A Review of The Old Willis Place

The Old Willis Place by Mary Downing Hahn is a ghost story aimed at young adult readers

YA is a genre I enjoy, so I thought I'd give this a read. One thing I don't like about some YA authors is they they are often use a smarmy and saccharin narration style. Fortunately, Mary Downing Hahn isn't one of them. While soupy sweet nuances are mercifully absent in The Old Willis Place, the story is not without purpose.

One of the best, and most striking things about The Old Willis Place, is the subtle way Hahn sneaks in the lesson of forgiveness. All to often, ghost stories tend to be about revenge, with things not ending well for the restless spirit. The Old Willis Place dares to explore the healing nature of forgiveness. More importantly, Hahn's main characters in the story, two ghost children murdered many years ago, come to recognize they had a role to play in their own demise. This isn't meant to take away the seriousness of murder, but rather as a means of demonstrating the complex nature of people and their relationships to each other.

Even with stories I like, some YA novels have a tendency to go on long after the plot has exhausted itself. Again, Hahn bucks the trend, keeping the action interesting and intriguing throughout the book.
The Old Willis Place is a good summer read that will appeal to young people as well as adult fans of YA.

To learn more about Mary Downing Hahn, visit http://www.hmhbooks.com/features/mdh/


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