The Ghost Next Door

When Sherry Alston came to visit her aunt Judith, she claimed to have an imaginary playmate named Miranda. Sherry didn’t know anything about Miranda, her dead half-sister, who accidentally drowned in a pond, years ago. Thirteen year old Lindsey lived next door to the Alstons’ mansion. Together with her best friend Tammy, they tried to unravel the mystery of the ghost next door.

I love this novel and the flow of the story was very intriguing that I couldn’t put it down. Basically, people around Sherry were skeptical whether she could really see Miranda’s ghost. Most of the characters are either weird or interesting, especially Mr. Farrar (he belonged to the weird character category) who even invited a famous psychic to summon the spirit of Miranda and plotted evidence just to prove that this psychic he brought could communicate with ghosts. I’m not sure what’s up with this guy but I’m glad he wasn’t my neighbor.

Mr. Alston, Sherry’s dad and her aunt Judith were close siblings and they were obviously still affected by Miranda’s sudden death. Mr. Alston tried to give Sherry everything because of the guilt that he wasn’t able to be there for his dead daughter while aunt Judith couldn’t give Sherry the same affection she gave to Miranda and wasn’t ready to let go of Miranda’s memories. I feel that these two are being unfair to Sherry. It’s hard to fight for someone’s love especially if you’re competing with a dead person.

Lindsey and Tammy are neighbors with the Alstons and a good friend of aunt Judith. Sherry became friends with Lindsey’s brothers when she came for a vacation with her parents. I’m not sure why I find the two girls, Lindsey and Tammy, a bit peculiar. I think they’re too unbelievably clever for their age and it’s difficult to relate to them especially for a thirteen year old reader.

The best thing I like about this story is the mystery whether Sherry could really see Miranda’s ghost or everything she knew about her dead half-sister was due to finding Miranda’s old diary. Well, the bad thing -the mystery remained a mystery till the end.Miranda didn’t really show herself to anyone except to Sherry- if she really could see the ghost of Miranda. There was no climax where the characters were being chased by a terrifying spirit of a young girl or no dramatic confrontation with shocking revelations or similar to that.

Even the place where Miranda hid the owl with the love on its eyes, a figurine she made with her aunt before she died, wasn’t much of a revelation. I was expecting something shocking like aunt Judith accidentally killed Miranda and the owl was buried with her hidden body but there wasn’t anything like that. It’s still my favourite part though and what kept me intrigue till the end.

Over all, the novel is a great read and a page turner if you like mystery and it did scare me a bit but I have to warn you, don’t expect a ghost to show up or you’ll be disappointed.

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Halloween Reads

I want to start this post by telling a story I heard from my brother, which was also told to him by a friend or a co-worker- I don’t remember anymore. Anyway, the story is about a distance relative who received a job offer from a company who was generous enough to assist him in finding a new apartment that is in close proximity to his new job. They had a spare apartment which they could rent out to him for a more reasonable fee. After accepting the job, he soon moved into his new home with his wife. One night, he dreamed of a child going out of the old wardrobe which was located near the bed. The wardrobe was owned by the previous occupants and was locked. He didn’t think of the dream as something weird and assumed that it was one of those normal nightmares you get every night caused by vivid imagination or from watching horror movies. But he kept on having the same dream until it started to bother him. He decided to tell his unusual dreams to his wife. His wife was frightened, and they soon moved out of the house. Why did they move out immediately? It was because the wife was also having the same re-occurring dream, a boy going out of the closed wardrobe.

This story reminds me of the children’s horror books I used to read when I was in high school. They are probably not as creepy as the horror novels for adults but they are unforgettable enough that even if you remember the story years later while you’re alone in your living room, it will still make you shiver and run to your mother even if you’re already twenty seven. Or maybe it’s just me whose animal spirit is a scared cat.

Since it’s Halloween, I decided to share my favourite horror novels.

1. The Doll in the Garden

Following the death of her father, Ashley moved with her mother in a quiet neighbourhood. The not so friendly, landlady warned her to never to go to the garden, but Ashley didn’t listen.

This story is sad and heart-warming at the same time. It shows how a childhood regret could haunt someone till old age.

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2. Wait Till Helen Comes

Molly hates her step-sister, Heather who always put her and her brother, Michael into trouble. Heather’s real mother died in a mysterious fire and her father remarried Molly and Michael’s mom. And now, they’re stuck with her and their new step-dad who spoils his daughter and believes whatever she says, in their new house in the woods. A house that used to be a church with a graveyard behind.

And now, Heather found a new friend named Helen and Molly’s terrified of her. It’s because Helen died in a mysterious fire, a hundred years ago.

I love the close bond between Molly and Michael and the novel doesn’t only tell the story of a ghost who was separated from her parents but also shows the complications of remarriage, both for parents and children.

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3. Time for Andrew

Andrew made a deal with a ghost of a dead boy that looks exactly like him, who lured him into a different time. What if the ghost doesn’t want to switch places with him anymore?

This is a good story of a journey to the past and being able to meet the younger version of your family. I wish I could switch places with a ghost too and be able to  see how my parents lived during their younger days and perhaps, I’ll be able to change the future.

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4. Jane-Emily

A nine-year-old orphan, Jane, came to spend the summer with her young aunt, Louisa at Jane’s grandmother’s huge, mysterious mansion, where a young girl named Emily died, a long time ago.

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5. The Dollhouse Murders

Amy found an antique dollhouse- an exact replica of their ancestral house- in the attic of their old family home. The dolls in the dollhouse were moving on their own, as if they want to tell Amy something. Perhaps, they have the answer to an old family secret- the murder of Amy’s grandparents that happened years ago.

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So, these are my favourite ghost stories. Have you read any of these? Don’t forget to share what you think of these novels. Happy Halloween, everyone!