One for Sorrow
by Mary Downing Hahn
Published July 18th, 2017 by Clarion Books
Paranormal, Ghosts, Historical Fiction, Tweens
Against the ominous backdrop of the influenza epidemic of 1918, Annie, a new girl at school, is claimed as best friend by Elsie, a classmate who is a tattletale, a liar, and a thief. Soon Annie makes other friends and finds herself joining them in teasing and tormenting Elsie. Elsie dies from influenza, but then she returns to reclaim Annie’s friendship and punish all the girls who bullied her. Young readers who revel in spooky stories will relish this chilling tale of a girl haunted by a vengeful ghost.
*I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!*
The story is mostly about Annie and Elsie. Elsie comes back from the dead and starts tormenting Annie and the girls who wronged her. To say that nobody believes Annie about Elsie’s ghosts it’s an understatement.
The novel is not scary in a gory, horror way. However, it does has a creepy feeling to it. I was involved with Annie’s situation; I couldn’t wait to see what happens to her and if she’ll be alright.
The book also has a historical subplot to it. It is set in 1918, right before the Great War ended. It touches subjects such as war politics, and how the German living in USA were ostracized and treated with malice. Moreover, the novel also describes vividly how the influenza epidemic affected people’s lives, and how it left behind it a lot of victims. As the author mentioned at the end of the book, some parts of the story are based on her mother’s experience with influenza, wakes, and funerals. Maybe that’s why it feels so realistic.
The plot itself it’s fast-paced and filled with action. There is no dull moment in this book, and it’s a very fast read!
Great and complex characterization! Each character has a unique personality, a distinctive voice, and at least one major flaw. In other words, the characters are very realistic. They sound and act like real girls.
Having said that, the characters themselves are not very nice. Not even the heroine or the victim turned villain. Oh, no.
Annie and her group of friends are bullies. They mock and terrorize Elsie most of the time. Even though Annie and Jane feel some remorse, the peer pressure it’s too strong.
However, Elsie is no angel either. She is mean, clingy, manipulative, and vindictive.
If you like reading only about pleasant characters, this book it’s not for you – especially if you expect the main character to be relatable and good. Don’t get me wrong, Annie has good traits; after all, she is just a little girl. However, the way she thinks of Elsie it’s not very innocent.
Personally, I do not have a problem with the characters. I actually enjoyed the fact that the characters are not perfect or goody two shoes. A lot of children are like that – some grow out of it, some not.
In short, One for Sorrow is a fast paced, entertaining novel. The characters are well developed, the setting and world building are intriguing, and the plot is unique.
I would’ve like to know a little bit more about Elsie; to know her background. Was her home life really that bad, or was she exaggerating? I’m confused because Elsie is not the most honest character.
I wished the book was a little bit longer, mostly because I enjoyed it so much :D.
Yes!!! Definitely! The book is a sure page turner, and it reads really fast. I think people who love reading about ghosts and creepy situations will definitely enjoy this novel!