On the Day I Died: Stories From the Grave Book Review

On the Day I Died: Stories From the Grave by Candace Fleming
Schwartz & Wade
July 10, 2012

Late for curfew, Mike is racing home, only to be stopped by a girl who seems to have lost her way. What seems like a simple drop-off and mother avoidance quickly turns into a ghost tale of epic proportions. Set in White Cemetery, a graveyard just outside of Chicago, this is a set of ghost stories that span throughout Chicago's fascinating past including the World's Fair, the Great Depression, Al Capone, and the local insane asylum. Ten ghosts tell Mike their terrifying tales in hopes that by telling their stories, they can 'move on' and perhaps Mike can learn something from them.

Fleming weaves together a chilling series of ghost stories borrowing from the literary and the folk. Each short story created an interesting anthology that I think many young readers will enjoy. One story relies heavily on The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs, telling the story of a love lorn Lily who will do anything to see her beau again, alive or dead. There were homages paid to Edgar Allen Poe, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Stephen King, and Alfred Hitchcock. Although some of the story elements were borrowed, Fleming really made them her own, giving depth and feeling to many a story that usually begins with, "Once there was a girl..." The histocracy gave the book a focus and I learned a number of things about Chicago that I never knew.

I would say that although the cover has a cartoony look, based on the content, this one is for the 11 and up readers.

This book will leave you with more than a few goosebumps and it is not recommended that it be read at night, and definitely not with a flashlight under the covers.