Martha is one of the most annoying characters I ever encountered in one of these books, but I do feel bad for her. Her dad recently married a woman named Sally who has a son the same age as Martha named Conor. Martha and her dad lived in Chicago, but Sally found a house for them out in the middle of nowhere. Since Martha is a huge weenie, she instantly freaks out over seeing shadows on the walls, a scarecrow outside in the field, and especially Conor, who nothing seems to bother.
The first night she's there, she gets so freaked out because she thinks her closet door opened on its own that she sleeps with a light on. She then gets a call in the middle of the night urging her to check outside, which leads to her seeing a bloody corpse outside her window. Conor rushes in and finds out that it's just the scarecrow and decides it was probably kids playing a prank on the new people.
The next day, their parents send them to town to look for picture hooks. While looking in a mirror, she sees someone behind her and flips out again but it's only this hot guy named Blake. He introduces her to his cousin Wynn and does a little flirting, which Conor teases her about. Martha's dad then gets a new writing assignment and decides to take off for a few days rather than, you know, help his daughter acclimate to a new town.
Martha does get the chance to see Blake again in school and meet his cousin Greg. Greg is her new advisor and looks so much like Blake that they almost look like twins. Wynn lets her know that all the girls in school are obsessed with Conor and that her house is evil before wandering off. There's also some crap about Martha finding a cemetery on their land and hearing someone crying and a fire breaking out in their house.
This all leads up to Blake telling her why so many people keep avoiding her. Her house, also known as the Bedford House, is haunted. This girl named Elizabeth, who was Wynn's best friend, was stalked by her ex-boyfriend Dennis. Dennis was the big man on campus and never got along with Blake. When Elizabeth broke up with him, he started following her around. He set a fire in her house, sent her threatening letters, and was generally just a bad guy.
By the time she finally told her friends what was going on, it was too late. They didn't have any proof, according to Blake, which uses that as an excuse for why they never went to the police. She left a Halloween party with Dennis one night, and Wynn later found her dead body in her bedroom, which was the same room Martha now has. The police later found Dennis's car and decided that he killed himself but they never found his body.
Martha tells Conor what she found out, but it turns out that he cut school to do some research in the local library and found it all out himself. She keeps flipping out so much that he agrees to answer the phone from now on, but not before she gets another threatening call.
We then get a scene where she goes out to eat with Greg, Wynn, and Blake but all it does is show that Wynn has a serious crush. Blake takes her home and drops her off, but she gets stuck outside when Conor won't answer the door. She sees someone moving around in her room and goes bonkers. Conor finally answers the door, and after checking her room and seeing no one there, he agrees to switch rooms with her.
Since Wynn is the only other girl in school talking to her, they go out shopping together. Wynn reveals that she has a super crush on Conor and that she isn't convinced Dennis killed Elizabeth. Even though he was something of a bully, she says that he really loved Elizabeth and would never hurt her. She also tells Martha that she doesn't remember anything about the night that she found her friend's body and that even though he doesn't like to talk about it, Blake actually dated Elizabeth after she broke up with Dennis.
Cut to Blake convincing her to cut school to go with him to pick up some decorations for the big school dance. He takes her out to an abandoned farm to get hay bales and crap and then takes her into the farmhouse. After some more flirting, he tells her that he's liked her since the first time he saw her and that he never liked anyone else as much but that he has big plans to get the heck out of his small town. Blake asks her to the dance and drops her off while casually wondering if maybe Dennis is still alive and out there somewhere.
When she gets home that night, she thinks she hears things and freaks out yet again because Conor isn't there. He finally does show up and scares her again when he appears in her room and shows her a hidden passage leading to her bedroom. Martha opens up to him about all the stuff that's happened, and he tells her that he believes her. He always thought her room was a lot colder than the rest of the house and that he felt like someone or something pulled him to the nearby cemetery. Despite all this, there's really no resolution between them or decisions about what they should do.
Greg calls her in for a meeting to talk about how she's doing pretty bad in school. This turns into a conversation about how she's so scared of her new house. Greg mentions that all Wynn remembers from that night is blackness. He then tells her that lots of people know about the secret passages and that Elizabeth's own dad told him there were some they never found. After saying he thinks Dennis is dead, he sends her home. She stops to meet with Wynn and finds out that Wynn thinks Dennis killed himself after finding out Elizabeth died.
Martha goes back to the school after hours because she forgot a book and finds the place empty and deserted. Footsteps start following her through the school, and she takes off running. The person keeps following her until she finds an open door and runs outside. At the last moment, she hears a voice and realizes that it's Conor.
It turns out that Conor found her outside and rushed her to the hospital. Greg and Blake show up, and Wynn comes later, which lets Greg has a "series" discussion with Conor about Martha's problems. No one really tells them how they heard she was in the hospital.
Wynn comes to the house the next day, and they talk about Elizabeth and Dennis. They find out that she knew about the secret passages and that Blake did too. She was at the party the night her friend died and saw her in the car with him. Elizabeth asked her to cover for her with Blake and that she and Dennis were going back to her house to talk. Blake got Wynn to tell them where they went and rushed to the house. The only thing she remembers after that is blackness surrounding her. Seriously? How is no one drawing a connection to the passages?
Conor gets a bad case of the flu on the same night as the big Halloween dance, so she goes with Blake and meets up with Wynn there. After having some fun, Wynn rushes up to her in a panic because she just saw Dennis standing in the crowd and watching her. While running around to find Blake, she hears her name called over the loudspeaker that she has a phone call. No surprise, it's the same voice threatening her again, only this time the voice says that it's at her house and everyone is dead.
When Blake and Greg hear what happened, they drive her back to her house. Conor is still sick but just fine. While trying to talk with her about what's going on, someone calls her name and shadows grab her. Whatever it is pulls her into one of the passages, but Conor grabs her arm and gets pulled in too. They hear something whispering to them and realize that they're in the cellar. Whatever it is then sets a fire and traps them in the room.
Conor finds another passage, drags her off, and they find themselves in a mausoleum at the cemetery with hundreds of candles lit. As she flips out again, Conor realizes that in the center of all those candles is the body of Dennis. Someone walks out of the shadows in Blake's costume from the party and starts rambling about why Elizabeth wouldn't just go away and why it all had to happen again. Blake rushes in, knocks the knife away from the figure, and comforts what is actually Wynn.
It turns out that Wynn was in love with Dennis and thought he loved her too. She showed up at the house and attacked him before killing Elizabeth. When she found out Dennis was dead, she carried him through the passage to the mausoleum and left him there before forgetting what happened. The police arrive and get them medical help before carting off Wynn, who still thinks Martha is Elizabeth. Blake then tells her that he thought he lost her and how he's so lucky, they kiss, and she tells him that she's the lucky one.
WTF? Why would she even want to be with Blake? They had one single date, and when he kisses her at the end, it was their first kiss. I'm also not a big fan of Martha anyway. She is such a weenie that I had a hard time caring about her at all. It's one thing for a character to get scared after a few things happen, but this chick goes crazy scared from the very beginning. Ugh.