Wow, I haven’t written a review of anything horror in almost two years. Time to fix that with the YA novel The Girl in the Locked Room by Mary Downing Hahn.
Jules (girl. Yes, I know) moves into an old house in Virginia because her dad renovates old houses. She spots a mysterious girl on the third floor of the house and Jules thinks the girl is trying to call on her to help her.
This is the least scary book I’ve ever read. While it is a ghost story, there isn’t anything particularly scary about it. It’s more of a help a friendly dead person get to a better place story. Despite that, it’s an OK read. Jules does come off as the typical YA protagonist who’s upset that she’s constantly moving from place to place and that’s destroying her social life. While that is a valid complaint a teenager may have (they do need social lives to grow as people) that’s her entire personality.
Oh, and she’s a bookworm. These characters are always bookworms.
Also, how she helps the girl is an interesting take on the genre. She does need help figuring it out though which is great because at least Jules is not a Mary Sue.
The background for the girl in the locked room is slowly revealed as the story goes on, mostly through Jules having visions of the girl’s past and from old paintings, she finds in the house. I commend Hahn on doing it like this.
The girl herself doesn’t have much going for her. She just seems obsessed with “I can’t leave this room. I promised mommy and daddy.” While it’s understandable why she can’t leave, it does make you want her to leave even more than is normally allowed in fiction. When we do find out what happened, it is, admittingly sad and you do want the girl to be happy.
Overall, The Girl in the Locked room is an OK YA ghost story with some interesting bits but also some negative ones. It’s not terrible, but it’s not anything to be excited about or even will be remembered as a classic. “A quick read” is the best way to describe it.