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Mary Downing Hahn

We’re Not Afraid to Admit That These 4 Classic Books Launched Us into Puberty

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When I was 12, I found a book hidden in the shelves of a summer cabin my family was renting. It was called The Fly Girls by Bernard Glemser and featured bubbly 1960s print and girls in short skirts on the cover. Long since out of print, the book was about stewardesses in the ‘60s and the plot followed one specific girl as she went through a rigorous airline training program, had to learn the arts of makeup and airplane mechanics, and secretly fell in love with one of her instructors. It was lurid, over-the-top, and exactly what my 12-year-old self was looking for in a book. My mom caught me with it, took one look at the title and…

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Books that made me lose sleep. WIN: Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

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I may have outgrown candy corn and those weird caramel apple chews that seem to only exist in October, but I hope I’ll never lose my taste for books that keep me up till midnight, tossing, turning, and worrying about what, exactly, lurks under my bed. In fourth grade, my whole class was terrified—haunted, even—by Mary Downing Hahn’s Wait Till Helen Comes. Sure, there was an aspect of performance involved (culminating with a fake swoon from Anna W that I still envy) as we read and re-read the story of a step-family’s fragile happiness threatened by a centuries-old drowned ghost. But there was genuine, satisfying unease along with our posturing: the ghost in question is fueled by loneliness, making Helen…

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