Title: One the Day I Died
Author: Candace Fleming
Publishing Information: July 10th 2012 by Schwartz & Wade
Genre: Middle Grade, Short Stories, Parnormal, Ghost Stories
Series information: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 208 pages
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher
Recommended For: Any lover of not so scary ghost storiesThe phenomenally versatile, award-winning author, Candace Fleming, gives teen and older tween readers ten 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 1860’s 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 posession, all against the backdrop of Chicago’s rich history—the Great Depression, the World’s Fair, Al Capone and his fellow gangsters.
The story opens with a boy named Mike who is racing to get home by curfew. As he is coming to the bridge he sees a mysterious looking girl standing in the middle of the road (sound familiar, anyone?) he becomes intrigued and decides to give her a ride home. Suddenly, she disappears, leaving nothing behind but her shoes. Being that she has just told him exactly where she lives he decides to drive her shoes home to make sure she got in okay. An old woman opens the girl’s front door and explains to Mike that her daughter has been dead for almost fifty years and every year on the anniversary of her death she obtains a ride from someone driving over the bridge and requests that her shoes be placed on her grave in White Cemetary, a cemetery dedicated solely to teens who have died before their time. Mike ventures to the cemetery and finds the girl, along with many others who wish to tell their tale. Each story is intriguing and many are oozing with supernatural elements that really raise the hair on the back of your neck.
At the end of the book, the author provides some background evidence for each story and the real life inspirations for the characters and their untimely deaths. Though this book was showcased as a middle grade novel and I can’t say that I was ever actually scared while reading it, I was definitely freaked out in the best possible way. The author caters to different needs for the reader. For example, some readers will appreciate the “back from the dead” stereotype where I ADORED Scott’s story. His story was set in a mental hospital and I am slightly obsessed with anything supernatural relating to mental asylums. For some reason it just creeps me out in this magnificent way that has me craving more. Another fun story was based on the legendary “Monkey’s Paw.” There are few people who haven’t heard one version of this fable (or who haven’t seen The Simpsons Halloween Special) and Candace Fleming provided a really interesting new twist. When explaining where she obtained her inspiration she stated that she always wondered what happened to the monkey’s paw at the end of the story and she always imagined it ended up in a garage sale somewhere, which is exactly where her story picks up.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book, the stories were just the right amount of creepy to keep me wanting more and I think that any lover of ghost stories will appreciate the different worlds that Candace Fleming creates.