It turns out that there are two separate types of ghosts roaming about – a group of high-spirited young boys and a blood-curdling old woman. Without spoiling the plot (which is fairly predictable in a nicely shivery kind of way), let me just say that the inn used to be a poor farm, where destitute families came when they had nowhere else to go – and many of them in fact never went anywhere else again, thanks to a nasty piece of work named Miss Ada.
Travis and Corey figure out what the young ghosts need in order to rest peacefully, and they manage to accomplish it – but then they have to deal with the deadly rage of the ghastly Miss Ada.
It’s hard as an adult to read a ghost story for kids and to tell if it will hold any chills for them; my spooky-bone has been somewhat dulled by grown-up tales of terror. Having closed my eyes through much of the movie “The Orphanage,” to which All the Lovely Bad Ones bears a tiny resemblance, I found this book to be a cakewalk. However, I do think this will be a pleasantly scary book for any kid who hasn’t launched straight into Stephen King, especially with the fairly horrific tales of life at the poor farm. There are long-ago beatings and even death, as well as a gruesome (but luckily toned-down) grave exhumation, so this isn’t for the completely tender-hearted.
Give to kids ages 9 and up who insist they want a really scary book.