Old Favorite: The Silver Kiss

Raise your hand if you’re planning on seeing the last part of the Twilight saga this month.    Hmm…quite a few hands out there!

Although Stephanie Meyer’s vampires might be the most popular crowd of undead out there, they are not the first blood-suckers to grace the world of YA books.  Vampire legends go back hundreds of years; and although Dracula was arguably the most famous literary vampire, there were other books that came before his 1897 debut.

Twilight is just the latest in a line of vampire books that goes back over a hundred years.  Some current favorites came before Edward was even a sparkle in Meyer’s eyes.  Books like L.J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries, Ellen Schreiber’s Vampire Kisses, Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak, several books by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, and one of my old favorites: The Silver Kiss, by Annette Curtis Klause.

* * *

Zoe’s life has been nothing but chaos for over a year.  When she gets home from school, her house is empty, and she just knows that her mother is in the hospital again.  When the phone rings, she’s afraid it might be her father, calling to tell her that it’s too late.  But instead, it’s her best friend Lorraine.  Calling to tell her that her father has gotten a new job and that the family is moving across the country.

Lorraine has always been Zoe’s refuge…the person who will talk to her and help her get through dealing with her mother’s health issues.  What is she going to do without her?  Zoe tries to talk to her father, but he’s too preoccupied.  Zoe’s mother would understand…but if Zoe’s mother was there, she wouldn’t need Lorraine.

Simon is beautiful.  Silver hair, pale skin and dark eyes.  And an unfortunate appetite for blood.  Rat’s blood, mostly.  It’s how he gets by.  Animal blood only lasts so long though, and he’s due for a bigger kill to survive.  So he waits, and watches.

Zoe and Simon meet by accident in a park near the hospital.  As they come together more frequently and talk, they realize that the thing they have in common is the pain and loneliness of death.  Their lives (so to speak) become more wrapped up in each other.

As Zoe’s mother takes a turn for the worse, bad news seems to haunt their town. A serial killer seems to be on the loose, and there have been several suspicious deaths.  Zoe wonders when she sees Simon with blood on his hands.  As Simon’s deadly mission becomes clear to Zoe, her mother starts losing her battle.  Zoe turns to Simon for support, and he tells her the truth about himself…and a secret that could change her life.  And her mother.

Will Simon be able to help her?  Or will Zoe help him?  As a deadly enemy stealthily approaches, Simon and Zoe will have to learn how to trust and accept each other.

* * *

The Silver Kiss was written in 1990, well before Bella and Edward appeared in libraries and bookstores.  Their relationship is based on a mutual need and fear.  The Silver Kiss blends horror, suspense and romantic longing. Although Zoe and Simon are attracted to each other, their worlds are very, very different.  They each have something to offer the other, but if they act on their instincts, it would change them forever.

When the book came out, it was one of the first vampire novels written expressly for teens.  It was praised as a “darkly seductive thriller with heart and a message”.   Annette Curtis Klause’s writing was praised as fluid and graceful, and was called “a well-drawn, powerful and seductive novel.”  Unlike the vampire novels of this millenium, The Silver Kiss is short; only 198 pages.  It’s a wonderful read, and the final image will stay with the reader for a very long time.

The paperback version of The Silver Kiss that was released in 2009 includes two additional short stories–one about Simon during The Summer of Love, the second about Zoe, a year after the novel, dealing with A Christmas Cat.  Both short stories expand on what makes Simon and Zoe tick, and what draws them to each other.

The Silver Kiss is in our Young Adult section, and is appropriate for middle and high school students.  It is short, but there’s a lot packed into the story!  If you’re looking for a vampire book with heart, or if you’ve read all the Twilight books are are looking for something that will stay with you, try The Silver Kiss.  You’ll be glad you did.



Old Favorite: Down a Dark Hall

Autumn leaves are falling, and we all know what that means…Halloween is just around the corner!  So, to celebrate, here’s a spooky old favorite: Down a Dark Hall, by Lois Duncan

* * *

Kit is being sent to boarding school. It’s not her choice…her mother has married Dan Rheardon and is going on a year-long honeymoon trip to Europe. Kit would have liked to go with them, but Dan disagreed.  Honeymoons, he said, were no place for 14 year old girls.  Instead, he suggested that Kit apply to Blackwood School for Girls, an exclusive boarding school, with her best friend Tracy. Kit agreed that the brochure looked interesting, and since Tracy was excited about the prospect, they applied together.

Waiting to hear from the school, Kit went along with all the changes in her life–wedding, stepfather, moving and a starting this new school–because Tracy was at her side. Together, they had been looking forward to the experience.  But then Tracy got the notice that she wasn’t accepted, even though her grades were much better than Kit’s.  Kit begged and pleaded to either go to Europe with the newlyweds or to go to a different school, but Dan refused to change the plan.  Kit WAS going to Blackwood, and that was it.

Blackwood School turns out to be a huge, imposing mansion on the top of a hill; dark, mysterious, and impressive.  Kit feels a shiver of fear at the sight of it. When it comes time to go inside to see her room for the year, she identifies the fear. The house is evil, and she doesn’t want to spend one second inside.  Unfortunately, Dan is as determined as she is, and he and her mother leave Kit behind at the school as they head off for their European honeymoon.

Was it evil that Kit felt? Or was she just frightened of losing her mother for a year? Does her memory of seeing her father–after he died–have anything to do with her fears?

When Kit discovers that the “exclusive Blackwood School for Girls” is actually home to a grand total of four students, she knows that something is very, very wrong. But she and the other girls are locked in their rooms, behind the gates of Blackwood mansion, with nowhere else to go and no way to reach their friends in the world outside.  Will four very different girls be able to pull together to figure out what is going on and fight the evil visiting them in their dreams? Or are they doomed to be walking the dark halls of the Blackwood mansion for eternity?

* * *

Down a Dark Hall was originally published in 1974, and anyone who was a teenager at that time probably read it. Kids at my school library were still fighting over who was going to read it next a few years later! Lois Duncan was considered the best writer around, and her books were devoured by mystery and horror fans alike, as well as anyone who liked a good read.

As you’re reading, the atmosphere and oppressive feeling of the mansion will stay with you, as will Kit’s confusion and dawning horror as she figures out what is going on.  She does find some allies in the battle for her survival, but to tell you more would give too much away. There’s a reason why people remember this book years after finishing it!

So if you’re looking for a story with a good creep-out factor, try Down a Dark Hall. I read it in sixth grade, which is really the perfect time. However, it would be appropriate for fifth through eighth grade.  And if you liked it, you could also try Duncan’s other books–especially Stranger with My Face or Summer of Fear. Two more creepy reads that are sure to take over your life as you race to reach the end and find out What Happened!


Three Audio Books

Time for a collection of Audio books.  Nothing in common with these three, really, except that they were all good.  Really, really good!

* * *

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
by Jeanne Birdsall, read by Susan Denaker
6 CDs; 6 hours, 45 minutes

The Penderwick sisters–Rosalind, Skye, Jane and Batty–were supposed to be going to Cape Cod for their two week summer vacation. But the people who owned the house where they normally went had sold it, and all four sisters despaired. Then Mr. Penderwick found out about a small cottage called Arundel, out in the Western part of Massachusetts, and snapped it up. Soon all four sisters, their father and their dog, Hound, are on their way to a summer of fun, discovery and adventure.

I love the Penderwicks!  Part of that may be because I’m from a family of four girls myself, and I completely understand Rosalind. But mostly, it’s because the books are so well written, with a great old-fashioned feel, but set firmly in today’s world. Each of the girls has a distinct personality and voice, and each has her own view of the world.

Susan Denaker does a wonderful reading of the story, and manages to make each character sound different. This is a great story to listen to as a family in the car, or as an individual for any reason!  If we rated these with five stars, I’d give it a six!

The main characters range in age from four to twelve, and this title is good for all ages.

* * *

Storm Runners
By Roland Smith, read by Ramon de Ocampo
3 CDs; 3 hours, 8 minutes

Chase Master’s life hasn’t been normal for years, ever since his mother and younger sister were killed in a car accident. It only got worse after his father John was struck by lightning; he sold their house and his business, bought some equipment, and set himself up as a storm runner. John seems to have an instinct for weather, every time there’s a hurricane or other big storm, he pulls Chase out of wherever they’ve settled, and they’re off to deal with the storm and its aftermath.

As Chase sets up the trucks at a farm in Florida. John and his assistant go to St. Petersburg, where they think Hurricane Emily will have landfall.  Chase goes to school with Nicole, whose family owns the farm. But for once, John’s skills at predicting hurricanes seem to have deserted him, and Chase is the one directly in the hurricane’s path. Will John be able to make it back to Chase in time? Can Chase survive the hurricane and keep his new friends safe?

This is an action-packed story, and it ends just as Hurricane Emily has hit its peak! The first book in a trilogy, this is sure to leave readers (and listeners) on the edges of their seats, waiting for more.

Ramon de Ocampo does a terrific job narrating the story, and his narration is enhanced by the “media broadcasts” of the storm–complete with the voices of the newscasters and weather forecasters and sound effects. This is one audio book that will leave you begging for the next volume.

The main characters are both thirteen, but this book on CD would be appropriate for ages 8 and up.

* * *

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
By Lish McBride, Narrated by Jonathan Todd Ross and Chris Sorensen
9 CDs; 10 hours, 15 minutes

Sam is a slacker. He was a college student, but he dropped out after his freshman year. He works in a burger joint, but has no idea what else he wants to do with his life. He’s kind of stuck in a rut–work, skateboard, watch movies, work again.

That changes when he has a confrontation with a very strange man in the parking lot of the burger joint. The man threatens Sam and his friends, even though they haven’t really done anything. Soon, with talking heads, ghosts and werewolves surrounding him, Sam’s life is changed forever. Can he (with the help of his burger buddies) uncover the  secret that’s been hidden from him his whole life?  Lives–including his own–depend on it.

This is a great teen read! (or listen, as the case may be.) Sam is a wonderful character, and his friends are as well. The story is definitely not for younger readers, there’s some violence and relationships that are for teens, but if you have a yen for a paranormal adventure, with a little light romance tossed it, this is the book for you!

The two readers have very good voices–one reads the parts of the story  from Sam’s point of view, while the other does the rest of the narrative. This was just a tiny bit problematic, as I had a problem with the bass/treble between the voices, if one sounded good, the other was fuzzy. Other than that though, it was a great production.

Sam and his friends are nineteen, and this is told from the perspective of older teens. Definitely for high school and up.

* * *

Try this and other audio books for your next long (or short!) car trip. If you want advice on these or other audio books, ask one of our librarians. We’re happy to help you find something good!


Teens: Ghost Stories


Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories

Who better to investigate the literary spirit world than that supreme connoisseur of the unexpected, Roald Dahl? Of the many permutations of the macabre or bizarre, Dahl was always especially fascinated by the classic ghost story. As he realtes in the erudite introduction to this volume, he read some 749 supernatural tales at the British Museum Library before selecting the 14 that comprise this anthology. “Spookiness is, after all, the real purpose of the ghost story,” Dahl writes. “It should give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts.” For this superbly disquieting collection, Dahl offers favorite tales by such masterful storytellers as E. F. Benson, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Rosemary Timperley, and Edith Wharton.

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Seventeen-year-old Amy Goodnight has long been the one who makes her family of witches seem somewhat normal to others, but while spending a summer with her sister caring for their aunt’s farm, Amy becomes the center of weirdness when she becomes tied to a powerful ghost.

Ghost Huntress by Marley Gibson

Moving from Chicago to tiny Radisson, Georgia, awakens latent psychic powers in sixteen-year-old Kendall, who finds herself communicating with ghosts and forming a ragtag ghost hunting team to research and battle a belligerent spirit that is trying to harm her father.

Nightspell by Lead Cypess

Sent by her father, the king of Raellia, who is trying to forge an empire out of warring tribes, Darri arrives in Ghostland and discovers that her sister, whom she planned to rescue, may not want to leave this land where the dead mingle freely with the living.

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

When Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, she is exiled to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters

Tighter by Adele Griffin

Based on Henry James’s “The Turn of the Screw,” tells the story of Jamie Atkinson’s summer spent as a nanny in a small Rhode Island beach town, where she begins to fear that the estate may be haunted, especially after she learns of two deaths that occurred there the previous summer.

The House of Dead Maids by Dunkle

Eleven-year-old Tabby Aykroyd, who would later serve as housekeeper for thirty years to the Brönte sisters, is taken from an orphanage to a ghost-filled house, where she and a wild young boy are needed for a pagan ritual.

The Ghost’s Child by Sonya Hartnett

When a mysterious child appears in her living room one day, the elderly Maddy tells him the story of her love for the wild and free-spirited Feather, who tried but failed to live a conventional life with her, and her search for him on a fantastical voyage across the seas.

A Curse As Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Upon the death of her father, seventeen-year-old Charlotte struggles to keep the family’s woolen mill running in the face of an overwhelming mortgage and what the local villagers believe is a curse, but when a man capable of spinning straw into goldappears on the scene she must decide if his help is worth the price.

Twilight by Meg Cabot

Sixteen-year-old Carmel, California teenager Suze Simon is a typical high school student except for the fact that she is a “shifter” who can mediate between the living and the dead, and she is in love with a ghost from the nineteenth century.

Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

After benignly haunting a series of people for 130 years, Helen meets a teenage boy who can see her and together they unlock the mysteries of their pasts.

Story Time by Edward Bloor

George and Kate are promised the best education but instead face obsessed administrators, endless tests, and evil spirits when they are transferred to Whittaker Magnet School.

Presence by Eve Bunting

While visiting her grandmother in California, seventeen-year-old Catherine comes in contact with a mysterious stranger who says he can help her contact a friend who died in a car crash for which Catherine feels responsible.

Afterlife by Gary Soto

A senior at East Fresno High School lives on as a ghost after his brutal murder in the restroom of a club where he had gone to dance.

The Haunting by Joan Lowery Nixon

When her mother inherits an old plantation house in the Louisiana countryside, fifteen-year-old Lia seeks to rid it of the evil spirit that haunts it.

Kit’s Wilderness by David Almond

Thirteen-year-old Kit goes to live with his grandfather in the decaying coal mining town of Stoneygate, England, and finds both the old man and the town haunted by ghosts of the past.

Face in the Mirror by Stephanie S. Tolan

Joining his estranged father in a professional production of Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” Jared tries to cope with acting insecurities, his obnoxious half brother, and a theater ghost.

Ghosts of Kerfol by Deborah Noyes

Over the centuries, the inhabitants of author Edith Wharton’s fictional mansion, Kerfol, are haunted by the ghosts of dead dogs, fractured relationships, and the bitter taste of revenge.

Something Upstairs by Avi

When 12-year-old Kenny Huldorf moves to Providence, Rhode Island, he quickly discovers that his attic bedroom is haunted! Night after night Kenny watches as glowing smoke rises from the floor to sculpt the form of a troubled spirit. The ghost–a teenage slave named Caleb–summons Kenny back in time to correct a century-old injustice. Kenny soon finds that his fate is entangled with Caleb’s murder. Will he be able to right the wrong? Or will he remain forever trapped in history?

Morpheus Road by D.J. MacHale

Sixteen-year-old Marshall Seaver is expecting a boring summer when his best friend goes away, but instead he finds himself haunted–and hunted–by ghosts that want something from him which he cannot decipher.

Deception by Lee Nichols

When seventeen-year-old Emma’s antique-collector parents vanish and her brother’s college roommate shows up to become her guardian, he takes her from San Francisco to Boston, where she discovers that she is a powerful “ghostkeeper,” which both explains troubling incidents from her past and presents difficult new dilemmas.

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

After dying, high school senior Charlotte Usher is as invisible to nearly everyone as she always felt, but despite what she learns in a sort of alternative high school for dead teens, she clings to life while seeking a way to go to the Fall Ball with the boy of her dreams.

Darkest Power series by Kelley Armstrong

After fifteen-year-old Chloe starts seeing ghosts and is sent to Lyle House, a mysterious group home for mentally disturbed teenagers, she soon discovers that neither Lyle House nor its inhabitants are exactly what they seem, and that she and her new friends are in danger.

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

Fifteen-year-old Tiffany Aching, the witch of the Chalk, seeks her place amid a troublesome populace and tries to control the ill-behaved, six-inch-high Wee Free Men who follow her as she faces an ancient evil that agitates against witches.

A Banquet of Hungry Ghosts by Ying Chang Comptestine

Presents and eight-course banquet of ghost stories centering around Chinese cooking and culture. Each story is followed by a recipe and historical notes.

Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigliani

When fourteen-year-old Viola is sent from her beloved Brooklyn to boarding school in Indiana for ninth grade, she overcomes her initial reservations as she makes friends with her roommates, goes on a real date, and uses the unsettling ghost she keeps seeing as the subject of a short film–her first.

Look for Me by Moonlight by Mary Downing Hahn

While staying at the remote and reputedly haunted Maine inn run by her father and pregnant stepmother, sixteen-year-old Cynda feels increasingly isolated from her father’s new family and finds solace in the attentions of a charming but mysterious guest.

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

Ava can’t see or touch him, unless she’s dreaming. She can’t hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she’s crazy, but she knows he’s here. Jackson. The boy Ava thought she’d spend the rest of her life with. He’s back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds

The Entertainer and the Dybbuk by Sid Fleischman

A struggling American ventriloquist in post-World War II Europe is possessed by the mischievous spirit of a young Jewish boy killed in the Holocaust.

The Invisible by Mats Wahl

A Swedish teenager is assaulted and killed, but returns as a ghost to find his killer.

Jane Emily by Patricia Clapp

Two stories of the supernatural feature a teenager and her orphaned niece who become involved with a malicious ghost, and a retelling of the story of the Salem Witch Trials from the perspective of one of the girls thought to be possessed.

Blue Girl by Charles de Lint

New at her high school, Imogene enlists the help of her introverted friend Maxine and the ghost of a boy who haunts the school after receiving warnings through her dreams that soul-eaters are threatening her life.

Unresolved by T.K. Welsh

In 1904 New York City, the spirit of a deceased German American teenage girl searches for the person responsible for the Slocum steamboat fire that claimed her life and the lives of more than 1000 other passengers.

Old Favorite: Among the Dolls

Author William Sleator died last week.  He was probably  most known for his science fiction  books for teens, but he also wrote a Newbury-award winning picture book and several books for younger readers.  One of his books–Blackbriar–was already featured in our blog as an Old Favorite, but many others also hold fond memories for readers of all ages.

House of Stairs, Run, Interstellar Pig, Into the Dream…all were on my personal “old favorites”  list.  When trying to decide on one for this entry, one title stood out.  Among the Dolls.  Why? Because it has to be  one of the creepiest mystery books I ever read!

* * *

Vicky wants–really, really wants–a ten-speed bike for her birthday.  Unfortunately, her parents haven’t listened to her broad hints for a birthday gift, so what she gets is an antique dollhouse. Vicky almost cries at the sight. The dolls in the dollhouse are old and musty, just like the house and the furniture. As far as she can tell, there’s absolutely nothing appealing about the whole situation. Even buying the ugliest, most modern doll she can find and adding him to the doll family doesn’t make her happy.

When school starts, Vicky’s unhappiness increases. Her mother, who plays the piano for a living,  breaks her hand, and in her frustration starts arguing with Vicky’s father. Things at home just get worse and worse. Because she’s miserable, Vicky takes out her unhappiness on the dolls, making them fight among themselves.  She sends the doll children to bed without any supper, and has the parents argue about everything.

One afternoon Vicky becomes dizzy. When she blinks, she  finds herself inside the dollhouse, the same size as the dolls!  Surrounded by the dollhouse family, small and helpless, Vicky finds herself at their mercy. And guess what? The family members are not feeling very merciful; every single one of them seems to be  very angry with her for what she has put them through. They have become the monsters she created.

But maybe not EVERY single family member. Vicky discovers she has one secret ally–Dandaroo, the modern baby boy doll she added to the house. But will his help be enough?  Vicky must survive the doll family’s revenge and find a way out of the dollhouse, before she is trapped forever.

* * *

Originally published in 1975, this was William Sleator’s fifth book. The illustrations,by Trina Schart Hyman are in keeping with the ominous atmosphere of the story; showing a dollhouse family that look like dolls but that are also quite frightening.  As an example, the father doll’s face is worn off and the girl doll is partially melted from being left (by Vicky) in the sun too long.

Among the Dolls is a very short book–only 70 pages, but there’s a lot packed into those pages!  It’s also one of the creepiest books I remember reading; something that’s a bit amazing considering his later books feature underground beasts, kids who fall in radioactive poison, and aliens coming to Earth to play a game with teenagers as their game pieces!

Many readers remember Among the Dolls…well, if not fondly, definitely vividly. It comes up pretty frequently on stumper lists as a book people try to find to reread as adults.  It’s a probably written on a third grade level, but because of the subject matter, best for fourth or fifth graders. It is also a good story to read aloud, if just to talk about how listeners felt about it.

So if you want a short, scary book that will stick with you, try Among the Dolls. Just don’t read it with an antique dollhouse in the room!


Old Favorites…or not

Today was supposed to be the last Scary Old Favorite for October, in honor of Halloween.

The plan had been to talk about Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, by Alvin Schwartz.  Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and the two sequels–More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones–are three of the best collections of creepy, funny, and just plain frightening ghost stories. They’re absolutely perfect to read under your covers with a flashlight at night.  The stories were collected from all over the world, and I’m sure everyone who has been to camp and sat around a campfire listening to (or telling!) ghost stories knows  and has been scared by at least one of them.  You probably have read the easy reader adaptation In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories, a classic in the I Can Read series, which is still one of our most popular books, especially around this time of year.

The original Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book was published in 1981, and was  reprinted just this summer with new illustrations.  I loved the original Stephen Gammell illustrations, but Brett Helquist’s new pictures are wonderful too.

But “Why”, do you ask,  am I not reviewing them now?  Because they’re all checked out!  I can remember only one story clearly–Bloody Fingers, and I’m pretty sure The Golden Arm was in one of the later volumes. But without the books in front of me, it’s impossible to say more than “read any of the Scary Stories books, and you’ll be scared.”

Not really very descriptive.  But do read one  of these titles. You may be up all night shivering, but you won’t forget the experience!

* * *

With my first choice unavailable, I thought I’d pick a YA book that scared me…Blackbriar, by William Sleator.  It’s the story of Danny, a teenage boy who moves to the English countryside with his guardian. The house she bought is in the middle of nowhere, and right from the beginning, Danny is creeped out by the place. At night, it gets worse, with the sounds of people screaming in the basement, and mysterious figures running around in the gardens. Danny thinks he can handle it, but once they find out where he’s living, no one at school will even look at him, let alone talk to him.

Danny does make friends with one girl, Lark, who says she’s not afraid of the house.  She does tell him that it used to be a plague house, where people suffering from the Black Death were quarantined until they died. But Lark knows something else about that house, something more recent, that Danny doesn’t. And if she doesn’t tell him, he may not survive to see his next birthday.

Blackbriar was originally written in 1972, and I probably read it in 7th grade. It scared me out of my wits, especially when I found out exactly what was going on in that lonely cottage, isolated from town.  But in order to give a better review, I need to reread the book and have it in front of me…and the library’s copy is lost. I have reordered it, but in the meantime, no book to refer to.  *sigh*

* * *

So then I thought maybe I’ll write about  Prisoner of Vampires, by Nancy Garden.  It’s checked out.  Okay, so  The Silver Crown by Robert C. O’Brien. Also checked out. Fingers by William Sleator.  I couldn’t find it. The writer who really creeped me out–Stephen King–is probably a little too old for this blog.

Ack!  Are you sensing a trend here?  Every “Old Favorite” creepy story I  wanted to talk about is either out, missing or in some way unavailable!  I guess that’s what happens when October rolls around.


So anyway, if you want another scary old favorite,  try one of the books listed in this entry (even if they weren’t the best write-ups)  or go back to either the Haunted House or  Ghosts! Booklists  posted earlier this year for more current suggestions if you’d like to find something spooky to read on Halloween weekend. Just remember after reading to lock your windows and put a clove of garlic by the bed, just in case…


Teens: All types of Halloween Reads

Girls who are witches, a traveling freak show, goofy stories, missing persons, spooky short stories, the undead, monsters, down right horror… a little something for everyone!

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Through twists and turns of fate, orphaned Mary seeks knowledge of life, love, and especially what lies beyond her walled village and the surrounding forest, where dwell the unconsecrated, aggressive flesh-eating people who were once dead.

Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan

Two boys who are best friends visit an illegal freak show, where an encounter with a vampire and a deadly spider forces them to make life-changing choices.

The Demonata by Darren Shan

Presumably the only witness to the horrific and bloody murder of his entire family, a teenage boy must outwit not only the mental health professionals determined to cure his delusion, but also the demonic forces only he can see.

The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum Ucci

Torey Adams, a high school junior with a seemingly perfect life, struggles with doubts and questions surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the class outcast.

Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

Suspicious and uneasy about the atmosphere at her new boarding school, fourteen-year-old Kit slowly realizes why she and the other three students at the school were selected.

I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan

Four teenagers who have desperately tried to conceal their responsibility for a hit-and-run accident are pursued by a mystery person seeking revenge.

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding

As Thaniel, a wych-hunter, and Cathaline, his friend and mentor, try to rid the alleys of London’s Old Quarter of the terrible creatures that infest them, their lives become entwined with that of a woman who may be either mad or possessed.

Boy in the Burning House by Tim Wynne-Jones

Trying to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance from their rural Canadian community, fourteen-year-old Jim gets help from the disturbed Ruth Rose, who suspects her stepfather, a local pastor.

Gothic: Ten Original Dark Tales edited by Deborah Noyes

Drawing on dark fantasy and the fairy tale as well as horror and wild humor, ten acclaimed authors pay homage to the gothic tale in wide-ranging stories of the supernatural and surreal.

Up All Night: A Short Story Collection

Presents five short stories about teens who stay up all night, written by award-winning authors.

Possessed by Kate Cann

Sixteen-year-old Rayne escapes London, her mother, and boyfriend for a job in the country at Morton’s Keep, where she is drawn to a mysterious clique and its leader, St. John, but puzzles over whether the growing evil she senses is from the manor house or her new friends.

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

In 1888, twelve-year-old Will Henry chronicles his apprenticeship with Dr. Warthrop, a New England scientist who hunts and studies real-life monsters, as they discover and attempt to destroy a pod of Anthropophagi.

Witch and Curse by Nancy Holder

Holly, Amanda, and Nicole are about to be launched into a dark legacy of witches, secrets, and alliances, where ancient magics yield dangerous results. The girls will assume their roles in an intergenerational feud beyond their wildest imaginations, and in doing so, will attempt to fulfill their shared destiny.

Evernight by Claudia Gray

Sixteen-year-old Bianca, a new girl at the sinister Evernight boarding school, finds herself drawn to another outsider, Jared, but dark forces threaten to tear them apart and destroy Bianca’s entire world.

Shimmer by Dallas Reed

When the opening of a weird box releases a virus-like ailment that turns the citizens of a remote Colorado town into deranged and sometimes deadly maniacs, a group of high school students flees through a blizzard, struggling to survive.

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Born into a family of witches, seventeen-year-old Tamsin is raised believing that she alone lacks a magical “Talent,” but when her beautiful and powerful sister is taken by an age-old rival of the family in an attempt to change the balance of power, Tamsin discovers her true destiny.

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

When Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, she is exiled to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

Bras and Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski

Living in New York City with her mother and her younger sister, Miri, fourteen-year-old Rachel tries to persuade Miri, who has recently become a witch, to help her become popular at school and to try to stop their divorced father’s wedding.