It’s getting more and more frightening out there with ghosts, zombies and witches roaming about as Halloween approaches. Perhaps a you’d like a little diversity in your hauntings! Here are a few YA selections of fright that have been written over the past few years.
City of Death by Sarwat Chadda (Arther A. Levine Books) 1 of two books in series. Meet Ash Mistry: eighth grader, pretty good video gamer, guy with a massive crush on the beautiful Gemma . . .
Oh, and the Eternal Warrior of the death goddess Kali.
Just when Ash has settled back into his everyday London life, his friend Parvati arrives with a mission: The evil Lord Alexander Savage is plotting to steal the Koh-I-Noor diamond from England’s crown jewels. Ash and Parvati manage to intercept it, but at a terrible price-Gemma’s death.
Outcast and heartbroken, Ash returns with Parvati to India, where he meets up with old friends and develops new powers. But he’s haunted by Gemma, by thoughts of revenge against Savage, and by horrifying, blood-soaked dreams. As he hunts Savage all the way to an astonishing, long-hidden kingdom, Ash must face the prospect that he may no longer be entirely human . . . and his warrior side may lie beyond his control.
Feral Nights by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick) 1 of 3 books in a series. When sexy, free-spirited werecat Yoshi tracks his sister, Ruby, to Austin, he discovers that she is not only MIA, but also the key suspect in a murder investigation. Meanwhile, werepossum Clyde and human Aimee have set out to do a little detective work of their own, sworn to avenge the brutal killing of werearmadillo pal Travis. When all three seekers are snared in an underground kidnapping ring, they end up on a remote island inhabited by an unusual (even by shifter standards) species and its cult of worshippers. Their hosts harbor a grim secret: staging high-profile safaris for wealthy patrons with evil pedigrees, which means that at least one newcomer to the island is about to be hunted. As both wereprey and werepredator fight to stay alive, it’s up to mild-mannered Clyde — a perennial sidekick — to summon the hero within. Can he surprise even himself?
The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco (Sourcebooks Fire) Okiku is a lonely soul. She has wandered the world for centuries, freeing the spirits of the murdered-dead. Once a victim herself, she now takes the lives of killers with the vengeance they’re due. But releasing innocent ghosts from their ethereal tethers does not bring Okiku peace. Still she drifts on.
Such is her existence, until she meets Tark. Evil writhes beneath the moody teen’s skin, trapped by a series of intricate tattoos. While his neighbors fear him, Okiku knows the boy is not a monster. Tark needs to be freed from the malevolence that clings to him. There’s just one problem: if the demon dies, so does its host.
Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith (HMH Books for Young Readers) Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can’t seem to cast a simple spell.
Then a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, and Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger’s black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him. He’ll just need to learn how to conjure first.
Set amid the swamps, red soil, and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s, Hoodoo is infused with a big dose of creepiness leavened with gentle humor.
In to the Dak Wise by Neesha Meminter (Ignite Books) Time traveling Parminder–a.k.a. Pammi–must stop a power-hungry Able from the future from destroying the ancient city she visits, where Ables like her live freely. If she is unable to stop him, the city of Zanum vanishes forever, taking Pammi and all other Ables with it.
The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste (Algonquin) Corinne La Mer claims she isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They’re just tricksters made up by parents to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest, and shining yellow eyes follow her to the edge of the trees. They couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they? When Corinne spots a beautiful stranger at the market the very next day, she knows something extraordinary is about to happen. When this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, danger is in the air. Severine plans to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and learn to use ancient magic she didn’t know she possessed to stop Severine and to save her island home.
Manifest by Artist Author (Kimani Tru) Book 1 in a series of 4. When fifteen-year-old Krystal Bentley moves to Lincoln, Connecticut, her mom’s hometown, she assumes her biggest drama will be adjusting to the burbs after living in New York City.
But Lincoln is nothing like Krystal imagined. The weirdness begins when Ricky Watson starts confiding in her. He’s cute, funny, a good listener—and everything she’d ever want—except that he was killed nearly a year ago. Krystal’s ghost-whispering talents soon lead other “freaks” to her door—Sasha, a rich girl who can literally disappear, and Jake, who moves objects with his mind. All three share a distinctive birthmark in the shape of an Mand, fittingly, call themselves the Mystyx. They set out to learn what really happened to Ricky, only to realize that they aren’t the only ones with mysterious powers. But if Krystal succeeds in finding out the truth about Ricky’s death, will she lose him for good?
Night Wanderer by Drew Hayden Taylor and Michael Wyatt (Annick Press) A mesmerizing blend of vampire thriller and coming-of-age story—now available as a graphic novel. Newcomers to the Otter Lake native reserve don’t go unnoticed for long. So it’s no surprise that 16-year-old Tiffany’s curiosity is piqued when her father rents out her room to a complete stranger. But little do Tiffany, her father, or even her insightful Granny Ruth suspect the truth about their guest. The mysterious Pierre L’Errant has a dreadful secret. After centuries roaming Europe as a brooding vampire, he has returned home to reclaim his Native roots before facing the rising sun and certain death. Meanwhile, Tiffany is deeply troubled—she doubts her boyfriend is being faithful, has escalating disputes with her father, and her estranged mother is starting a new life with somebody else. Fed up and heartsick, Tiffany threatens drastic measures and flees into the bush. There, in the midnight woods, a chilling encounter with L’Errant changes everything as Pierre introduces Tiffany to her proud Native heritage. For Pierre, though, destiny is fixed at sunrise. In this stunning graphic version of the award-winning novel first developed as a play in 1992, artist Mike Wyatt brings a brilliant story to visual life.
Pemba’s Song by Marilyn Nelson and Tonya C. Hegamin (Scholastic) Pemba, an African-American teen, doesn’t want to make the move from Brooklyn to Connecticut no matter how rosy a picture her mother tries to paint. As soon as she sees her new home, she knows something isn’t right. At first, she thinks she’s imagining things, like the strange mirror that reflects the image of an 18th-century girl. But then the blackouts begin. During them Pemba sees Phyllys, a slave who lived in the house centuries before. Something horrible happened to her all those years ago and now she needs Pemba’s help. Working with Abraham, an eccentric old man who lives nearby, Pemba must uncover the girl’s story to finally put her to rest. Told through alternating chapters, poetry, and journal entries, this title is sure to appeal to fans of ghost stories as well as historical fiction. There are few ghost stories featuring African-American teens and fewer still that are as well written and interesting as this one. With its brevity, it will make an excellent choice for reluctant readers as well.
Ship of Souls by Zetta Elliott (Rosetta Press) When Dmitri, an 11-year-old bird watcher and math whiz, loses his mother to breast cancer, he is taken in by Mrs. Martin, an elderly white woman. Unaccustomed to the company of kids his own age, D struggles at school and feels like an outcast until a series of unexpected events changes the course of his life.
First, D is asked to tutor the school’s basketball star, Hakeem, who will get benched unless his grades improve. Against the odds, the two boys soon realize they have something in common: they are both taunted by kids at school, and they both have a crush on Nyla, a beautiful but fierce eighth-grade girl. Then Nyla adopts D and invites him to join her entourage of “freaks.” Finally, D discovers an injured bird and brings it home from the park.
D is stunned when the strange bird speaks to him and reveals that she is really a guiding spirit that has been held hostage by ghost soldiers who died in Brooklyn at the start of the American Revolution. As Nuru’s chosen host, D must carry her from Brooklyn to the African Burial Ground in lower Manhattan, but the ghost soldiers won’t surrender their prize without a fight.
With the help of Hakeem and Nyla, D battles the Nether Beings who lurk underground, feeding off centuries of rage and pain. But it takes an unexpected ally to help the trio reach the ship that will deliver the innocent souls of the dead back to Nuru’s realm. An urban fantasy infused with contemporary issues and historical facts, Ship of Souls will keep teen readers gripped until the very end.
Shutter by Courtney Alameda (Feiwel & Friends) Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat — a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.
When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.
Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves. (Simon Pulse) Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.
It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities….
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves (Simon Pulse) Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna’s tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.
But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she’s far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.
I miss Dia Reeves’ books!
COMING IN 2018!
Dread Nation by Justine Ireland (Balzer + Bray) Jane McKeene was born two days beforethe dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.
In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.
But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.
But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose.
But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies.
And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.