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  • The Haunting
  • Written by Joan Lowery Nixon
  • Format: Paperback | ISBN: 9780440220084
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  • The Haunting
  • Written by Joan Lowery Nixon
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307433916
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Written by Joan Lowery NixonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Joan Lowery Nixon

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List Price: $6.99

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On Sale: December 18, 2007
Pages: 192 | ISBN: 978-0-307-43391-6
Published by : Delacorte Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Tags for this book (powered by Library Thing)
mystery (11) ghosts (7) fiction (5) ya (4) horror (4) teen (4)
mystery (11) ghosts (7) fiction (5) ya (4) horror (4) teen (4)
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Fifteen-year-old Lia comes from a long line of courageous women, dating back to a Civil War survivor who single-handedly saved her Louisiana plantation house, Graymoss, from destruction. But Graymoss is haunted by a terrible evil.

With clues from a diary and Favorite Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, Lia, who doesn't feel as if she's inherited any family genes of courage, must figure out what--or whom--the evil wants. When Lia's parents decide to move into Graymoss, Lia isn't sure how to convince them to change their minds. But it's up to her to chase away the horror lurking inside the old house. Can she find the courage to deal with a noisy ghost who wants vengeance?

Excerpt

My fingers shook as I pushed back the long strands of hair that had fallen over my face.
I peered at the pale, shriveled ninety-six-year-old woman who lay in a coma in the hospital bed.
The sound--was it a whisper?--came again. This time I could see the colorless lips move.
Holding my breath, I edged forward in the wobbly plastic chair. I was ready to jump to my feet and run. I had better find Mom and Grandma. Great-grandmother Sarah was waking up.
I stretched out a hand to the edge of her bed, steadying myself. Slowly and quietly I began to rise.
Suddenly Sarah's deep brown eyes opened and she stared at me. Her knobby fingers clamped around my wrist so tightly that it hurt.
"Don't go, Anne." It sounded like an order. In a voice as raspy as a fingernail on a blackboard, she managed to utter, "I have something important to tell you."
I took a deep breath, my pounding heart banging loudly in my ears. "I--I'm not my mom--that is, Anne," I stammered. "It's--Lia. Anne's daughter. Mom's down in the hospital cafeteria with Grandma. They asked me to sit with you. Mom and I came to San Francisco because you've been in a coma, and . . .
I knew I was babbling and it felt as if, as usual, I was doing everything all wrong. I begged, "If you'll let go of me I'll run and get Mom. Grandma, too,"
But Sarah didn't seem to hear. Her gaze didn't waver as she stared into my eyes. "Be quiet, Anne," she insisted, "Listen to me.
I realized that Great-grandmother hardly knew me, so I didn't blame her for not recognizing me. But I didn't look like Mom, I didn't look like Grandma, I didn't look the way I was supposed to look at all.
I thought of the long line of strong women from whom I had descended, Tall, big-boned, and handsome, with dark hair and brown eyes, my maternal ancestors had stepped into the world with pride and courage and had accomplished amazing things.
Then there was me.
I couldn't count how often I'd heard Grandma Augusta say, "Speak up, Lia, so people can hear you. And for goodness' sakes get that hair out of your eyes. It looks like you're hiding behind a curtain."
Sometimes Grandma would sigh dramatically, sadly shake her head, and say to my mother, "Look at the child, Anne. She's no bigger than a minute and all that pale hair--where did it come from? She's not a bit like any of the women in our family. If I hadn't been on hand at the hospital when she was born, I might start believing in changelings."
My mom wasn't as blunt, but sometimes she agreed with Grandma. "It's good to be a reader, but, Lia, your nose is always in a book. Don't you want to do things? You need to meet people. Have more fun."
I always gave the same answer, wondering if Mom would even notice. "I am having fun. Reading is fun."
"You're fifteen. You need to have friends."
"I have a friend. A best friend. Jolie."
"I mean lots of friends so you can do some fun things."
"Why should I have lots of friends? I like being with Jolie."
Periodically Grandma and Mom would get so stirred up they'd start a What to Do About Lia project. I'd be signed up for lessons. The worst of all was when they wanted me to go to cheerleading camp. I found it easier to just go along, pay no attention to the other kids--who took the classes with great enthusiasm--and keep doing my own, untalented best. Within two or four weeks the lessons would be over and Jolie and I could go back to exploring the unlimited wonders of our Metairie, Louisiana, branch library. We'd have sleepovers at which we'd read awesome and horrifying ghost stories to each other.
My great-grandmother Sarah's grip on my arm weakened, and she lay back against her pillow. Her eyelids, like brittle, yellowed paper, slowly slid shut. "I have to let you know about Graymoss, Anne," she said. "And I haven't much time or energy to speak--listen to me.
Not knowing what else to do, I muttered, "I'm listening." With a scared, sick feeling, I faced the fact that there might not be time to go for Mom.
"You do know about Graymoss, don't you?" Sarah asked. Her eyelids fluttered open again, and she looked as if she were begging me to answer yes.
"Graymoss. Yes, I know a little about it," I replied.
Actually, I'd discovered the existence of Graymoss two years before, when I was thirteen and I had been looking through some old family albums. I'd held up a pencil sketch of a large, graceful two-story house with verandas upstairs and down. Its roof was supported by rows of tall, white Ionic columns.
"What's this place in the picture?" I asked Mom. "The one where someone's written at the bottom 'Graymoss Plantation, 1831.'"
Mom had leaned over my shoulder to study the sketch. "Graymoss was the Blevinses' plantation home. That date must refer to the year it was built," she said.
"This is where the famous Charlotte Blevins lived!" I said. I'd been told often about Charlotte Blevins--my great-great-great--who had lived on Graymoss plantation as a child with her parents and grandparents. In 1861, during the War Between the States, Charlotte's parents and grandmother died. Later, when Charlotte was only sixteen, a detachment of the Union Army marched through that part of Louisiana, looting and burning many of the large plantation houses. Charlotte's grandfather was killed, but somehow Charlotte was able to persuade a Union officer to spare her home. It wasn't burned or destroyed like most in the area.
Charlotte proceeded to grow up and establish a school to teach former slaves and their children to read and write. She was a strong-minded, courageous woman who headed a long line of strong-minded, courageous women.
"What happened to Graymoss after the Civil War?" I'd asked.
Mom had shrugged. "I have no idea. Like many of those old plantations, it probably deteriorated years ago.
I never liked that answer. It didn't satisfy me. In my mind I visualized a deeply green lawn rolling from the back veranda down to the Mississippi River, like the lawns at Oak Alley and some of the other well-kept plantation houses. Graymoss would be a quiet, peaceful place with big rocking chairs on the veranda, and when a light breeze blew, it would ruffle the pages of the book I was reading.
I waited for Sarah to continue with her words about Graymoss. I realized that if anyone in the family knew the answer to my question about the fate of Graymoss, she'd be the one. I asked abruptly, "Great-grandmother, what happened to Graymoss ?"
Sarah shuddered, and a strange, fearful look came into her eyes. She took a deep breath and seemed to be trying to gather strength, but her voice wavered as she answered, "Graymoss is there. It's waiting."
My heart jumped. "You mean it? Really? Graymoss is still standing?"
Sarah closed her eyes again, but she continued to speak rapidly. "Listen to me, Anne. I'm leaving Graymoss to you and not to Augusta. Augusta is headstrong and adamant about what should be done with Graymoss. If Augusta had her way Graymoss would be torn down. I can't let that happen. My attorney understands the provisions of Charlotte's will . . . and mine. We must continue to protect the house . . . and care for it. We have no choice,"
Sarah's voice grew so low and soft that I had to lean close to hear her,
"Someone has actually cared for the house all these years?" I asked,
"Yes, There is a trust that takes care of taxes, repairs, expenses, and the caretaker's salary."
"I don't understand," I told her, "If the house is still standing and is in good condition, then why hasn't anyone in the family ever lived in it?"
Sarah sighed. Her lips barely moved as she said, "Read Charlotte's diary. Then you'll know."
"Know what, Great-grandmother? What will I know?"
"Read the diary,"
"Where is the diary? Where will I find it?"
For just an instant Sarah's fingers tightened on my arm, "We must save Graymoss, but stay far away from it," she said, "The house is haunted by a terrible, fearful evil."


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Joan Lowery Nixon

About Joan Lowery Nixon

Joan Lowery Nixon - The Haunting

Photo © Gittings

“In every story I write I give a great deal of thought to the main character, because the story is his, or hers. The direction of the story is determined by the main character’s ambitions and reactions. The main character is the one to whom the readers will relate.”—Joan Lowery Nixon

Joan Lowery Nixon is the only four-time winner of the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award and a two-time winner of the California Young Reader Medal.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Whether it’s engrossing historical dramas, chilling mysteries, suspense-filled page-turners, or adventure stories, kids, teachers, and librarians love the books of Joan Lowery Nixon.

Nixon is half Californian, half Texan. She has a degree in journalism and credentials in elementary education. Nixon has written over 130 books for children from preschool age through young adult—including science books, co-authored with her husband, geologist Hershell Nixon. Her books have garnered numerous awards and accolades, including the Western Writers of America Golden Spur Award for Best Western Juvenile and the Texas Institute of Letters Award. Many of Nixon’s books have won state children’s choice awards. She is the only four-time winner of the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. Nixon has four children and several grandchildren.

Nixon describes the pleasure she gets from writing mystery and suspense: “When I was young I discovered an evening radio program called I Love a Mystery. It was intriguing, suspenseful, and at times absolutely terrifying, and the title was correct. I did love a mystery—on radio, in films, and especially in books. Maybe I’m really a detective at heart because much later in my life, when I began to write books for young people, I discovered writing mysteries was even more fun than reading them.

“A mystery begins to develop in my mind when something sparks an idea and a question grows from it. What would it be like to move into a house in which a murder had taken place? How would I feel if my best friend were arrested for murder on circumstantial evidence? As a question develops into an answer, I give a great deal of thought to my main character. She is the most important part of the story, and I see it take shape through her eyes. Before I write a word of the story I know how I’ll begin it and how I’ll end it, making sure to put in honest clues and distracting red herrings—just to make the mystery all the more fun to solve. I love mysteries, and I want my readers to love them, too.”

In creating the acclaimed Orphan Train Adventures, Nixon explored a time and place in America’s recent past that is not widely covered in history lessons. She explains, “It was a part of history I hadn’t known: that beginning in 1854, over 100,000 homeless children were rescued from the streets of New York City and sent by train to new homes in the West. As I researched early journals, I found many letters—some hopeful, some sad—and reports which told of tears as brothers and sisters were separated or a child was not chosen. I wanted to bring history and fiction together in an exciting, adventurous time and place, to tell the stories of those who could have traveled west on the Orphan Train.”

Many of Nixon’s readers have written to her asking how to get published. Her novel The Making of a Writer, a part memoir, part how-to book, is her answer to them. From her first publication at age 10—a poem titled “Springtime”—to her graduation from Hollywood High during World War II, Nixon shares the incidents from her childhood that helped her to develop as a writer.


PRAISE

THE KIDNAPPING OF CHRISTINA LATTIMORE
“A fast-moving, entertaining mystery with an intelligent and spunky heroine.”—Booklist

MURDERED, MY SWEET
“Another solid Nixon mystery without too much violence and lots of suspense.”—Booklist


THE NAME OF THE GAME WAS MURDER
“Another successful page-turner. . . . Reluctant readers and mystery lovers alike will welcome a trip to this mansion.”—School Library Journal

SEARCH FOR THE SHADOWMAN
“Thrilling . . . a riveting tale of suspense set against a background of fascinating historical context brought up to date through e-mail and the Internet.”—School Library Journal

SPIRIT SEEKER
“Enriched with family troubles, guilty secrets, and a whiff of the supernatural, this page-turner will please the legions of Nixon fans.”—Kirkus Reviews

THE WEEKEND WAS MURDER!
“Masterfully constructed. . . . Ingeniously plotted, fast-paced and lighthearted, this mystery manages to blend an engrossing double murder brainteaser with the blossoming of a self-conscious teen into a self-assured young woman.”—Publishers Weekly

WHISPERS FROM THE DEAD
“Nixon’s reputation as the grande dame of mysteries for young readers remains solidly intact with this thriller . . . a topnotch choice.”—Starred, School Library Journal


THE ORPHAN TRAIN ADVENTURES

A FAMILY APART
“As close to perfect a book. . . . The plot is rational and well-paced; the characters are real and believable; the time setting is important in U.S. history; and the values all that anyone can ask for.”—VOYA

IN THE FACE OF DANGER
“This exciting and touching novel projects an aura of historical reality.”—School Library Journal

THE ORPHAN TRAIN CHILDREN SERIES

LUCY’S WISH
“There is suspense, surprise, and heartfelt emotion, and there is a useful historical note at the end.”—Booklist
Praise | Awards

Praise

"The plot keeps readers guessing until the end."--School Library Journal

"Typical of Nixon's popular gothics, this title has it all."--The Horn Book Magazine

"Nixon creates a spooky setting fairly dripping with atmosphere, then spins an ever-tightening thread of tension."--Kirkus Reviews

Awards

WINNER 2001 Nebraska Golden Sower Award
WINNER 1999 ALA Quick Pick for Young Adult Reluctant Readers

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