The Haunting

The Haunting

by Joan Lowery Nixon


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When her mother inherits an old plantation house in the Louisiana countryside, 15-year-old Lia seeks to rid it of the evil spirit from Civil War days that haunts it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780756902599
Publisher: Random House Childrens Books
Publication date: 09/01/1999
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range: 12 - 15 Years

About the Author

Joan Lowery Nixon was the author of more than 130 books for young readers and was the only four-time winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Best Young Adult Mystery Award. She received the award for The Kidnapping of Christina LattimoreThe SéanceThe Name of the Game Was Murder, and The Other Side of the Dark, which also won the California Young Reader Medal. Her historical fiction included the award-winning series The Orphan Train Adventures, Orphan Train Children, and Colonial Williamsburg: Young Americans.

Read an Excerpt

The Haunting

By Joan Lowery Nixon

Random House

Joan Lowery Nixon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0440420024

Chapter One

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."

Excerpted from The Haunting by Joan Lowery Nixon Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Haunting 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 69 reviews.
Logan-W_ More than 1 year ago
Lia Starling finds out about an old plantation, Graymoss, that has been in her family since the Civil War. When her mother decides she wants to move in the old house Lia must find a way to make her mother believe that something is haunting the house. Will Lia be able to prove that there is something haunting Graymoss?
simply00complex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nixon brings us yet another fun, creepy, and suspenseful thrill ride. This time, Lia must solve the mystery of her family's haunted mansion. I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it to YA mystery fans.
drakescott on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fast-paced and suspenseful read from four-time Edgar award winner, Joan Lowery Nixon, THE HAUNTING tells the story of 15-year-old Lia, whose parents have inherited Graymoss, a mysterious family plantation supposedly haunted by an oppressive evil that only comes out at night. Feeling she can't live up to the legacy of the "Women Who Are Exceptionally Brave" in her family, the bookish Lia nonetheless finds herself drawn into the mystery that surrounds the plantation by clues found in an old family diary. Lia's admirable process of self-discovery is marred only by an unconvincing, melodramatic attitudinal about-face two-thirds of the way through the book, but fans of Nixon, as well as the young adult mystery genre in general, will find plenty to enjoy here.
escondidolibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Lia's great-grandmother dies, she and her family decide to move into a house that's been in the family for generations. Only problem is, it's haunted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I read by this author. I love ghost stories and I really enjoyed Lia's character.
superwomanC More than 1 year ago
I truly like this book. This book just kept me guessing. And if any of you people are like me and like mysteries you’re going to love this book. But when Sarah died it kind of made me want to cry a little. But I didn’t. Then when Lia took charlotte’s diary and read it scared me a little. But at the beginning of the diary it wasn’t that bad and it wasn’t too scary. But at the end everyone was fine. And Lia saved graymoss. And Lia’s mom and dad would eventually move in to graymoss and turn it into an orphanage.
LaurelCrowned More than 1 year ago
In this quick, easy to read novel, fifteen year old Lia struggles to find her place amid a family history of strong-willed and brave women. When her great grandmother dies, leaving an old and reportedly haunted house to her family, Lia must learn to believe in herself in order to overcome the dangers that await within Graymoss. Because of the quick pacing of this novel, younger readers should have little trouble following the rather straight-forward plot. In addition, Lia is a dynamic character whose encounters with real ghosts should engage even reluctant readers. The historical references in this novel are simplistic and easy to identify with, so no reader will be left in confusion, and the literary allusions to the works of Edgar Allan Poe make it an interesting companion read for students. All in all, Nixon has created a lively book that can be enjoyed in a short amount of time while leaving you wanting to read even more of her creations.
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lil_reader42 More than 1 year ago
this book is really good, i couldn't put it down. the deal tales? wear outstanding but one thing i did not understand is the ending? who got murdered?
gerige More than 1 year ago
I loved this book but it have stop like "what?" it's a good book I read it in 2 days the chapters are very cliff hanger and can't be unread.
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AFHockeyChick82 More than 1 year ago
I've had this book for awhile and finally got around to reading it. It was a fast read, took me about 4 days. The story was interesting, not the best. The characters were okay. I didn't like how to story ended, so abrupt, left me saying "that' it?!". What do you expect tho for a young adult book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The title of my book is ¿the haunting¿. In the book there is this girl named Lea Starling. She had just turned fifteen. At the beginning of the book, Lea was at the hospital visiting her Great-Great ¿Grandmother Sarah. She was 93 years old. Lea had heard something. Was it a whisper? Yes. It was her Sarah. She was awakening! She had said ¿Anne, come here¿. Lea said ¿I¿m Lea¿ ¿Anne is my mother¿. Then she said again ¿Anne, come here. She leaned over in her chair. Then she said ¿Anne, Graymoss, It¿s in your hands now. ( Graymoss was an old plantation home in Batouge City.) After that Sarah had died.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is really disapointing compared to joan lowery n other books. this book was totally predictible she only went in the like to times and one was at the very end of the book very disapointing!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read most if not all of the Joan Lowery Nixon books and true they were all incredible but this one definetly stands tall above the rest. This is one of the best books that I have ever read. While I was reading the last couple of chapters I was literally mesmorized in the book. I had no idea what was going on around me. You cannot put this book down. I got this book at my library but I went out and bought it right after I finished it was that good. For anyone that likes the Joan Lowery Nixon series' or any other teen mystery thriller, this book is definetly for you. I would encourage anyone to try it out. I guarantee you'll love it. I did!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing,it kept me reading. and helped me on my next school book talk. which i did get an A on! i love this book and recomend it for anyone to read
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has a great begining and shocking ending.Its great a mystery book. I know I enjoyed it and you will too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ok wow. I bought this book from a book fair at my school last year and didn't read it until a few weeks ago. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fane of mystery and horror. I figured out who the ghost was by the beginning of the last chapter, and the hair on the back of my neck would stick straight up while i was reading a very interesting part (which was actaully kinda freaky) I have to say that I hopped for a better ending, but it was pretty good, which was why i gave it a 4
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome! It was the third book of her's that I had read up until that time. After this one I was hooked. I loved it!