Took: A Ghost Story  by Mary Downing Hahn
January 7, 2016
Candace Hardy (22 articles)
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Took: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn

When the economy and a job loss cause the Anderson family to move, the distance from Connecticut to rural West Virginia is more than just miles for Daniel and his sister Erica. Coming from a somewhat privileged lifestyle of private school, expensive toys and clothing, their new home is  creepy, cold, old-fashioned and uninviting. And neither Daniel or Erica, who clings to her doll for comfort, want to live there.

They soon discover a scary mystery and rumors surrounding their house, about a witch called “Auntie” who takes a little girl every fifty
years to live in her cabin with her and a giant razorback hog named Bloody Bones. The most recent girl, Selene, who was “took” fifty years ago was friends with the daughter of their only friendly neighbor, the O’Neills. Dismissed as rumors, the children pay little attention to the terrifying stories about being “took” that surround their new home in this strange town.

 

They first discover the cabin with their dad, who is fascinated by the old contents and thinks they will make amazing photographs. Neither Daniel or Erica and interested in the cabin and are anxious to return home. In the coming weeks, Daniel and his dad happily explore the surrounding woods, while Erica is content to be in the house with her doll. So it is a surprise when Erica begins taking off with her doll to explore the woods alone.¬†Suspicious of his sister’s odd new behavior, Daniel follows her into the woods and discovers her sitting as if in a trance, periodically engaging in deep real conversation with her doll.

When he sees what appears to be a dark mysterious shadow in the trees, he is filled with foreboding, grabbing his sister and running for home, leaving her beloved doll behind. Heartbroken, when a search for the doll turns up nothing, Erica is convinced that the girl, named Selene, who was “took” fifty years ago has taken her doll.

As Erica becomes more secretive about what she has seen in the woods, and Daniel’s parents become agitated with him for failing to bring the doll home, Daniel returns home after fighting with Erica to leave the woods and retreats to his room. But Erica doesn’t return. A search party ensues but Daniel with the help of his nemesis, Brody, and a peculiar cat lady in Woodville, learns the real secrets behind the cabin and the disappearance fifty years before, and what it means to be truly brave.

The following events with strong believable characters, have just enough fright and suspense to make this a real page turner for the strong mid-grade reader.

 

 

Candace Hardy