Ghost Girl by Torey Hayden Book Review

Ghost Girl Book Review. In  Ghost Girl: The True Story of a Child in Peril and the Teacher Who Saved Her, Torey L. Hayden writes about her experiences with one of her students, Jadie, who has emotional behavior problems. Jadie is an elective mute and hunchbacked but does well academically with her schoolwork.

I came across this book in a bookstore and decided to read it because I read her other book, One Child, a long time ago and enjoyed it very much. Both of these books are true stories.

Torey Hayden is an educational psychologist, and she writes about her personal experiences with emotionally disturbed children that she has worked with.

Ghost Girl Synopsis

In Ghost Girl, Torey accepts a job as a teacher for emotionally disturbed children in a school in a small town. She starts in the middle of the school year. The previous teacher had committed suicide (Torey finds out later), and many substitute teachers did not stay because they could not deal with the children.

Torey only has four children in her classroom, but they are disruptive. One of her students, Jadie, was an elective mute. She would talk at home but not in school, and her previous teachers had tried to get her to speak but failed. They had tried every technique they knew.

Jadie is eight and has been attending the special class since she started pre-school at age four.

On the first day of teaching, Torey got Jadie to talk. She used a method she learned in her research while working with other elective mutes.

Torey’s remarkable intervention happened in the first few pages. I thought the girl was fine now and could go to regular class, but there were many more pages left in the book.

Torey knew that Jadie had a lot more underlying problems, and she needed to find out about them. Slowly, Jadie opens up to Torey and shares some horrific things that are happening to her.

Jadie Opens up to her Teacher

Jadie would voluntarily stay after school to be near her teacher and to feel safe. She would quietly play while Torey planned her lesson for the next day.

Sometimes, Jadie would talk with Torey about things that had happened to her, but there was nothing concrete. Torey was beginning to think that a Satanic occult was involved in things that were happening to Jadie. Jadie often mentioned that she is a ghost.

Ghost Girl Book Review: My Thoughts

I love reading true stories, and I’ve read another of the author’s books, One Child, so I knew I would enjoy this one as well.

Torey describes her daily experiences with Jadie in great detail. She also describes the mannerisms of the other children in her class, which makes the story more interesting because we get to experience more of Jadie’s environment and how she reacts to the other students and vice versa.  

Ghost Girl is about a teacher who saves a child from a horrible life. It gives me hope for the many other abused kids out in the world. This one teacher saved this one child’s life. There are people out there who care and can help.

The story is not sad. It was not heartwrenching where you can feel the pain of Jadie. The point of view is from the teacher, who is trying to figure out what is happening. It is sad in that we know there are a lot more abused kids out there, just like Jadie.

Cliffhangers Are Enticing To Read More

Ghost Girl was exciting to read. Every chapter was interesting, and there was a cliffhanger at the end of almost every chapter, which enticed me to read more.

For example, at one point in the story, Torey tries to get Jadie to straighten her back. She doesn’t know why she is always hunched over. Jadie says she needs to bend over “to keep my insides from falling out.” This was the last sentence in the chapter, and I want to read more to find out why Jadie does this. What would make her think that?

It was disappointing that some cliffhangers, including this one, did not tell me why in the next chapter or the rest of the book. The author never reveals the answer or explains the statement. This may be because this is a true story, and Torey has never discovered all the answers herself.

I still enjoyed reading the book immensely and couldn’t wait to learn more about Jadie and how Torey will help her.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes real-life stories, especially those involving children.


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