Cover Image: Guest


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Member Reviews

Mollie’s little brother is a beautiful and sweet baby.  She and the other villagers know they must pretend he is ugly and fussy, because if the faire folk hear them praise they boy, they may come and snatch him, replacing him with a copy. 
Hahn never disappoints. This book is truly creepy, never needlessly gory, but just sinister enough to leave young readers with lasting chills.
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I found this book to be engrossing. I started and hated to put it down. It reads like a folk tale and tells the story of a brave but stubborn young girl who sets out to rescue her brother. Definitely worth the read.
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I received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I like Mary Downing Hahn's books and think she's great at using your own imagination to enhance her stories. That being said, The Guest fell flat. I wanted to like it and felt like I had to power through it. I felt constantly torn between feeling badly for Guest and feeling creeped out by him. The inability to trust the other characters or trust the reality of the other characters made it hard to become vested in the story. Unfortunately I can't imagine my students being incredibly engaged in this one.
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Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC eBook in exchange for honest feedback.

As someone who grew up loving Mary Downing Hahn’s ghost stories, and later her realistic novels, I was excited to see yet another new middle-grade novel from her. “Guest” is based on Irish folklore and follows a young girl, Mollie, as she attempts to save her baby brother from the Kinde Folke. The Kinde Folke are a magical people that snatch human babies and leave their own ill-tempered changelings in their place. Mollie’s recklessness is what original got her brother stolen and her continued recklessness causes many dangerous trials throughout her quest to rescue him. “Guest” seems to fall somewhere in-between the novels of ghost stories and realistic dramas that I am used to associating with Mary Downing Hahn. It is a great read for any middle-grade kid (or adult who’s a kid at heart) who is looking for a little magic and adventure with a dash of Irish folklore.
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Mary Downing Hahn is one of my favorite Authors, I found her later in life not as a child, but as you most will know age doesn't matter, this book like many others pulls you in and makes you want to slow down reading, and of course everything is not as it seems.
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Thanks to and the publisher for letting me read this ARC.

Another great read from my favorite kids scary book author Mary Downing Hahn. It's a bit different than her usual story. This one doesn't have a main character in present day dealing with a ghost from 100 years in the past but in this book we are dealing with a changeling.

Mollie loves her little baby brother, Thomas, but she has to say that he is an ugly dreadful boy so the Kinde Folke won't come and take him and leave one of their babies. Mollie says things she shouldn't and her baby brother is switched.

The author, in the author's notes, says she was inspired by her trip to Ireland where she learned about the local folklore. A great spooky story.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this title for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

I am not always a huge MDH fan, but let me tell you, her books FLY off of my middle school collections shelves. I have multiple copies of most of her books on the shelves and they are in constant rotation with students turning one in and grabbing another. So when I saw that MDH had a new book coming out, one that wasn't going to fit in with her traditional "horror" fare, I was intrigued. While she also has other types of books, it is her ghost stories that my students crave the most. This one, a story of a changeling, and the "fair folk" had me intrigued. Overall it was a solid middle grade fantasy about the faeries and what happens when they leave a changeling behind. 

Molly knows she is supposed to watch out for her brother Thomas. No on in her family can speak kindly of him, talk about his sweet temperament or his beautiful face for fear the Kinde Folk will come for him and leave one of their own sickly creatures in his place. But, one day, she turns her back and he is gone, a small and evil-seeming baby in his place. For a year they try to keep the new baby happy, hoping that by doing so the Kinde Folk will treat Thomas in kind. But nothing seems to make him happy and the family is falling apart. Determined to get Thomas back, she takes Guest (as they call the new baby) and sets out for the Dark Lands to find the Kinde Folk and make a trade. Along the way Molly has to realize what it means to care for someone, what it means to be family, and how appearances aren't always what they seem.

Highly recommend, especially for those readers who are interested in tales about dark magic and places, but aren't ready yet for something like The Cruel Prince . Recommended for grades 5-8.
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Don’t read this thinking it will be a traditional MDH novel, it is not. But if you love folk lore and stories of changelings, this one is for you. This novel is slow to unfold and slow to wrap up, but it is never boring. Guest is as peaceful as a walk along the green hills of Shannon, but it is also filled with adventure and intrigue.
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Mollie's baby brother Thomas has been stolen and switched with a changeling in his place and it's all her fault. If Mollie hadn't of taken the locket for herself that was meant to protect Thomas, none of this would of happened.
With her father gone in the event of what has happened and the changeling weakening her mother, Mollie takes the changeling determined to give the creature back and get her brother back.
But, not all goes as planned. There's twists and trickery in the Dark Lands and getting her brother back may not be as easy as she'd hoped.
I enjoyed the characters and the story. I was curious of Madog and what he was and how he fit into the story.
As for Guest, he grew on me and I found him to be my favorite character. As for Mollie, I somewhat felt for her, but at other times I was cringing at her choices and how the same choices had gotten her in trouble even when Guest had warned her time and time again.
Although I enjoyed this story, I did feel it was a little rushed, as I would of loved a little more detail into the characters and the events. Other than that, it was a good story.
I will definitely be checking out more from this author.
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NB: Contains spoilers!

I can't quite decide whether I enjoyed this book or not. 

The positive:
It was absolutely original and unusual and I didn't really know what was going to happen.
It's highly atmospheric with some beautiful, evocative description.
The character of Mollie is a brilliant, brave, determined heroine and engaged me from the first page.
Guest himself is a fantastic creation: he moves from repellent to endearing and leaps off the page.

The things I didn't like:
I was really uncomfortable with the character of Dadoe. Essentially, as soon as the going got tough, he upped and left his wife and young daughter to deal with it and, by the end of the book, this remained unresolved -he's back but apparently without any consequence for his cowardice.

Mollie has repeated trials at the hands of the shape-shifting Kinde Folke but they all followed essentially the same pattern, which started to make them blur into one after a while. 

The story had all the trademarks of a traditional fairy-tale so I suppose I expected a nice, neat ending. I had to re-read the end a couple of times to make sure I'd understood it correctly.

I'm glad I read 'Guest' but I still can't decide what I thought of it. I am lookig forward to its publication so I can discuss it with my students.

I read an advance review copy of this title in return for an objective review.
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This is not my favorite Mary Downing Hahn book, but it is something new and different. Mollie herself is to blame for his being taken as she praised her brother aloud and now an ugly horrible changeling has been left in his place.  Mollie knows that she must try to fix what she has put wrong and so with Guest (the changeling) she sets off into the Dark Lands to try and exchange him back for her brother. Most of my students won't know what a changeling is before reading this.  They will enjoy being scared as Mollie journeys into the Dark Lands to retrieve her brother.
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I was hooked on this book just from reading the description. The fabulous writing style kept me hooked and reading straight through to the end. I completed my Masters thesis on Newfoundland folklore which is also very rich in fairylore so I was in heaven, henny!

But here are some reason why YOU will want to read this novel:

*Brilliantly (and accurately) explores the idea of changlings, the fairy realm, and some of "the rules" of interacting with Faire and Kinde folk.
*The author includes an endnote going more into depth about the folklore of fairies and the origins of some of the other creatures we meet in the story. A great invitation for readers to find out more about folktales? I think so!
*The characters' development and evolution is fantastic and the reader will truly enjoy the experience of walking alongside them during their journey.

The only negative aspect I found about this novel was that parts of it felt too easy and convenient. For example, when help is offered by one of the Kinde folk, it came completely out of nowhere. There was no previous introduction to this particular character, no knowing glances shared between them and the main character, just BAM. Here I am and I will save you! For me, dear readers, this caused a fair amount of confusion and suspicion. Where did this Kinde folk come from? Why are they offering help? Are they actually offering help or is this a trap? And so on, and so forth.

Nonetheless, this is still an engaging story with wonderful characters that young readers will enjoy getting to know.
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Another great tale by this true storytelling author!! 
I first "met this author" through Wait til Helen comes and ever since I've been hooked! I love her ghost stories!
This one is a little different than she normally writes which is why I gave it a 4 star. Plus, it was a little slow in the beginning.  However; I'm glad I kept reading. It has a cool ending though!!
Mollie learns a lot about herself throughout the book. At first, I truly thought she was going to be a brat in the whole story. But wait til you read this book!! 
Guest is my true hero!! I love him because he is different! What a boring world this would be if we were all the same!!
All the characters were wonderful except the Kinde folk. 
And who knows? They may be all around us. 
My thanks to Netgalley for this book
No compensations were received and all opinions are my own!
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A different kind of direction for her newest book, yet Ms. Hahn delivers some spooks and adventure in Guest.

Mollie Cloverall must be careful what she says to her baby brother, Thomas. Even though he is a beautiful baby with blue eyes and an agreeable personality, she must say he is ugly and awful, so the “kinde folke “ will not kidnap him and swap him with one of their changeling babies. But jealousy gets the best of Mollie and the unthinkable happens; Thomas is gone, an ugly changeling baby is left in his place, and her family falls apart.

Nevertheless Mollie is bound and determined to save Thomas from the “kinde folke” and give them their changing baby back, who she has named “Guest.” At the beginning of the journey there is no love lost between her and Guest. However, as they progress through the Dark Lands, they slowly begin to care for each other. With the help of a traveler named Madog, they get closer to Thomas, but will they succeed with their rescue plans or become victims of the Queen and her “kinde folke?” Ms. Hahn weaves an adventurous tale of folklore and mystery in her new book Guest.
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Guest is a quick read, primarily because Hahn does an excellent job of pulling you into the story and making it difficult to put down. Though a little different than her typical ghost story, there is still the "just right" amount of creepy and spooky factor for your middle grades reader. I also appreciate that she stuck closer to the original tales of the Fae, rather than creating a feel good "fairy" tale. I would definitely recommend to any young reader who is beginning to dive into the genre of fantasy, as well as anyone who loves a good creepy mystery.
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Readers of Mary Downing Hahn's previous middle grade novels will likely put "Guest" into a category alongside "Took" and very far away from titles like "Wait Til Helen Comes," "All the Lovely Bad Ones," and "Deep and Dark and Dangerous."  The plot of this newest Hahn work comes straight out of Celtic lore and has plenty of action, fantastic creatures, and dark magic.  The main character, Mollie, is not altogether likable at the straight, but as she seeks to restore her family to a happier state and must suffer at the hands of the evil Kinde Folke (the Sidhe in Celtic tales), she becomes strong and generous.  Hahn weaves a tale that will have readers from age 10 to 15 wondering at creatures like the Pooka, and changelings, and maybe a little bit fearful of any snooping crows or ravens that happen to perch nearby.  And, if those readers will allow their favorite ghost writer to stray a bit from that genre, they will most assuredly enjoy this one just as much as they do her scary tales.  Recommended for 4th grade and up without any reservations regarding profanity, violence or sexual content.
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