One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn
First Line: Although I didn’t realize it, my troubles began when we moved to Portman Street, and I became a student in the Pearce Academy for Girls, the finest school in the town of Mount Pleasant, according to Father.
Summary: Annie is a young girl in 1918. World War I is still raging in Europe and the Spanish flu is spreading across the United States. When Annie starts at a new school she meets a strange girl, Elsie, who instantly claims her as her friend. Annie discovers that Elsie is not liked by the other girls in the class. She is picked on and teased by others, which make Annie a target now too. But when Annie befriends the other girls in the school and drops Elsie things get worse. The flu finally hits Mount Pleasant. Annie’s new friends decide to pretend to be mourners and attend funerals in order to receive free treats. When they attend one funeral they are shocked to see that it is Elsie’s. She had succumbed to the flu after the girls had teased her and taken away her flu mask. All the girls feel terrible about what happened but when Annie receives a concussion from a sled ride she starts to see Elsie’s ghost. And she is not happy.
Highlights: This is spooky. I read Mary Downing Hahn’s books when I was younger and remember them being scary. Even now as an adult I was a little creeped out by the character of Elsie. It was also a history lesson. I have read and seen many shows that depict the time of Spanish flu but this makes it more real and scary too. To think how many people died and how quickly it happened can be a little terrifying.
Lowlights: I got really annoyed with Elsie. The repetition of her obsession with Annie kept dragging on. This I am sure is what the author intended since she is the villain of the story.
FYI: May be too scary for younger readers.