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The Haunting of Charles Dickens

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  278 ratings  ·  79 reviews

Meg Pickel’s older brother, Orion, has disappeared. One night, she steals out to look for him, and makes two surprising discoveries: She stumbles upon a séance that she suspects involves Orion, and she meets the author Charles Dickens, also unable to sleep, and roaming the London streets. He is a customer of Meg’s father, who owns a print shop, and a family friend.

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Feiwel & Friends (first published September 1st 2009)
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Meg Pickel's older brother Orion mysteriously disappeared months ago, much to the dismay of Meg's family, who run a print shop. When Meg sneaks out one night to look for Orion, she discovers a séance which might hold a clue, and there she encounters an old friend of the family, Charles Dickens. Dickens is concerned about the many disappearances of children from the streets of London, and he and Meg join together to find Orion and solve the mystery.

I wanted to love this, I really did. I adored Bu
Brian James
Jun 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes there are stories that are in my mind that I want to read, but know not within what pages they lie. As soon as I began this book, I knew it was one of those stories I'd been searching for a long time.

This book is so wonderful on so many levels that it's hard to know where to begin praising it. But I'll start with what is always the make or break for me and that is character. The main character, twelve year old Meg, is one of those characters you don't want to leave off and keeps you r
David Van
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book is more for teenagers, but even so it felt a tad too earnest at times (that darn Mulberry is one clever pup). Loved the setting, but wish the mystery was a bit deeper. And what's with a ghost showing up once then never spoken much of again?
Courtney Johnston
Mar 05, 2012 rated it liked it
I love the idea of this book. Dickens (big right now - good advance picking, Buzbee) is famed for his midnight walks round London - solitary walking was an immense part of his creative practice.

Buzbee takes these lost hours, and inserts into them a solid mystery story. Twelve-year-old Meg Pickel's older brother Orion has been missing for six months. She slips into the London streets one midnight, and happens upon Dickens, also out searching - searching for his next story.

Dickens happens to be a
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for

19th-century London is not a safe place for children, especially a girl like Meg Pickel. Boys and girls are going missing all over. Meg's family has been torn apart by the disappearance of her own brother, Orion, six months ago.

Now that her brother is gone, Meg is plagued with insomnia. While wandering the streets late one night, she runs into the family's friend, Charles Dickens, who is also suffering from lack of sleep. When an insomnia-ridden conversatio
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Charles Dickens as a character is sometimes more entertaining than Dickens as an author and while this will most assuredly cause some to demand I relinquish my readers card and my right to comment on fiction, I present to you that books such as The Humbug Murders by L.J. Oliver and this fine read gives us a Dickens that seems less stodgy and more human than his legend has allowed him to be in some time. The Great Man is oft seen as unapproachable in historical literary analysis, but in this work ...more
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
The plot in this story is about a sister trying to find her kidnapped brother and how she goes through many adventures and as will discover and uncovers many things.
The grade that this book is best for is 10th grade and the reason why is because of its high vocabulary it consists of. As well because of the way they phrase their sentences the reader can easily get confused.
This book is from a sociological point of view because it points out many social concerns. The author was trying to point o
Natalie Ayala
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Meg’s brother Orion suddenly goes missing. After six months of not being able to sleep due to her unanswered questions about Orion, she finally sets out to find answers when Mr.Charles Dickens secretly visits her father's print shop. This book would be best suitable for audiences between the ages of 11-15 or students that are in sixth to tenth grade. I recommend “The haunting of Charles Dickens” to this age group of students because it does not include mature language and it is easy to follow an ...more
Leah Ray
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent! The characterization of Dickens was deeply engaging. My only reservation is that I didn't care at all for the "clever" references and inside jokes, from a Mr. Micawber based on WC Fields's performance to the Beatles putting in an appearance. At least the Micawber character worked in the sense that this Dickens had met him before writing A Christmas Carol, so he could have been inspired by him. Other characters whom he meets for the first time in this novel are named after characters h ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen
Meg's older brother, Orion, has been missing for the past six months. There's been no sign he's still alive but Meg keeps hoping. One night she sees a strange light from an abandoned house not far away. She decides to investigate and stumbles upon a faked seance and Charles Dickens, also spying. Then Meg thinks one of the boys in the room could be Orion. Thus begins Meg and Mr. Dickens' search for the missing Orion. They stumble upon clues, get chased, dress in disguise, and use Mr. Dickens' pul ...more
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-teen
I enjoyed this trip into 18th century London with Meg Pickel as the main character who is the hero of the story supported by Charles Dickens. As in the other Lewis Buzbee books I've read, I felt enlightened and entertained by this historical fiction.
Oct 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
This is a whole lot of droning on about a whole lot of stuff I didn't realize that I wouldn't care about. I don't know what I expected but now I know why my family didn't recommend this to me.

I don't recommend this.
This was - confusing. Also rather confused, I think. There was a lot going on - as, of course, is the case with the typical Dickens novel - but sometimes one element seemed to interfere with another, and by the end, I wasn't sure quite what kind of story Buzbee had set out to write. One thing is pretty certain though, and that's that people who can't stand Dickens will be very unlikely to enjoy this book. A compliment in a way, because as a straight Dickens pastiche, it's quite successful.

Meg P
Hazel West
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thoughts on the Overall Book: This was one of those books that when I started it, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not. It's starts out slow, and I was worried that the mystery of Meg's brother's disappearance would turn out not to be all that interesting. However, about a third of the way in, the book takes a really interesting turn, that immediately made me sit up and speed through the rest. It was one that I really didn't know what the book was going to be about when I started it, b ...more
Elizabeth Varadan
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing

Take an unexplained disappearance. Bring in a ghost who points the way. Add Charles Dickens, who knows London’s troubled neighborhoods only too well. Stir in a plucky, thirteen-year-old girl who will let nothing stop her from tailing a dangerous kidnapping gang, and you have the grand, new middle-grade mystery by Lewis Buzbee, The Haunting of Charles Dickens.

Meg Pickel’s older brother, Orion, disappeared six months ago. Her family is still numb with shock. Each night, when everyone is asleep, Me
Meg's brother Orion is missing. On a midnight rooftop escapade she runs into Charles Dickens, a family friend and fellow insomniac. They witness a fake seance, which leads them to believe that Orion may be prisoner somewhere and it is up to them to find and free him. With the help of the rest of Meg's family and a sundry cast of worthy Victorian characatures, they set out on a quest to bring him home.

Quite a good book for what it is. I sense that it's well-suited to the upper-middle-grade/youngi
During most of this book, my biggest dilemma wasn't whether Charles Dickens would get over being haunted, or the missing boy found, but who this novel was written for.

I couldn't imagine kids really liking it. The main character, Meg Pickel, seems completely unreal, the sort of heroine who would be constructed by a middle-aged man. Charles Dickens comes across as a badly done parody of, well, Charles Dickens. The action is slow, with everybody constantly stopping to consume these elaborate meal
Dec 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
ATOS Book Level: 6.0
Interest Level: Middle Grades Plus (MG+ 6 and up)
AR Points: 13.0
Word Count: 79887

I've only finished the first chapter but I'm hesitant to read much more. The prose doesn't flow well for me, I know it's just for background info and to set up their connection to Dickens, but the style of the writing comes across as flat.
Almost half way through and I find myself stopping to read reviews about the book to see if I should continue on. I did finally get caught up in the story when
Overall I liked this historical mystery set in 19th-century London. As the plot follows Meg while she searches for her missing older brother, things moved along at a decent pace. I think many of my 6th grade students might get bogged down in the narrative of this story--especially in how the descriptions at times go on and on while detailing the same thing for paragraphs, or how Dickens speaks in a roundabout way before the story continues on.

I'm not sure what the deal was with the supernatural
Dan Rogers
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I am such a visual person that the cover of a book is the first thing which gets me to either pick up it up or pass it by. The cover of this one was so intriguing that I just had to see what it is all about. Once I read the back, I was hooked, thinking that "this has got to be good." In the beginning I struggled to "stay with it" as it seemed to be moving too slowly, almost to the point of dragging. Once I "pushed on through" that part and got into it, I just could not put it down. I was so caug ...more
Sep 26, 2015 rated it liked it
In The Haunting of Charles Dickens, the, author does a great job at potraying how family is essential in everyone's life. However, at times I feel as though the protagonist Meg is a little too modest and insecure. The reason why I say this is because through out the book Meg constantly expresses how she enjoys expressing her feelings into her diary about her brotheres sudden dissaperance, instead of sharing her emotions with her family. When first reading the book I immediantly related to Meg, a ...more
Shannon McGee
Mar 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
The Pickel family owns a print shop and has customers/friends with the likes of Charles Dickens. The daughter of the house, Meg, is adventurous and daring. She is strong willed and tries to find her missing older brother. While traveling at night through London she unexpectedly meets Charles Dickens. They make a pact that they will save Meg’s brother.

I felt different enjoyment from this book then Buzbee’s Steinbeck Ghost. Instead of flowing into each book Steinbeck wrote this one was a whole new
Miss Pippi the Librarian
Meg Pickel's older brother, Orion, has gone missing. She is determined to find him and the Dicken's novel that he took with him. As she spies a seance from a neighbor's roof, she meets author Charles Dickens. With the help of Mr. Dickens, Meg and Charles set out to find Orion in the city of London.

The haunting begins with the seance seen from the roof. The mysterious gathering is a cover for more dangerous activity with lost and stolen children. With a ghostly character named Peter, the ghostly
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This novel is a biography cleverly disguised as a mystery of epic proportions. When young boys are being kidnapped off the streets, one worried young girl enlists the aid of the mischievous, theatrical Charles Dickens, the brilliant author, raconteur and gazette publisher who is suffering from a bit of writer’s block.

The novel is a tightly woven mesh of various threads that starts off with the unlikeliest of events—a séance. But it starts even before then, when a boy from good but poor origins g
Sep 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 10-13 year olds
Recommended to Beverly by: indie next list/
The Haunting of Charles Dickens works pretty well as a mystery, but falls flat as historical fiction. Meg Pickles is trying to find her brother, Orion, who left the house one afternoon and was never seen again. She enlists the help of family friend, and seedy side of London expert, Charles Dickens. Before long they have viable suspects, but no way to track them down without entering the world of the crooks, gangsters and desperately poor. Meg is a spunky protagonist, and the characters she encou ...more
The beginning of The Haunting of Charles Dickens seemed to drag so much that I almost abandoned the book before giving it a fair chance. I'm so glad I powered through because this is a magnificent book with an engaging mystery and a great cast of characters. Meg Pickel's brother has been missing for six months and one evening while roaming the streets of London she bumps into Charles Dickens, famous author and family friend. Dickens is concerned for Orion's safety as well as the other children w ...more
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book thinking it might be a great read-aloud for my 5th grade classroom. Score! With a female main character and a missing older brother, this will interest both boys and girls. I really enjoyed it myself and may spark a renewed interest in Charles Dickens' novels. Hopeful that Buzbee will continue to write about Meg in future novels.

"Meg Pickel’s older brother, Orion, has disappeared. One night, she steals out to look for him, and makes two surprising discoveries: She stumbles
El Xanderpo
Jun 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
I am warning you prior to reading this review that there are spoilers, so read if you want the whole book spoiled (It really doesn't matter as the book SUCKS anyway.)

I absolutely HATED this book. I read this in school for a literature circle assignment, and it was by far the worst plot development I've ever read. Mr. Buzbee completely wastes a good 300 pages of this book and (SPOILER ALERT) magic, haunting, and the supernatural, just to completely blow it all off and have the book end with Meg a
Oct 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-copy
This book wasn't what I had particularly been expecting and had been in the mood for which is why I think it took me such a long time to go through and finish it. I had thought that it would have been more on the scary side of things which is what I had been craving. Regardless it was a pretty good book and some of the lines even reminded me and gave me the vibe of A Series of Unfortunate Events. I know at some other time I would have enjoyed this book more but in the end it was still enjoyable. ...more
Cindy Chavez
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is about a family who looses their son Orion because he gets kidnapped. His sister, Meg, a family friend go out on a journey to find Orion. I think this book is written for teens because the lexile level is a little bit too high for kids. This book is valuable for an education standpoint because it is one of the books that is compatible with the first semester of AP European History. I think the author was trying to entertain the readers. The theme of the book is to take a risk even if ...more
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Lewis Buzbee is a fourth generation California native who began writing at the age of 15, after reading the first chapter of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Since then he’s been a dishwasher, a bookseller, a publisher, a caterer, a bartender, and a teacher of writing. He and his wife, the poet Julie Bruck, live with their daughter Maddy in San Francisco, just half a block from Golden Gate Pa ...more

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