Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn is a ghost story written for younger readers (MG). A creepy plot, moody scenery, and ridiculously self-absorbed parents make this interesting My 9 year old found its scary bits titillating, while his older sister enjoyed the ideas of forgiveness and family.

The story follows a newly-blended family. Dave and Heather joined Jean, our main character Molly, and her brother Michael. The parents uproot the kids and plunk them in a renovated church in a wooded, lonely countryside. They expect the kids to keep an eye on each other, though the youngest, Heather, repeatedly expresses hatred for her new stepsiblings. The littlest girl lies and plays emotional games to get the older kids into trouble.

Then, Heather befriends a ghost from the church’s cemetery, a ghost with as much guilt and anger as Heather.

This ghost of a little girl named Helen may have bad designs on her new neighbors.

It’s up to Molly to ignore the nay-sayers who don’t believe in ghosts and don’t help with babysitting, master her own fears, and solve a long-standing mystery.

Although published in 1986, this ghost story held the interests of my kids.