Cover image for Being dead
Being dead
Vande Velde, Vivian.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt, [2001]

Physical Description:
203 pages ; 22 cm
Seven supernatural stories, all having something to do with death.
Drop by drop -- Dancing with Marjorie's ghost -- Shadow brother -- The ghost -- For love of him -- October chill -- Being dead.
Reading Level:
770 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.3 6.0 53421.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.3 11 Quiz: 28112 Guided reading level: W.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction 1:C-POP-MAYR
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



What happens when a sixteen-year-old girl falls in love with a two hundred-year-old ghost? Or when a newly dead boy gets robbed by his unscrupulous boss? Or when a heartless man finally agrees to dance with his wife . . . after she's passed away?
Vivian Vande Velde explores the world of the dead--and the undead--in this surprisingly moving collection of unnerving tales.

Author Notes

Vivian Vande Velde (born 1951, Rochester, New York) is an American author who writes books primarily aimed at children and young adults. She currently resides in Rochester, New York. Her novels and short story collections usually contain elements of horror, fantasy, and humor. Her book Never Trust a Dead Man (1999) received the 2000 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 7-10. Seven stories, ranging in length from just a few pages to more than 60, comprise this collection, with a ghost in every one. In "Drop by Drop," sullen teen Brenda loathes the rural house her parents have moved to from Buffalo, but her sulking turns to fear when a wet and bloody child that no one else can see keeps turning up in the new house at the sound of a bicycle bell. Emily has a brain tumor that she knows will kill her, but she finds a queasy tenderness in eighteenth-century ghosts at the historical site where she works in "October Chill." Vietnam casts a ghost in "Shadow Brother" and a young newsie in October 1930 doesn't lose his insouciance even when he's dead. Vande Velde has a sure hand, and these spirits are destined to find their audience. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Horror fans will love these seven deliciously creepy tales featuring ghosts, cemeteries, suicides, murders, and other death-related themes. Most of the selections deal with everyday teens in seemingly ordinary situations; readers will settle in, confident that they know what to expect, only to receive a spine-tingling jolt as they hit one of the collection's many gruesome twists and turns. The first story, "Drop by Drop," shows the author's macabre imagination at its best. Sixteen-year-old Brenda is understandably disgruntled when her parents whisk her away from her friends and her life in the city. Worse, their new house in a small town appears to be haunted. In one shivery scene, a disembodied hand touches her through her waterbed mattress, and Brenda spends the night on the couch. Clues turn up: a missing little girl, a foul smell from the woods, a dripping ghost. But just when it seems that Brenda will solve the mystery, the truth comes out-and most readers will be reeling with shock. In another story, a boy killed in Vietnam returns to haunt the father who forced him to enlist-or does he? In "October Chill," a terminally ill girl falls for the ghost of a teen from Colonial times. None of the stories are gory, but they are all quite dark. Recommend this title to teens who don't want happy-ever-after endings.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



The first thing I remember about Saturday was I had a headache that felt as though tiny aliens were trying to chew their way out of my head through my left eyeball, and my brother, Danny, was being obnoxious. I mean, I know I'd gotten up earlier, because there I was, dressed and in the car, but mercifully I had no memory of that. For me the day started in the car.Danny's earphones leaked a tinny stream of rap. The beat was as effective on my headache as someone smacking the side of my head with a Ping-Pong paddle. At the same time, he was stabbing at the keys of some handheld electronic game that kept beeping and playing its own annoying little tune every time he scored. And then he'd crow, "Yes!" as though he were winning at something worthwhile.In the front seat Mom had cranked up her own music to drown him out. Probably as a concession to us, she hadn't put in one of her opera tapes, but The Little Mermaid wasn't much better. There's nothing like Sebastian the crab howling "Under the Sea" to start off your morning right.Dad was smart enough to be driving the rented U-Haul without us.Danny had his feet crossed up on the seat, so that his knee kept jabbing me in the side. And his stack of coloring books and comic books and snack bags had tipped over onto me, too.Ten o'clock in the morning, and the car's air-conditioning was already losing its battle with the August heat.I shoved Danny and he shoved back."Mom," I complained, "Danny's crowding me.""Ma," chimed in Danny, "Brenda didn't brush her teeth this morning, and she's breathing morning breath all over me.""Stop fighting." Mom never even looked back to see how much of the seat Danny was taking. "We're almost there." If she had been a concerned parent, she would have let me sit up front instead of subjecting me to Danny. But the front seat was reserved for transporting plants that she had to keep an eye on so they wouldn't tip. It's a sad state of affairs when a coleus takes precedence over a family's firstborn child. Then again, if my mother or father were concerned parents, we wouldn't be moving in the first place."How close is 'almost there'?" I asked."Half an hour till our exit, then another forty minutes to the house."An hour and ten minutes is not almost there. It barely qualified as halfway there."I have a headache, and I think I'm getting carsick.""Oh, Brenda," Mom said, "you don't get carsick."Easy for her to say.Danny said, "She went out drinking with her friends, and now she's hungover. That's why her eyes are all red. Either that, or she's turning into a vampire."I curled my lip at him in a snarl. "If I ever did become a vampire, I know who my first victim would be."Mom told him, "Sixteen is too young to go out drinking. And Brenda's friends are too nice to be vampires.""Oh," Danny said innocently, "then maybe it's just her regular PMS."Midget pervert, I mouthed at him. I certainly wasn't going to admit to either of them that I'd cried myself Excerpted from Being Dead by Vivian Vande Velde All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Drop by Dropp. 1
Dancing with Marjorie's Ghostp. 61
Shadow Brotherp. 69
The Ghostp. 109
For Love of Himp. 117
October Chillp. 135
Being Deadp. 175