YA Book Reviews by Amy
YA Book Recommendations by Amy: Ghastly Ghostly Tales
October just seems like the month to curl up with a hot beverage and read a good-spooky book. The colder air, the atmosphere of change, and everything Halloween surrounds us. The Halloween decorations are up: cue in the fake cobwebs, pumpkins, and skulls, along with all the favorite scary (and not-so-scary) movies, imaginings of awesome costumes, and so much more! It’s not a surprise why so many people love this time of year.
I love the supernatural, particularly in my reading:
Vampires, ghosts, zombies, and other paranormal creatures?
A defiant main character that is likable and must deal with these spooky happenings?
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Some of these titles are your traditional ghost stories with cemeteries, hauntings, and psychics. And others are unconventional ghosts of the past protecting and warning the living.
Get your EMF meter and check out some of my favorite stories featuring ghosts.
Open Mic Night at the Westminster Cemetery by Mary Amato
Written like a play, Lacy wakes up in a cemetery finding out that she has died, but the mystery still remains… how? She wants to look for the answers, but that seems impossible when fellow ghost, Sam, a soldier from the Civil War, tells her the rules of the dead; one rule including a need to provide entertainment. Lacy decides that she will provide an open mic night to have the other ghosts in Westminster Cemetery express themselves, but sometimes it is better to keep one’s secrets.
Check out our social media to see when we will begin reading this for Teen Reads Live!
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Will is almost positive who shot his brother dead, and he decides that he must act; revenge is the only thing on his mind, but the ‘what ifs’ keep coming through. As Will is leaving, with a gun in his pocket, he steps into the elevator not knowing that at each of the floors, the elevator will be stopped and a ghost from Will’s past will join him on his journey—long way down.
This book is written in verse and will be read in only a few sittings (or less). Jason Reynolds’ writing is beautifully haunting with so much power and emotion behind each word. The ghosts are real, they are scary, but most of all they tell a story.
The Mediator: Shadowland by Meg Cabot
Suze moves in with her mother after the death of her father. Now living in an old house with three new stepbrothers, a cute ghost from the 1800’s, and having to keep her sixth sense a secret, Suze must learn that her powers have consequences, but also could be a gift to help the ghosts to be able to move on. Part mystery, part humor: this series is a lot of fun.
This is one of my favorite series when I was a teen. Suze is such a smart and tough character that all readers can do is root for her. It may have some jokes and references that are a little dated, but the premise is still strong. There are five more books in this series and they are so short that you can easily devour it within a couple of days.
Available in Overdrive.
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
To avenge his father’s death, Cas must continue haunting ghosts and finding ways to get closure. Cas and his witch mother travel to different locations with local legends. After hearing about the fearsome Anna-Dressed-in-Blood, Cas knows who his next target is, but when Anna saves his life, he must rethink everything he knows about ghosts. Can Anna be a friendly ghost? Can Cas help her to rest?
This story has Supernatural (television show) vibes with our main character hunting ghosts. This story was very atmospheric and just perfect for this month leading up to Halloween.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gailman
Follow the tragic beginnings and curious life of Nobody Owens, a boy with no name and a graveyard as his home. After the terrifying murder of his family when he was just a baby, Nobody’s life was spared when he unknowingly escaped the wrath of The Man Called Jack by toddling down to the seemingly empty graveyard. Protected by the ghosts that live there, Nobody is saved and must live with them to remain safe. As Nobody grows up and learns about the world around him, he also has grand adventures that a normal human boy would never have.
This story has the perfect atmosphere for October! This book had me completely entranced from the very first page. Not only does the book begin with very dark- thrilling action and creepy imagery, but throughout the chapters it continually adds darkness to the atmosphere as we worry about our characters. I loved the audiobook (Neil Gailman reads it and it is fantastic)!
Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
The first in the Morganville Vampire series, Claire is a freshman at college and she has horrific experiences at the dorms, so she decides to answer a roommate ad to live at the Glass House; it is said to be haunted and the entire town seems to have a deadly secret as well. She meets her new roommates: Eve, the resident goth but a total softie, Michael the sensitive musician with a secret, and Shane, the boy with a past. Ghosts and Vampires and other paranormal creatures seem to have a hold on Morganville, but will it get a hold of Claire?
This short and sweet story (the first of 15 books!) that was definitely written during “the vampires are cool” era of YA, but I found the characters to be so likable and their relationships (romantic and platonic) to be fantastic. I just wanted to live in the Glass house with Claire, Shane, Michael, and Eve.
Thirteen Doorways and Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby
Two seemingly different stories come together in 1940’s Chicago when Frankie and her siblings are left in an orphanage after her father cannot provide for them anymore while our mysterious (and supernatural) narrator watches over her. Frankie will deal with the hard truths of life without support and comfort living in the strict and unforgiving institution during WWII. And the narrator must come to terms with her death and learn how to move on. In the stunning conclusion our narrator’s mysterious past is revealed and Frankie learns from the past several years to become the person she was meant to be.
Our narrator is a ghost, but she becomes so involved in Frankie’s life that she might as well be an angel. This is historical fiction with a supernatural twist at its best! The mystery is entertaining, and the characters are compelling. Don’t sleep on this one!