be similar in age, and the two become fast friends.

That's when things take a turn for the worse. Kat seems to know a curious amount about the estate, and strange things happen whenever she's around. In one case, Emily narrowly avoids getting toppled by a bookcase in the library; in another, the fire erupts in the fireplace, nearly burning Emily's hands. It's almost as if someone -- or something -- wants Emily dead

This book has very good plot twists and humor incorporated into it. It's the character development which I like the most the way Emily starts to grow more nervous and gains courage by hanging around Kat.
So all in all, this was a very good book, a thriller to have on my shelves i rate it a 5/10 because of its use of vocabulary and plotline. An edge of your seat tale
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for KWinks  .
1,188 reviews15 followers
March 8, 2021
More Middle-Grade March Madness.
My inner 10-year-old would give this 5 stars, the adult in me gives it a "meh" but I am not the intended audience, so young Me wins.
I can't tell you how many times I chose a book as a child with a creepy cover and an ominous copy on the back cover only to be disappointed. I'm looking at YOU, Nancy Drew. So often, there was never a ghost, there was always some mystery solved by pulling a rubber mask off the face of some very human villain, a la Scooby Doo, and it was all so very disappointing.
Well, Duga delivers. There is a pretty terrifying ghost skipping around this gothic, isolated mansion. It causes shadows to bleed from the ceiling, bookcases to topple, and fires to start themselves. We have some useless adults and one very brave mutt. This is the kind of story I wanted to read as a kid.
I would call it "starter horror" if this gives a kid nightmares, well then we are not ready for horror.
Profile Image for Amy.
459 reviews14 followers
May 12, 2020
Emily has always dreamed of being adopted. So, when she is whisked away to the Blackthorn Manor by the wealthy Thornton family, she was overjoyed. At first, everything felt like a fairytale, but then things started to feel a little off. At times, the manor itself would be in complete disrepair, and her new parents acted like they were harboring a secret. Then horrible accidents started occurring, no matter how hard Emily tried to be careful. Is the manor trying to keep her away from her new parents, or is there a secret dying to get out?

The Haunting is a wonderful ghost story that will keep readers guessing until the very end, while being ideally suited for the middle-grade reading audience.

For more reviews and book-related body paints please visit my instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/amy_forthel...
11 reviews
March 23, 2020
If there was a sixth star I would add it.
I liked it because Emily is a girl, who never had a family. She gets picked by Mr and Mrs Thronton. After a week she realized things are happening. I wouldn't change anything in this book. It was great from the beginning, I do wish there was a 2nd book, or even a series. Can't wait to find my next best read.
Profile Image for Fatimah.
97 reviews33 followers
March 30, 2020
A great short and fun read. I came across this book at the Scholastic book fair and it caught my eye. From the moment I opened the book, I didn't want to put it down. I had a clear idea of what the storyline was going to be and how it would end – it was pretty obvious from the first couple of chapters. However, it still kept me interested in reading it.
Profile Image for Lauren.
448 reviews13 followers
September 6, 2021
If you're looking for an autumnal atmospheric read that will bring about the goosebumps this book will deliver. I enjoy the slow build creep factor of this book. Although I've read quite a bit of horror so I sort of knew where this was going, I still thoroughly enjoyed going along for the ride of reading this book.
Profile Image for Bella Starr.
329 reviews
November 8, 2022
I would have loved this so much when I was a kid. I enjoy it now, and I don't really read middle-grade anymore. It isn't really scary, and there's a historical element. I guess this takes place in the 19th-20th century because of the carriage, the orphanage, and there's mention of Spring-Heeled Jack.
Profile Image for Amanda.
310 reviews
June 24, 2021
I couldn’t get into this. I quite enjoy middle grade horror books even if they are predictable but this one was not working for me. I’m not sure why. I felt like it just dragged on. I’m sure others will love it but it wasn’t for me.
247 reviews4 followers
December 12, 2021
A student bought this from our school's Scholastic book fair. I love a good ghost story and this one was good! Fast moving with a well developed protagonist. The dog, Archie, added to the fun. I will be recommending it to my 6th graders!
Profile Image for Sarah Easley.
155 reviews
March 14, 2020
Generic with clunky writing. The "mystery" will be obvious to middle grade readers, but satisfying enough for fans of old manor haunting stories.
126 reviews
June 21, 2020
Reminds me of books that Hahn wrote. The story has a good lesson for what is going on right now in the US. I would highly recommend this one.
1 review
April 17, 2021
I think it was a good book o=i have the book and real-life i love the book but the only thing I have with this good is the end its just not that good but other than that it so good
101 reviews
May 17, 2021
Great horror that is very similar to Mary Downing Hahn books. You'll be a fan!
Profile Image for Jenna Scribbles.
489 reviews30 followers
December 26, 2021
Good ghost story. Emily was strong but vulnerable. I wanted to see a happy ending for her. The spooky parts were plentiful - and creepy!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews

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