It’s interesting to observe how my students’ reading interests influence each other in class. At the beginning of the year, I had a couple of kids bring in ghost stories for their independent reading, and I’ve watched as these books have been borrowed and passed around within our class. They can’t seem to get enough of a good ghost story! When it came time to place my latest book order with Scholastic, I made sure to include Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn on my list. Since it’s a mysterious ghost story, I was sure my kids would like to have it in our class library.
13 year-old Ali has been invited to spend the summer with her Aunt Dulcie to help take care of her younger cousin Emma at their family’s newly renovated summer cabin on a lake in Maine. It’s the first time in many years anyone in the family has spent time there, and, despite her mother’s wariness about the cabin, Ali decides to accompany her aunt and cousin anyway. While there, Ali and Emma meet a girl, Sissy, who causes more trouble than she is worth. Emma quickly becomes friends with Sissy, which causes tension and fighting among the girls. Although Sissy is mean, Ali can’t help but be intrigued by the mysterious girl who won’t divulge where she lives, who her parents are, or even her last name. Ali sets out to uncover the mystery of just who Sissy is, and what she finds out is a surprise to her whole family.
Initially, I found the book to be slow, but once I got past the first couple of chapters, I found myself really getting into it. I carried the book around with me in my purse to sneak in a few pages here and there as my husband and I drove around town running errands this weekend! As an adult, the book was predictable. However, a child would find the story to be mysterious and a page turner. It’s a fast read that allows kids to practice prediction and inferencing. I’m quite certain that after I finish sharing this book with the class on Monday, there will be more than a few kids adding this to their “To Read” list!