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The Empty Lot Next Door
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, the true life experience of Arthur M. Mills, Jr. deserves consideration. Find out who Candle Face was, her taunting behavior, and how she made a boy’s childhood into a living nightmare in The Empty Lot Next Door.
In a South Austin neighborhood, Ray and his family excitedly moves in to a small house standing in the midst of a big, green lawn. Beside their house is a strange, vacant lot where a house apparently once stood, and where a huge wide hole in the back lays mysteriously. As a young boy with a lot of new friends, Ray (Arthur’s childhood name) considers the empty lot as an exciting playground. But the tale behind the lot keeps the boy intrigued and frightened as he learns that the house that was once there was burned down years ago, leaving a girl dead amid the fire. The little girl, as the neighborhood kids say, comes out in the night to regain her life. Determined to validate the authenticity of this tale, Ray daringly and mistakenly challenges the “ghost,” a challenge that he would forever regret. Soon, he becomes haunted by the little girl—who he named as Candle Face—visiting his dreams and leaving hand prints and other signs even when he is awake.
Reader Choice Awards
Kids Award for Best Teen / Young Adult Book of the Year
Regional (South) -
Parenting, Family, and Relationships -
I started to read The Empty Lot Next Door afraid that the ghost story would get the best of me, and I would not be able to continue. The story I found was so powerful that I could not put the book down, even if that meant leaving a night light on!
Arthur's story of his haunted childhood combines unrelenting suspense with the poignant story of a young boy's struggle to survive in a hostile world. It is a tale so compelling readers will remember it long after the last page is read and the cover closed.
I read the book in the span of two days, and was very impressed with the story. At its heart, this is a story of a child traumatized by an unstable, and at times abusive, home life. The manifestation of the trauma is Candle Face, a very frigtening ghost on par with the girl from The Ring.
A truly amazing story written from the heart of an extremely talented and bravely honest man. I have nothing but respect for Arthur and hope he will produce more great works. He obviously has both the talent and the necessary understanding of the human condition to do so brilliantly.