Sunday, July 8, 2012

On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave by Candace Fleming

On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave
By Candace Fleming
Published by Random House Children's Books, July 10, 2012
208 pages (hardcover)
Source: NetGalley

Think Stephen King for teens. Ten stories—some funny, some sad, all spine-chilling—each told by the dead victim/ghost. AAAAHHHH!

The phenomenally versatile, award-winning author Candace Fleming gives teen and older tween readers 10 ghost stories sure to send chills up their spines. Set in White Cemetery, an actual graveyard outside Chicago, each story takes place during a different time period from the 1860s to the present, and ends with the narrator's death. Some teens die heroically, others ironically, but all due to supernatural causes. Readers will meet walking corpses and witness demonic possession, all against the backdrop of Chicago's rich history—the Great Depression, the World's Fair, Al Capone and his fellow gangsters. (from NetGalley)

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of ghost stories or creepy tales so maybe that is why I didn’t really connect with this book. I mean, it was ok, but I have read better and more disturbing ghost stories before. The premise -a graveyard for kids- was a great concept, but the follow-through fell flat. I think one thing that put me off was that many of the stories were based on creepy stories written long ago (The Monkey’s Paw, etc) and Fleming’s retelling were lackluster. They might scare someone who hadn’t heard the tales before, but I prefer the originals.
So, would I recommend On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave to my middle school students? Sure. I think they would enjoy the scary tales and the premise and a lot of teens want to read any and every scary thing they can get their hands on. Plus, this book is made up of a bunch of short stories so it is easy to read a bit at a time. But would I recommend this to adults who love books for young adults? Probably not.

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