Thursday, July 21, 2011
Haint Misbehavin' by Maureen Hardegree
I'm a big fan of ghost stories (that don't freak me out too much), and Haint Misbehavin' is a fun one for the middle grade audience. Set in Georgia, there's enough flavor of the South to lend an air of plausibility that the ghost of a young girl from the 1800s would haunt Heather, a modern preteen girl.
While I enjoyed the ghost story, I felt enough rage about the unfair treatment Heather got from her parents and the nasty vendetta of her sister that I couldn't rate it higher.
It's a personal pet peeve, but I abhor books or movies that show unfair relationships toward one child with blatant favoritism of another. (minor spoiler) While the family relationships resolve and are all hunky-dory by the end, (/minor spoiler) there is enough of a bias against Heather that I couldn't relax while reading most of the book. I wanted to jump into the story so I could throttle her older sister. I can't imagine anyone being that cruel to a sibling and their parents turning a blind eye, unless it was a Cinderella situation with the rest of the family being evil. But that's not how this family is portrayed. Were it not for the sibling injustice, they'd be an average American family.
Otherwise, it's an enjoyable story and I look forward to the next book, especially since the sibling rivalry won't be much of an issue in later books. I honestly hope my assessment doesn't prevent people from reading Haint Misbehavin', since it does have a fun ghost story, but as Ames would say, this is a borrow and not a buy.
The next book in the series, Hainted Love, just released in March. By the way, the cover of the second book is much better and will appeal a lot more to preteen girls.
Advance copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley.