Haint Misbehavin'

Haint Misbehavin'

Maureen Hardegree

$12.95 June 2010
ISBN: 978-1-935661-93-1

Book one in the Ghost Handler series.
(Young Adult - Middle Grade)

Our PriceUS$12.95
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Synopsis | Reviews | Excerpt

Sisters. Boys. School. She has enough trouble to deal with. Then the first ghost showed up. Life just got supernatural for Heather Tildy.

Heather's Ghost Handling Rules

  • Even if you're really old, like fourteen, and you just got your period, imaginary friends ARE ghosts. Don't let anyone tell you different.

  • Ghosts don't always want to move on. They like to hang out with you. And they're not, like, always hunky and dreamy like the Jonas Brothers or Justin Beiber or whoever.

  • If a ghost wants to, she or he can jump inside your body. Which is seriously weird.

  • A ghost handler's job is to help the ghost resolve something that is keeping him/her in this limbo between worlds. It's like being stuck in the mall on a Monday.

  • Ghosts sometimes are here to help you learn something, too, but they don't just, like, tell you. They make you figure it out.

  • If the ghost does two nice things for you, the ghost can go wherever you go totally without your permission. Can you say super-duper sucks?


"...a fun ghost story." -- Michelle Witte, Libriago

"Well written and faced paced.Funny and relateable." -- Amy Trussell – Books, Coffee---Pure Bliss

"A completely wholesome, clean, novel leaving the reader very satisfied and with a warm heart. I look forward to the rest of the series." -- My Precious Blog

"Haint Misbehavin' was a great fun and light read that reminded me of how great ghost stories can be. If you have read and enjoyed the Mediator series by Meg Cabot I definitely recommend you give Haint Misbehavin' a try." -- Emilie's Book World

"The first-person voice that narrates the entire novel is fun, humorous, and perfect… I can't help but be very interested in where the Ghost Handler series will go next." -- Bibliophile Support Group

"This book was Great! I totally absorbed it.. It is a fun read with Heather and her haint (aka ghost) Amy, causing trouble in the most funniest and silliest ways. I can't count the many times I laughed out loud as I read this book.” -- Read for Your Future Blog

"I really loved this book. This is a fun, witty book that girls between the age of 13 and up will love! I can't wait to read the rest of the series." -- Maria's Space Blog

"I give Haint Misbehaving4 bookmarks and I will definitely keep my eye out for the rest of this series…" -- Kari Anderson, The Kari AnnAlysis

"This is a fun quick read!" -- Novel Reaction blog

"The debut in this series is a great start...perfect for teens who loved Ghost Whisperer." -- Round Table For Kids blog

"From the first few pages, I was already hooked. Heather's voice comes through loud and clear and it is refreshingly funny. I felt like a teenager reading this book and most teenagers I know will enjoy it. This is definitely a book you should go out and buy." -- Sharon Reviews

"A fun mystery that will entice many young readers." -- The Midwest Book Review

"...quick and witty...liked the mystery behind Amy's history and Heather's inventive problem solving. It will be fun to see what Heather is up to next time." -- Page Turner's Blog

"...hilarious, charming young adult series featuring a sassy teenaged ghost handler...Intended for a middle school/young adult market, this series can be enjoyed by parents too!" -- Sharon Galligar Chance, Wichita Falls Times Record News

"I'm glad to see that this is the first of a series. I can't wait to see how Ms. Hardegree develops Heather's character and see what other messes she gets into!" -- TeensReadToo.com

"Ghostly fun!" -- Gillian Summers, The Faire Folk series

"A fun package of crushes, quests for popularity, and summertime antics, tied together with a paranormal bow. Fans of Meg Cabot's Mediator novels will find much to like in Haint Misbehavin', the first of Hardegree's Ghost Handler series." --Trish Milburn Heartbreak River (as Tricia Mills), Razorbill Pic


It was now or never. Today, the first official day of summer vacation and my campaign to somehow, some way, make my sister Audrey find my presence in this world a positive rather than a negative.

Okay, so it's not like I thought I could go from major irritation to pal in a matter of two months, or just because I'd turned fourteen on my last birthday. But deep down, I knew I could be normal enough that she wouldn't automatically leave when I entered a room—especially now that we shared something in common other than our genetics. We could have a real moment here—if she was willing to help me with the one little problem that surpassed the outbreak of bacne I'd spent most of last night worrying about.

I padded down the hall of our suburban Atlanta house, listening for Audrey's voice, much like mine minus the rasp. Her snort of laughter rose up the second story foyer, then trailed off into the blare of the TV.

"Audrey?" I called out as I came down the stairs. No answer.

I snuck a peek into the den.

Audrey's pudgy friend Karen, who might actually hate me more than my sister did, sprawled on the couch in the family room in what Grandma would say was an unladylike fashion. Karen had spent the night, and I'd successfully avoided her for most of her visit by staying in my room.

Taking a deep breath, I skirted through the dining room and into the kitchen, where I found Audrey dipping her finger into a large bowl of yellow batter studded with shiny semi-sweet chips. A half dozen, super-sized muffins cooled on the rack on the granite-topped island, tantalizing me with their chocolaty scent. Compliments were usually welcome. I'd give it a shot. "Smells good," I said.

Audrey's long face scrunched into a scowl. "What do you want?"

"Um, I don't know how to..." I glanced back toward the den, where Karen still appeared to be engrossed in some reality show. But one could never tell. "Look. Mom isn't here, so I need your help with... something."

Audrey pushed her scraggly brown bangs out of her eyes. "Fine. What is it?"

Undoubtedly sensing the potential to heap psychological damage upon me, Karen scurried into the kitchen. "What's what?"

"It's nothing. Forget about it," I said, glancing over at the digital clock on the oven, which had to be flashing the wrong time. Unless I overslept—again.

"Whatever you have to say, you can say in front of Karen," Audrey assured me in a half-irritated tone.

"No, I can't."

Hey, I knew my response might throw Audrey into full-fledged aggravation, but I had to risk it. You don't share some things in front of people who hate you more than David Butler's armpit stench. Karen couldn't know what my problem was. She'd text it all over Pecan Hills.

"No, I can't," Karen taunted, mimicking my husky voice, only making it sound far worse than it was.

My face burned, never a good thing for someone like me with hypersensitive skin. At least I wasn't itching... yet. I went to the fridge and grabbed a bottled water, hoping they'd forget I'd ever said anything about needing Audrey's help. I'd figure out my problem on my own.

As I tried to escape, heading toward the back staircase, Karen blocked me. She stood there examining me as if I was some freak sideshow at the circus and I wasn't living up to the hype. "Aren't you going to scratch yourself?"

No ‘hey, don't pick on my sister,' issued from Audrey's lips. No ‘Heather can't help having weird skin.' No channeling of Marcia Brady, Denise Huxtable, or D.J. Tanner, all excellent TVLand examples of how older sisters should act.

"No, she isn't!" Audrey hollered for me, not that she could control my skin. Not even I could control my skin. Audrey bit into one of her hoarded muffins, then waved her hand in front of her mouth, waiting for it to cool down enough to chew.

I should have enjoyed karma burning her, yet it barely tickled me. My sister wasn't making even a half-hearted attempt to protect me.

"Are your feelings too hurt to answer, Heather?" Karen asked, her voice dripping fake sympathy as thick as cane syrup. "You're not going to cry, are you?"

Not in front of her, I wasn't. I don't know why I let her get to me. I hated it. I hated her.

I twisted off the cap and took a swig of my water, attempting to swallow the growing lump in my throat. "Thanks a lot, Audrey," I said, despising how even I could hear the tears in my voice. I bolted around Karen and out of the kitchen.

"Heather!" Audrey yelled as I ran up the stairs two at a time. "Heather, come on."

Doomed to solve my dilemma on my own, I made a beeline for the bathroom, then shut the door and stared at the paper-wrapped tube, hardly bigger than a highlighter, lying on the counter. It seemed harmless, but to me it was the scariest, yet most exciting object in the house. I eyed the pink box that had been sitting between the tower of Dove soap and the plastic sack of ultra-thin maxi pads inside the linen closet. The sheet of instructions lay unfolded across the sink, clearly written, yet impossible to follow.

Pounding rattled the bathroom door in its frame. Probably Karen come to harass me some more.

"Come on, Heather," Audrey groaned. She turned the doorknob back and forth. "I know you're in there."

Hope filled my heart. Audrey did care. She was looking for me out of concern.

She pounded again. "I've gotta go. Let me in."

Deflated, I padded across the cool tile to unlock the door. "All right. Geez."

"What's your problem anyway?" she asked.

Sure, I knew it was a rhetorical question, but she was here. I might as well give it a shot. "If you must know, my problem is that I don't know how to put a tampon in."

And with the pool beckoning, I had to learn fast. No way was I showing up in street clothes. I wanted to impress hot lifeguard Drew Blanton, not stick out as the lone dweeb, sitting on the side, dipping my legs in the water while everyone else swam.

"God, it's no big deal." Audrey slapped the tampon into my hand, shoved the instructions under my arm, pushed me out of the bathroom, and slammed the door in my face. "The directions are on the paper. Duh!"

Not sure if I was more hurt or angry, I stared at the bathroom door. "Where's the welcome into the sisterhood of menstruating women?"

A snort was her only response. You'd think we'd at least be able to bond over that. Especially since my period had taken forever to get here. I was going into ninth grade in the fall, and I'd only been waiting for this milestone since reading Are You There God, It's Me Margaret at age ten. I really wanted the whole monthly cycle; I welcomed anything that would make me more rather than less normal, which in turn would make Audrey like me. Or so I thought.

I straightened out the instructions and studied the diagram as I plodded down the narrow hallway to my room.

Maybe I'd put the tampon experiment off until tomorrow. If I didn't show up at the pool today, Drew might wonder if I was sick. Maybe he'd call the house to check on me... which was pretty much impossible since he didn't know my name. "Why today?" I whined.

"Why what today?" my younger sister Claire asked. She was standing in the doorway of her room, next to mine, and smelled faintly of Coppertone. She's the good sister. With her Hawaiian print tankini and the front of her light brown bob clipped to the side with a barrette, she looked ready for a day at the pool... and adorable. I swear I don't hate her for it.

"I've officially entered womanhood," I announced, grabbing hold of her sunscreen- moistened arms. Then I squealed. I couldn't help it.

She squealed back in a higher pitch, and we hugged and jumped up and down, doing our happy dance, kind of like a bad polka, in the middle of the hall.

Audrey came out of the bathroom and stopped to stare at us, her long face pinched in disgust. "You're too weird." Her "you" meant me, not Claire. She liked Claire just fine.

I wanted to stick my tongue out at the queen of poopiness but that wouldn't exactly make her like me, so I stifled the urge. Barely.

And I'm not that weird. Sure, I cut the tags out of my clothes. And, yes, I can't sleep on bed linens lower than a 400 thread count. I even admit to training myself not to focus on the toe seams in my socks. Okay, so I'm a little weird, but I'm definitely not weird with a capital "W" like Mom's sister Geneva. She claims she has a ghost for a friend.

Under the scraggly fringe of her overgrown bangs, Audrey narrowed her beady brown eyes. "Don't you have something you have to do, Heather?"

"Uh, no."

"Then I guess you weren't paying attention last night at dinner when Dad said he was taking a half-day." She paused for dramatic effect. "Oh, and he's going to want the body count."

Crappola. I was toast.

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