Supernaturally tinged stories have long been one of the most popular trends in the realm of teen literature (Twilight, anyone?), and it doesn’t look like it’s dying down any time soon. Thankfully, that means there are plenty of new novels to choose from for your Halloween reading stack. From a team of teenage monster hunters to a modern tale of witchy biker gangs, we’ve got the perfect book to get you in the spooky spirit.
HERE THERE BE MONSTERS
Looking for a heavy dose of girl power? Cat Winters, masterful author of dark historical novels like The Steep and Thorny Way, has crafted a spooky novel of two Van Helsing-like sisters who fight nightmarish monsters in Odd & True. Odette and Trudchen, or as they prefer, Od and Tru, live on their aunt’s Oregon farm in the 1900s. Od loves telling the younger Tru fantastical stories about magic and their monster-hunting mother—until one day, Od disappears. Two years later, Od returns with weapons and proof that her bedtime stories were far more fact than fiction. The sisters must go on the run from a haunting predator and prepare to fight the demonic beast known as the Leeds Devil. But the demons they must face aren’t all literal, and Winters’ split narratives reveal family scars from very dark places indeed.
In Kerri Maniscalo’s sequel to Stalking Jack the Ripper, young investigators Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell are still dealing with the trauma from their harrowing investigation of the notorious London killer. The two are on a train en route to Romania, hoping for some time to decompress at a prestigious academy, when their peaceful journey is interrupted by cries from an adjoining car. Audrey Rose rushes to the scene and discovers a passenger has been murdered—with a stake to the heart. Could the whispers of the return of Vlad the Impaler hold any truth? When they arrive to find their new school is housed in what used to be Dracula’s castle, the creeping dread sets in, and the vampiric murders start to pile up. Is Dracula actually real, or is this simply a copycat killer bent on terrorizing the town? Maniscalo’s Hunting for Prince Dracula is a winning historical filled with finely tuned details that’s sure to please fans of atmospheric Gothics.
BOOK OF POSSESSION
Melanie Vong is a troubled teen: She’s got some serious anger management issues, often gets into fights with her classmates and doesn’t have much luck with social interaction aside from the time she spends with her Wiccan best friend, Lara. In order to organize her overwhelming thoughts and feelings, Mel decides to follow in Lara’s footsteps and start journaling. When she goes out to buy a new diary, none of the options at the local chain store seem appealing, so she wanders into a used bookshop that just happens to specialize in occult texts. Finally Mel finds the perfect one—a mystical-looking blank book with an intricately embossed cover. She steals it, but each time she tries to put pen to paper, she can’t quite bring herself to scrawl her high school drama into such a special book. Lara suggests using it as a spellbook, or Book of Shadows, and that’s when things start to get seriously weird. New spells start appearing on pages all on their own, and it’s clear that something dark has been unleashed. A great pick for any serious horror buff, The Book of Shadows delivers some serious spooks.
START YOUR BROOMSTICKS
Looking for a bewitching fantasy with a modern twist?T ry Jennifer Rush’s refreshingly original urban fantasy, Devils & Thieves. There’s plenty to love in this action-packed story of a group known as the kindled—those imbued with magical powers—who live separate from the ordinary humans, known as drecks. Eighteen-year-old Jemmie Carmichael has powers of her own, but her unique ability to also sense magic through scent and color—which often results in splitting headaches—keeps her from doing any spell casting of her own. Further complicating her life are her lingering feelings for her best friend’s brother, Crowe Medici, who just so happens to be the leader of the powerful kindled motorcycle gang called the Black Devils. Rush revvs up the drama when Jemmie initiates a new flirtation with a member of the Deathstalkers during the annual Kindled Festival, which brings all of the rival bike gangs to her small New York town. This well-crafted love triangle, coupled with a dangerous mystery involving Jemmie’s father, makes Devils & Thieves a guaranteed page turner that’s perfect for any young reader who can’t get enough of the witchcraft trend.