I can remember when I heard about M. Night Shyamalan's movie The Village back in the day, and thought how much it sounded like Margaret Peterson Haddix's Running Out of Time. Now I can see some shades of The Sixth Sense in The Headless Cupid. Just shades - both films have an overall goosebumps factor, and both have younger characters who can communicate with dead people. There is a scene in the book where Blair is playing under the covers, and I thought of the scene in The Sixth Sense where the little boy was playing under the covers (a homemade fort maybe) and saw the ghost. I don't think the similarities aren't anything but genre superficial - sort of like how Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising has crept into a couple of books I've read in the last year.
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Headless Cupid exists in the same eerie world as Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Witch books Witch's Sister and The Ghost Next Door or Lois Duncan's Summer of Fear (The Children of Green Knowe has this flavor as well, only more gothic and less suspenseful). Snyder was one of the masters of the craft of children's literature; The Headless Cupid continues to hold up really well. It's deliciously slow, and like the best suspense and ghost stories, tricky. She uses David, her main character, and his thoughts and beliefs to trick us into thinking things are one way... and then turns the tables on us in a most extraordinarily wonderful way. I never need blood and gore to make my spine tingle - The Headless Cupid is perfect that way.
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