One for Sorrow
by Mary Downing Hahn
Kindle edition, 304 pages
Published July 18th 2017 by Clarion books
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.
Annie is a new girl in her school and being a new girl is hard. Unfortunately, there’s this girl Elsie who insisted on being her friend and actually a horrible person. Her friendship caused everyone in her class to hate on Annie too. When Elsie was sick, Annie was taken into the popular group and in the end, turned against Elsie. Elsie then dies from influenza, but does that makes Elsie gone forever from Annie’s life?
I didn’t know little girls could be so mean.
Seriously. I don’t know whether the author intended to make her characters unlikeable, but even if she did, they are too much for me. The bullying in this book was so horrifying, with all the pushing, name calling and peer pressure. Not only that, they also showed no respect for the plague and its victim. They even showed no remorse after Elsie’s death, which in my opinion, is their fault.
The worst thing for me is how the bullying is swept under the rug. Like, none the adults care that the girls were bullying Elsie (and Annie). They concerned more when Annie was misbehaving and talking back to them rather than when Annie was bullying Elsie. The whole thing is just disturbing, and since the book was centered on bullying, it’s almost impossible to escape it.
Our main character, Annie, was also very annoying. She can’t stand up for herself, always complaining to her parents instead of solving her problems and can’t say no to her friends. She’s definitely a spoiled brat.
The other characters weren’t very fleshed out and there were a lot of holes here. Did Elsie really was abused? What’s the story with other girls? Why the adults all ignore the extreme bullying happened there?? The story flowed really well at first, but then the whole haunting thing happened and it became very choppy.
TBH I have no idea what’s the point of this book. The whole thing was pretty pointless and none of girls changed after this whole ordeal. The ending and resolution was very anticlimatic and dissapointing that I literally went “WTF??”.
I expected more from this author, especially since she is a well known children horror writer. I mean, she wrote Wait Till Helen Comes! I expected to be scared, but I ended up being annoyed.