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Guest: A Changeling Tale

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From the master of spookiness, Mary Downing Hahn. When malicious sprites called the Kinde Folke snatch Mollie’s baby brother and replace him with a hideous changeling, Mollie travels through eerie, perilous lands to save him.   When her adorable baby brother is replaced by an ugly, ill-tempered changeling, Mollie is determined to find the so-called Kinde Folke who took bab From the master of spookiness, Mary Downing Hahn. When malicious sprites called the Kinde Folke snatch Mollie’s baby brother and replace him with a hideous changeling, Mollie travels through eerie, perilous lands to save him.   When her adorable baby brother is replaced by an ugly, ill-tempered changeling, Mollie is determined to find the so-called Kinde Folke who took baby Thomas, return the changeling she calls Guest, and make them give Thomas back. Natural and magical obstacles and her own reckless temperament make her journey arduous and full of dangers, and a plot rich in surprises and twists makes this book a must-read for Mary Downing Hahn’s fans.


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From the master of spookiness, Mary Downing Hahn. When malicious sprites called the Kinde Folke snatch Mollie’s baby brother and replace him with a hideous changeling, Mollie travels through eerie, perilous lands to save him.   When her adorable baby brother is replaced by an ugly, ill-tempered changeling, Mollie is determined to find the so-called Kinde Folke who took bab From the master of spookiness, Mary Downing Hahn. When malicious sprites called the Kinde Folke snatch Mollie’s baby brother and replace him with a hideous changeling, Mollie travels through eerie, perilous lands to save him.   When her adorable baby brother is replaced by an ugly, ill-tempered changeling, Mollie is determined to find the so-called Kinde Folke who took baby Thomas, return the changeling she calls Guest, and make them give Thomas back. Natural and magical obstacles and her own reckless temperament make her journey arduous and full of dangers, and a plot rich in surprises and twists makes this book a must-read for Mary Downing Hahn’s fans.

30 review for Guest: A Changeling Tale

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest GUEST is a middle-grade novel about faerie folklore, and reminiscent of stories like Mirrormask or Labyrinth, in which the fairy tale is an allegory for a coming-of-age morality play. It definitely reads as though it is written for a young audience, but it doesn't condescend to its audience, either, and would appeal to readers of Diana Wynne Jones or Vivian Vande Velde. Mollie is the daughter of two peasants, and her parents have recentl Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest GUEST is a middle-grade novel about faerie folklore, and reminiscent of stories like Mirrormask or Labyrinth, in which the fairy tale is an allegory for a coming-of-age morality play. It definitely reads as though it is written for a young audience, but it doesn't condescend to its audience, either, and would appeal to readers of Diana Wynne Jones or Vivian Vande Velde. Mollie is the daughter of two peasants, and her parents have recently had another baby, Thomas. Thomas is a beautiful, good-natured child, and her superstitious parents have taken precautions to ensure that his presence doesn't catch the attention of the faeries who live in the nearby forest. Mollie screws all that up, though, by wishing him away, praising his beauty, and then stealing the charm of protection from him because she thinks it's a pretty bauble and selfishly wants it for herself. Spoiler, as you can guess from the title and the blurb, this does not work out well. The baby is stolen and replaced with a changeling that they end up calling Guest, because he's an unwelcome visitor the family wants gone as soon as possible. Abandoning or killing him is out of the question, because ill-treatment to the changeling means ill-treatment for the human child, so Mollie's father storms out in a man-baby temper tantrum, leaving Mollie's mother to care for him in an increasingly exhausted stupor. Mollie feels sick with guilt, but isn't above treating Guest badly herself, resenting and insulting him by turns, while plotting all the while on how to retrieve Thomas. The journey element of this was really well done. I liked how this story was steeped in folklore, and it kind of reminded me of this book I read when I was really young, Bruce Coville's SONG OF THE WANDERER. It has that same epic-fantasy-for-kids vibe, which I found nostalgic and appealing. Mollie is a terrible character, though. I hated her. She was so selfish, and stupid. I get that kids can be dumb, but she literally made the same exact mistake 10 times. It was hard to suffer. Guest, on the other hand, is a really great character and by the end of the story, I basically adored him. Anyone who enjoys middle grade novels or has a kid who enjoys them, and would like a fantasy novel that is easy to read but does not talk down to its young audience will probably enjoy this book a lot. I don't normally go in for middle grade novels, but I thought this was well done and pays homage to faerie folklore in an informed way. It even has elements of Tam Lin, which I liked. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 3 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Antill

    I have always enjoyed books by Mary Downing Hahn and Guest: a Changeling Tale is no exception. I liked that it's inspired by Irish folk lore and loved the characters of Mollie and Guest. Their friendship was definitely not an instant friendship so it was interesting to see their character growth and the journey of their relationship.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

    "Up the airy mountain Down the rushy glen We dare not go a-hunting For fear of little men." Changeling tales have been around in European fairy tales just as long as any other trope of the genre that mystified its tellers and listeners with the unexplained physical or behavioral peculiarities not yet explained by science at the time. One of the most deeply rooted notions was the abduction of human infants by The Fair Folk replacing the child with one of their own for the unknowing parents to raise i "Up the airy mountain Down the rushy glen We dare not go a-hunting For fear of little men." Changeling tales have been around in European fairy tales just as long as any other trope of the genre that mystified its tellers and listeners with the unexplained physical or behavioral peculiarities not yet explained by science at the time. One of the most deeply rooted notions was the abduction of human infants by The Fair Folk replacing the child with one of their own for the unknowing parents to raise it, whilst their infant is taken to the Land of Fairie. Believed to be in particular danger of being replaced were boys and children with fair hair and therefore were often dressed as girls to deter the fey folk from snatching children. A commonly believed deterrent was also the use of metal items like horseshoes or bells placed above the cribs/doorways in the old times that have crossed over into other myths and can be found in most older homes today still. There are also common sub tropes in changeling tales, such as Doppelgaenger stories, Rags to Riches and muggle tales, where the mother of the stolen child is also bestowed with the pregnancy of a fey creature with the outcome of a (possibly malevolent) fairy child. Mary Downing Hahn's middle-grade story Guest followed the expected path of the changeling tale almost to a T with a sideline plot that keeps the story interesting and young readers hooked to it. Mollie has an adorable baby brother but they dare not speak of how cute he is in fear that he might be stolen/exchanged by (the not so kind) The Kinde Folke for one of their ugly creatures. Despite their best efforts though, he is replaced with an ugly changeling that behaves awful and is hard to love. In hopes of their Thomas to be treated nicely wherever he is, they give their best to make the changeling happy. As time passes never trying to lose a foul word about the baby and playing with him constantly to make him happy, Mollie's mother nurses him till she withers away, and her father leaves the family because he can't stand the hideous changeling. Mollie feels like she has to take action. She takes the changeling and a small pack of provisions to find The Kinde Folke to return the ugly creature in exchange for Thomas. A daringly brave move to go beyond the borders where dangers lurk, Mollie soon finds herself surrounded in deep dark forests, meets strangers that tell her to turn around and wanders into hair raising situations continues with a mission that might cost her life. The unthinkable happens when desperation calls for her to rely on the ugly changeling and something of mutuality/friendship begins. When she finally finds her Thomas, the unthinkable has happened...he does not know who she is and his heart is tainted by the not so kind The Kinde Folke. From here, Mollie's adventure continues no less dangerous with the dark magic of the forest, its vile creatures and a message of hope. Will Mollie make it back to her family with her brother? A tale to gasp and hold your breath at times. This middle-grade adventure is filled with folklore and magic true to the old ways of telling tales imbibing a dark atmospheric world of wonder and flutter in the hearts of listeners/readers reminiscent of childhood. The writing style is very traditionally kept and the author's voice is beautifully transient of the old wisdom in fairy tales. Without a doubt, it can hold its place next to the best of writings from folklores of earlier times. Not so much refurbished, but brought to life is the changeling tale in Guest and not to be missed by those lovers of the genre or those that just want to experience the wonders and fears of childhood again. Highly recommend it. Happy Reading :) More of my reviews here: Through Novel Time & Distance

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bea

    My biggest gripe with the story was that it was repetitive. Our main character was constantly making the same mistakes every few pages. By doing that, those scenes lost whatever tension they could have. And I think it was detrimental to what I think was supposed to the climax, but wasn't fully developed. It seemed like too many time was spent on everything leading up to it. I went through the story fast and liked parts of it, but I definitely had higher expectations that were't met.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Misty Mount

    "Guest" by Mary Downing Hahn is a middle-grade fantasy adventure inspired by Irish folklore. I was charmed by the main character, Mollie Cloverall—a brave, spirited young girl who also has her flaws. In fact, it's partially her jealousy that allows her baby brother Thomas to be replaced by a mean and ugly changeling. Her parents don't handle the tragedy well at all. Her father leaves his family and her mother falls into illness and depression. Mollie, however, takes a different approach and is "Guest" by Mary Downing Hahn is a middle-grade fantasy adventure inspired by Irish folklore. I was charmed by the main character, Mollie Cloverall—a brave, spirited young girl who also has her flaws. In fact, it's partially her jealousy that allows her baby brother Thomas to be replaced by a mean and ugly changeling. Her parents don't handle the tragedy well at all. Her father leaves his family and her mother falls into illness and depression. Mollie, however, takes a different approach and is determined to get her brother back. She bravely embarks on a dangerous quest and grows along the way. I loved the characters in this book, especially Guest, even though I felt that some of them could have been elaborated on. This is one of those stories that I wish I had read as a child because I know it would have inspired my young mind. Even as an adult this story has lots to give and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy, fairy tales, and strong female characters.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Y-Nhu

    It's a really enjoyable read and once I started I couldn't put it down! I finished it in one sitting. I did have a problem with some characters and their decisions, but I just fell in love with Guest and that made it a 4 star rating instead of a 3 star. I really did not expect to get invested into this book like I did.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Valerie McEnroe

    This is my least favorite MDH book. It's a fantasy book about a changeling baby left by the Kinde folk in exchange for Mollie's sweet, adorable baby brother. I've never been much of a fan of Hahn's work personally, although I do acquire her books for my school library because they are perfect for older elementary kids moving into scary books. I've also never been much of a fan of changeling stories, but if I had to pick one it would be 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison. MDH should stick to ghos This is my least favorite MDH book. It's a fantasy book about a changeling baby left by the Kinde folk in exchange for Mollie's sweet, adorable baby brother. I've never been much of a fan of Hahn's work personally, although I do acquire her books for my school library because they are perfect for older elementary kids moving into scary books. I've also never been much of a fan of changeling stories, but if I had to pick one it would be 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison. MDH should stick to ghost stories. Mollie's family knows about the kinde folk snatching babies, so they make sure someone is always watching baby Thomas. When Mollie falls asleep outside with Thomas, she awakens to find him gone. An irritable, ugly changeling baby has been left in his place. He's extremely demanding and exhausting, so Mollie decides she is going to take the changeling back and get her brother. It's a long journey to the Kinde Forest. Luckily, Mollie gets a little help from a "traveler" who provides her with food. He is unusually nice to the changeling for reasons that are explained later in the story. Once Mollie reaches the Kinde realm, she gets more help from a Kinde girl, but her brother has changed in unexpected ways and getting him back won't be easy. The plot and characters are poorly developed. I never got excited about any of it and just wanted the book to be over. There's nothing remotely spooky about this one, even though the cover suggests otherwise. MDH books are essential for every emerging horror fan, but my recommendation is to pass on this one.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Richelle Robinson

    "I received a review copy from Amazon Vine and voluntarily provided an honest review. This does not affect the opinion of the book or the content of the review." First time reading this author and she can definitely write a story. The description was very vivid and it felt like I was along side the characters which I enjoyed. The main character, Mollie, annoyed me since she kept making the same mistakes over and over after she was warned. I know she is a kid but come on. You have to smarten up. I "I received a review copy from Amazon Vine and voluntarily provided an honest review. This does not affect the opinion of the book or the content of the review." First time reading this author and she can definitely write a story. The description was very vivid and it felt like I was along side the characters which I enjoyed. The main character, Mollie, annoyed me since she kept making the same mistakes over and over after she was warned. I know she is a kid but come on. You have to smarten up. I like the message of not judging someone because they are different and to treat people with kindness. I think kids will enjoy this book a lot especially since Halloween is coming and it has a spooky vibe.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Barrera

    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 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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    “So, no matter how scared I was, I had to make things right. Me, Mollie Cloverall, all by myself, I would rescue my baby brother.” This small book caught my eye with its title and so I definitely purchased it from our Scholastic Book Fair and think it will be an easy sell to any reader--who doesn’t want to know about changeling babies? Alright so this story begins with a somewhat resentful older sister taking her beautiful little brother outside while she works and details all the rules of babie “So, no matter how scared I was, I had to make things right. Me, Mollie Cloverall, all by myself, I would rescue my baby brother.” This small book caught my eye with its title and so I definitely purchased it from our Scholastic Book Fair and think it will be an easy sell to any reader--who doesn’t want to know about changeling babies? Alright so this story begins with a somewhat resentful older sister taking her beautiful little brother outside while she works and details all the rules of babies in their town..you are never to talk about their beauty or sweet disposition because that makes the Kinde Folke covet them and take them to switch with their own weaker, uglier children.. “We never ever whispered sweet things to him for fear the Kinde Folke would come for him” (Pg. 4) They even protected Thomas the pretty little baby boy with a locket made of iron however foolish and jealous Mollie wanted to wear the necklace and leaves him unprotected --predictably he is taken by the changelings and exchanged for a fussy, ugly, mean little boy they name Guest. Guest’s presence in the house changes everything and Mollie’s father moves out as to not be anywhere around the abomination and everyday the life drains out of Mollie’s mom who has to feed and care for this baby who is not hers hoping that if he is treated well they will return her son Thomas.. Fed up with what is going on and missing her little brother Mollie decides to go searching for the Kinde Folke with Guest in an effort to exchange the boys and make things right...Traveling with Guest is far from easy though she does realize with the help of another strange man Madog and his son Aidan...Mollie learns that can walk and talk and is not merely as helpless as he appeared at their house and actually he’s not so bad.. The Kinde Folke start coming out in tricks and schemes to turn Mollie away however she does make her way to the Dark Lands and is confronted by their evil queen and a severely aged and spoiled Thomas who is now a prince and has no interest in returning home.. Will stop there as I can’t lie this book is surprising in many ways and is in no way typical or super sweet..this is hardcore mean magic life..I liked the unpredictability of it for sure and as its based on Irish folklore it had its moments of suspense and an eerie atomsphere..I liked this one-thanks Scholastic!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    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" 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Conny

    This book made it to a new shelf, Best This Year Shelf. Should be 6 stars shelf ... I LOVED this book so much, I'm not deleting it from my reader. I'm gonna read it again some day for sure. In the end I shed a tear, gonna miss Guest, I love him so much. Loved the whole place, the woods, the magic in it... What a wonderful, magical story. Best book I've read this year.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlyn D.

    This is a pretty interesting (irish folklore) “middle grade/YA” book! My biggest problem with it is that I feel like everything worked itself out TOO nicely...I did still enjoy it though and read it all in one day. :) And as C.S. Lewis said, “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I think that even though I recommend Ms. Hahn's books to kids all the time and she has a wide fan base at our school...I'm not a member of the fan club. (sorry - I know she's like an icon in children's ghost stories.) This is the third book of hers I've read in the last 6 months and in all of them - this one included - I find myself distracted from the storyline by 2 pretty major things: 1 - the kids in the stories are mean, rude, bratty, etc. I don't like them, even the ones that I'm supposed to I think that even though I recommend Ms. Hahn's books to kids all the time and she has a wide fan base at our school...I'm not a member of the fan club. (sorry - I know she's like an icon in children's ghost stories.) This is the third book of hers I've read in the last 6 months and in all of them - this one included - I find myself distracted from the storyline by 2 pretty major things: 1 - the kids in the stories are mean, rude, bratty, etc. I don't like them, even the ones that I'm supposed to root for. 2 - the stories end in ways that leave me wondering what the point was... with no real resolution. Maybe that's so the reader can imagine or guess how things ended up, but I find it kind of depressing. While I will probably read more of Ms. Hahn's books as part of my role in an elementary library, I imagine it will be a bit of a chore. On a positive note, I did really enjoy the narrator of the audio version, her accent is quite enjoyable to listen to!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    If you are a fan of folk lore tales than you need to check out this book. It is about a changeling. I have read several books on this subject but I have to say this is in my top three favorites. What I loved the most about this book is how author, Mary stayed close to the real legends of stories about changelings and other folk lore. Some of the other books that I have read on this subject were a bit more "fictional". Mollie's compassion towards Guest was kind. It showed that love can be found in If you are a fan of folk lore tales than you need to check out this book. It is about a changeling. I have read several books on this subject but I have to say this is in my top three favorites. What I loved the most about this book is how author, Mary stayed close to the real legends of stories about changelings and other folk lore. Some of the other books that I have read on this subject were a bit more "fictional". Mollie's compassion towards Guest was kind. It showed that love can be found in even the "ugliest" of things. In addition, Guest's ability to adapt and learn to be good made him more than just a changeling. It brought me the reader closer to him. I could not stop reading this book. I was transported on the journey with Mollie as she went in search of her stolen brother. I look forward to reading more books from this author.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Johnston

    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 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Monique S. (The Ginger Librarian)

    Review coming soon.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Dulaney

    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 an 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. Thanks for the dARC, NetGalley.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Liz Friend

    The story: It’s Mollie’s fault when the dark faeries kidnap her brother and leave Guest in his place--a sickly fairy halfling who does nothing but bite, pinch, eat...and break her family apart. Eventually, determined to make the fairies give her brother back in exchange for Guest, Mollie leaves home on a dangerous quest. Everyone they meet along the way means them harm, but worst of all is the Queen of the Kinde Folk...and the fact that Mollie’s brother, once discovered, doesn't believe her stor The story: It’s Mollie’s fault when the dark faeries kidnap her brother and leave Guest in his place--a sickly fairy halfling who does nothing but bite, pinch, eat...and break her family apart. Eventually, determined to make the fairies give her brother back in exchange for Guest, Mollie leaves home on a dangerous quest. Everyone they meet along the way means them harm, but worst of all is the Queen of the Kinde Folk...and the fact that Mollie’s brother, once discovered, doesn't believe her story and refuses to leave. Can Mollie’s bravery make up for her habit of speaking before she thinks? June Cleaver's ratings: Language G; Violence PG; Sexual content G; Nudity G; Substance abuse PG; Magic & the occult PG; GLBT content G; adult themes (kidnapping, dark magic) PG; overall rating PG. Liz's comments: Hahn, known for her ghost stories for upper ES, takes a turn toward fantasy rather than horror with this story. A cool cover will draw readers in, and this dip into the mythical lore of Ireland is darkly interesting. A solid purchase for libraries with readers grades 4-7.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brandy

    Mollie knew she shouldn't say anything positive about her baby brother, lest the Kinde Folk hear and swap him for one of theirs. She knows that the locket around his neck is meant to protect him. But it won't hurt to wear the pretty necklace herself, just for a few minutes? He's such a good baby! The changeling child--whom they call Guest, since he's NOT staying--is a hellion. Mollie's dad left and her mom is a mess, trying to care for this hated creature and distraught over her own boy. It's up Mollie knew she shouldn't say anything positive about her baby brother, lest the Kinde Folk hear and swap him for one of theirs. She knows that the locket around his neck is meant to protect him. But it won't hurt to wear the pretty necklace herself, just for a few minutes? He's such a good baby! The changeling child--whom they call Guest, since he's NOT staying--is a hellion. Mollie's dad left and her mom is a mess, trying to care for this hated creature and distraught over her own boy. It's up to Mollie to go to the Kinde Folk and retrieve her real brother, but the queen won't give him up easily. This is a different kind of story from what Hahn usually writes, and I think the story is stronger for it--the ideas and the writing sound fresher than they have in her other recent books. ARC from publisher at ALA. Thanks!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Louise Tripp

    What would you do if your baby brother was snatched away and replaced with a nasty changeling? And what if it was your fault? That's the trouble young Mollie Coverall is facing. She may never see her adorable baby brother again, her family is falling apart and the worst part is that her mother is forced to care for the sickly, mean-spirited Kinde Folk child who they call Guest. Summoning her courage, Mollie decides that it's her job to take Guest back to the changelings and beg for her brother's What would you do if your baby brother was snatched away and replaced with a nasty changeling? And what if it was your fault? That's the trouble young Mollie Coverall is facing. She may never see her adorable baby brother again, her family is falling apart and the worst part is that her mother is forced to care for the sickly, mean-spirited Kinde Folk child who they call Guest. Summoning her courage, Mollie decides that it's her job to take Guest back to the changelings and beg for her brother's return. But there are many dangers on the road to the dark lands - who is a young girl to trust? Mary Downing Hahn weaves another exciting, magical tale with many unexpected twists that will enthrall readers of all ages. Recommended for readers 4th grade and up.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Not quite as scary as some of her ghost stories, but I liked the peek into folklore.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Erin *wcsibooks*

    The audio was excellent. The narrator with the Irish accent set the tone and made the play on Irish fairy lore come to life. Her voice for the Changeling was distinct and appropriately baby/creepy-ish for the tone of the book. I do not know if I would have liked the book as much if I had read it versus being enchanted by the narrator. Despite what I felt was a creepy cover, it isn't that "scary" of a book. I am familiar with fairie lore and the idea of Changelings so I thought it was interesting The audio was excellent. The narrator with the Irish accent set the tone and made the play on Irish fairy lore come to life. Her voice for the Changeling was distinct and appropriately baby/creepy-ish for the tone of the book. I do not know if I would have liked the book as much if I had read it versus being enchanted by the narrator. Despite what I felt was a creepy cover, it isn't that "scary" of a book. I am familiar with fairie lore and the idea of Changelings so I thought it was interesting. I didn't end up with a clear understanding of what a "traveler" was though which was another sort of type of person, like humans and Kinde Folk. This could have been due to me getting distracted though while listening to the audio. The main character Mollie Cloverall starts out easy to dislike and leaves you questioning a bit which way her story will go. She is jealous of her perfectly adorable baby brother and the attention he gets and the beautiful protective necklace and she becomes the cause of him getting switched with the changeling. There starts to be a little bit of character redemption when she decides (finally) to go look for her brother. She takes the Changeling called Guest along with her with the intent of trading for her brother. They meet a traveler who who helps them along and there are twists and turns. Slowly, Mollie and Guests relationship starts to change and so does Mollie's intent with the Kinde Folk and her brother. Her character becomes easier to like as the book goes on and she is less jealous and mean towards Guest. I felt the climax was a bit lacking in action maybe but for a middle grade book it has the right level of eeriness. The talk of breast-feeding at the beginning will probably have the younger readers giggling and slightly older readers joking. The dad is a pretty big jerk in that he leaves his wife and daughter behind when the changeling shows up because he "can't handle it" and then all of a sudden at the end he is back in the story. Like he magically appeared again and the mom and daughter just forgave him for being a jerk and leaving them to struggle and take care of the Changeling for over a year. Also, maybe I missed it but unsure if the "grandma" gave false advice on purpose or not about feeding human milk to the changeling when it really needed cows milk and food to start thriving and behaving. Did she just not know even though she is a sort of witch or did she want to see them struggle? The ending was a little fitting for a book with an eerie tone because it didn't tie everything up all completely rosey but satisfactory on the "happy" ending. Themes: Irish Fairie lore, magic, scary genre

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    I am a huge fan of Irish mythology; after reading Peadar O'Guilin's duology 'The Call' and 'The Invasion,' I became obsessed with finding SOMETHING that would satisfy the desire for this kind of fiction. Unfortunately, 'Guest' made an effort, but failed to succeed by quite a bit. 'Guest' is the story of Molly, who unwittingly brought about the swapping of her brother, Thomas, for a changeling. Changelings are known to be vicious, monstrous little creatures that drain the life out of the mother. I am a huge fan of Irish mythology; after reading Peadar O'Guilin's duology 'The Call' and 'The Invasion,' I became obsessed with finding SOMETHING that would satisfy the desire for this kind of fiction. Unfortunately, 'Guest' made an effort, but failed to succeed by quite a bit. 'Guest' is the story of Molly, who unwittingly brought about the swapping of her brother, Thomas, for a changeling. Changelings are known to be vicious, monstrous little creatures that drain the life out of the mother. According to rumor, if a mother takes care of the changeling like her own child, the Kind-folk (fairies) will bring the original baby back and switch. After watching her mother suffer with the changeling for weeks, Molly cannot stand it anymore and decides she needs to take the changeling (called Guest) back and force the Kind-folk to trade for her brother Thomas. She receives help from a traveler and Guest becomes more and more like a normal boy. Unfortunately, the Kind-folk are evil and have magic to lure people into traps... There is no telling if Molly will ever be able to even find her brother in the Darklands, where the fairies live. Molly has to be one of the dumbest characters I've ever read in a book. If it wasn't so short, I would've given up a long time ago, but I pushed ahead. She keeps falling into traps by the fairies and getting rescued last minute by various characters or luck. I can understand these things working at first, but it keeps happening over and over and over. It drove me NUTS! There also wasn't much to the story beyond what the synopsis says. If you can have magic in your book, you really should utilize it as much as you can. It was important for certain things to happen, but there was a whole world that was not explored. Unforunately, this book will receive a C from me, basically average.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mark Buxton

    My name is Mollie, and a silver necklace and harsh words were supposed to protect my baby brother Thomas from the Kinde Folke. But I was the one who said kind things about him and lifted the chain from his neck. Now, a changeling has taken his place, and the wretched creature has ruined our lives. Dadoe is gone, and Mam is in poor health. Maybe I can find the Kinde Folke and swap the changeling back for my brother. No one knows where they live, and I've been warned that the journey will be dange My name is Mollie, and a silver necklace and harsh words were supposed to protect my baby brother Thomas from the Kinde Folke. But I was the one who said kind things about him and lifted the chain from his neck. Now, a changeling has taken his place, and the wretched creature has ruined our lives. Dadoe is gone, and Mam is in poor health. Maybe I can find the Kinde Folke and swap the changeling back for my brother. No one knows where they live, and I've been warned that the journey will be dangerous. However, my family's problems won't go away until we're rid of the changeling we've taken to calling Guest. A guest is only temporary, and it's time this one returns to where it belongs. I can always count on Mary Downing Hahn to come through with an entertaining book. She's a creative author and knows how to push the right buttons to create consistently spooky, engaging stories. The text isn't complicated, but the descriptions are able to evoke many emotions. The concept of the changeling isn't overly unique, but in this story he becomes a sympathetic character. I don't recall reading about a main character trying to return a changeling back to the creatures who had provided the replacement. The characters usually treat it as a nasty beast and try to get rid of it, and this book begins the same way. Guest starts the book, as a mean, demanding imp and maintains this behavior until Mollie changes how she treats him. Remember the Golden Rule saying "Do unto others, as they would do unto you?" Mollie is a dynamic character, and her transformation throughout the story is heart-warming and virtuous. At first, the changes require a lot of prompting from a mysterious traveler, but you will find yourself rooting for Mollie and Guest. Overall, the book is engaging and enjoyable, and I recommend you give it a shot.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Mollie should know better than to gush over how cute her baby brother is, because everybody knows that saying a baby is cute will alert the Kinde Folk. But she can't help herself, and the next thing she knows, there's a changeling in Thomas's place - an ugly, screaming baby that exhausts her mother and drives her father away. Mollie decides that she will bring the changeling, who she names Guest, back to the Kinde Folk to try to get her brother back. With help from a traveler named Madog, Mollie Mollie should know better than to gush over how cute her baby brother is, because everybody knows that saying a baby is cute will alert the Kinde Folk. But she can't help herself, and the next thing she knows, there's a changeling in Thomas's place - an ugly, screaming baby that exhausts her mother and drives her father away. Mollie decides that she will bring the changeling, who she names Guest, back to the Kinde Folk to try to get her brother back. With help from a traveler named Madog, Mollie enters the dark forest. My friend from the local bookstore brought a stack of ARCs to the library for my teen giveaways, but I just had to read this one first! The gentle Irish setting was perfect for this tale. Mollie frustrated me to no end, ignoring every bit of advice given to her - however, I grew to love Guest and Madog. It was interesting to read this story after I read a post on Tumblr about how the tales of changelings might have been related to children with autism, and I almost wanted this story to go in that direction, but it didn't bother me that it did not. I wasn't expecting to come to love Guest so much. The cover reminded me a bit of The Replacement.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Martin

    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 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.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shelly Hammond

    I found this to be terrific. It may be a middle grade tale but I'm way beyond that in years and I absolutely adored this story. I thought it was great how it followed some folklore and myths but turned them into all new stories with characters that aren't soon to be forgotten. I'm not going to tell you the story or what happens in it because you have to read it to find all that out but I'll give you the briefest of summary without spoilers. This is the story of a family that has an adorable litt I found this to be terrific. It may be a middle grade tale but I'm way beyond that in years and I absolutely adored this story. I thought it was great how it followed some folklore and myths but turned them into all new stories with characters that aren't soon to be forgotten. I'm not going to tell you the story or what happens in it because you have to read it to find all that out but I'll give you the briefest of summary without spoilers. This is the story of a family that has an adorable little baby boy but one day the baby is swapped for a changeling, which is not so adorable at all. Mollie, the babies sister, decides that she is going to return the changeling, who is named Guest, and get her brother back. She sets out on a journey that proves quite difficult for one with her temperament and stubbornness. During her journey she runs into all sorts of people and creatures, some friend some foe, and she must learn many things. This is a delightful tale that can be enjoyed by so many. I must recommend the audio book as well though. I read and listened to the audio book and it adds so much to the tale as it is told by a woman with the most incredible Irish sounding voice. She's terrific and it's nice to hear it as you read it or read it then listen to it, either way. I really enjoyed this story more than I thought I would. I hope you do as well if you read it!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jaime Sanborn

    This book is written in the style of Grimm. The characters make mistakes over and over and have to face magical consequences. There is also an element of sexism, as it appears child-rearing is entirely a female concern in this novel. However, since it is meant to be a story that takes place in an ancient Celtic setting, I will forgive. This is a story of the cruelty of the Kinde Folk, a magical people who treat humans like toys. One day, a young farm-girl named Mollie accidentally compliments he This book is written in the style of Grimm. The characters make mistakes over and over and have to face magical consequences. There is also an element of sexism, as it appears child-rearing is entirely a female concern in this novel. However, since it is meant to be a story that takes place in an ancient Celtic setting, I will forgive. This is a story of the cruelty of the Kinde Folk, a magical people who treat humans like toys. One day, a young farm-girl named Mollie accidentally compliments her baby brother's beauty, bringing the attention of the Kinde Folk upon him. He is stolen and in his place is left behind a changeling baby. The changeling is not beautiful and his behavior is terrible. He is always hungry, always biting, and always crying. Mollie's family begins to fall apart over the loss of her true brother, so Mollie bravely sets out to retrieve him from the Kinde Folk. She brings along the despised Changeling, whom her family has cruelly named "Guest," in Hope's of trading him back for her brother. This story is a testament to the power of kindness and the Golden Rule. While elements of the plot feel rushed, and Mollie's inability to see through faerie-glamour starts to feel redundant, it is overall a true faerie-tale. Ages 11+

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down. I love learning about history and this book gives readers a look at some of the folk stories that people believed in so many years ago. In this case, this story surrounds a changeling child. One family loses their beautiful baby boy and in his place they are given a changeling – a sickly, mean child that does nothing but scream and make life miserable. We learn that children believed to be a changeling are left at a crossroad to die due to fea I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down. I love learning about history and this book gives readers a look at some of the folk stories that people believed in so many years ago. In this case, this story surrounds a changeling child. One family loses their beautiful baby boy and in his place they are given a changeling – a sickly, mean child that does nothing but scream and make life miserable. We learn that children believed to be a changeling are left at a crossroad to die due to fear from the fairy folk (this makes my heart sore to think of this actually happening) but in this story Thomas’ Mother cares for the changeling child in the hopes that her real son will be returned to her. Mollie feels that this is all her fault (and rightfully so due to her jealousy and reacting versus thinking her thoughts through) and will do whatever it takes to get her brother back and save her family that was torn apart by this event. She embarks on a dangerous journey and will stop at nothing to save her brother Thomas. I did not expect all of the twists that this novel takes but it is an incredible read. It is full of excitement, challenges, forgiveness and a bit of karma. This is a definite must read for tweens, teens and adults that love all books (just like me).

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