Mister Death’s Blue-Eyed Girls by Mary Downing Hahn
Nora and her friends are excited for school to be over and are ready to have a fun, carefree summer in June 1956. They love dancing to Elvis, watching James Dean movies, and dreaming of the cute boys at their high school. Everything seems safe and normal in their quiet town until two of Nora’s friends are brutally killed one morning while walking to school. Mister Death’s Blue-Eyed Girls examines the aftermath of the vicious double murder mostly through the eyes of Nora, a friend of the victims. There are also sections from the perspective of the boy who everyone thinks is the murderer, diary entries of the victims, and even the killer himself.
I loved Mary Downing Hahn’s ghost stories when I was younger; especially Wait till Helen Comes, so I was very excited to read this book. It is based loosely on an event that happened in the author’s life and according to this interview, she has been struggling with telling this story for 30 years. The 1950’s setting is fascinating and the details make the setting feel real without dumping a history lesson on the reader.
Mister Death’s Blue-Eyed Girls is an emotional read. Hahn doesn’t shy away from tough questions as Nora tries to come to terms with the murder and questions her faith in God. The scenes with Buddy, the boy accused of being the killer are especially intense and heartbreaking. All of the emotions feel very real and you can tell that this story is very personal to Hahn. I definitely recommend this well-written book!