Review of the Week

on the day i diedFleming, Candace. On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave .‡ Fic. Schwartz & Wade/Random, 2012. 200p. $16.99. 978-0-375-86781-1. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 5-9.

Sixteen-year-old Mike is running late and speeding when a girl appears in his headlights. He stops and gives her a lift and later finds out she’s been dead for fifty-six years. Yes, it’s an old trope, but only the opening story of ten, as Mike listens to the tales of 9 teen ghosts. Set in the Chicago area and nine different time periods, each story has a smattering of period details, phrases, and references. Although most have macabre moments and elements of horror, none are gratuitously gruesome or violent. Sinister forces such as threatening wallpaper, malevolent hood ornaments, and an evil mirror permeate the tales. Fleming borrows aspects of classic horror such as W. W. Jacobs’’ The Monkey’’s Paw, but she cites her sources of inspiration in an appended author’’s note. Perfect for booktalking or reading aloud, this is an excellent collection for younger readers who want a “really scary” story as well as for older reluctant readers.

Linda Perkins, Independent

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