76 pages 2 hours read

Mary Downing Hahn

All The Lovely Bad Ones

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2008

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Important Quotes

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“Public displays of affection were okay for girls, I guessed, but not for guys. After all, I’d be thirteen soon—way too old for that kind of silly stuff.”

(Chapter 1, Page 6)

Hahn establishes Travis’s insecurity as an almost-13-year-old boy at the beginning of the novel. Travis does not allow himself to hug Grandmother, and later, he refuses to admit when he is afraid. Hahn shows how adherences to traditional stereotypes of how men and women should behave effect children at a young age. Hahn also sets Travis up for character growth early on: While the reader is aware that affection isn’t a sign of weakness, Travis will learn this lesson by the end of the novel. 

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“The truth of it was Corey and I tended to get in trouble wherever we went. Bad ones—that’s what we were. Well, not really bad. We preferred to think of ourselves as pranksters. But like the camp staff, adults (including Mom and Dad) didn’t find our antics as funny as we did.” 

(Chapter 1, Page 6)

Hahn immediately clarifies what she means by “bad ones.” Travis does as well, stating that he and Corey are pranksters. Hahn thus begins to amass different meanings of “bad” that occur throughout the text. Sometimes, bad can simply mean mischievous.

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“As Corey and I followed Grandmother out of the library, we glanced at each other. Without saying a word, I knew my sister was thinking exactly what I was thinking. Rappings and tappings, footsteps, doors opening and shutting—we could do that. And more. Bringing ghosts back to Fox Hill would be like playing haunted house all summer long.”

(Chapter 1, Page 14)

Despite their endless bickering and arguments, Corey and Travis are quite close. They can communicate with each other wordlessly and often know what the other is thinking.