Halloween is my favorite time of year (yes, it’s a time of year for me, just like fall or summer!), and one of the reasons that I love it so much is that I spend the month dedicated to the spooky and macabre.
One of my Halloween highlights this year was a trip over to one of the most haunted places in the world, the Winchester House, for their infamous flashlight tour. I wore a glow in the dark cat shirt, because why not?, which turned out to be a huge mistake since I was a light-up target for everything that goes bump in the night. To be fair, most of those things were actors—but you never know…
Like every Halloween season, I dedicated time to reading some new spooktastic books. Sad fact though: I’m a huge wimp. Like, almost everything is 2spooky4me. This probably sounds odd, since I love Halloween so much, but what I love is the sad ghosts, the misunderstood monsters, the well-meaning witches.
I love scary, but a certain type of scary—the kind that is more spooky than slasher. So I tend to gravitate towards middle grade and young adult books for my thrills, because not only are they less grotesque, but honestly, they’re often more creative and well written than adult horror novels.
Last year I made a list of some of my favorite spooky reads, and now I’m happy to share with you a spooktacular part 2—more MG and YA books that you can devour them like the insatiable reader ghosts that you are.
The set-up of this MG novel is perfect--a lonely and angry girl is forced to move into a decrepit theater with her somewhat estranged father and kooky scarf-loving grandmother. Soon a telepathic black cat enters, the ghostly chaos ensues, and the journey begins for the reader.
Overall this was a fun and spooky book. I love that the protagonist was a strong girl who frequently solves the puzzles on her own, but is smart enough to know when to ask for help. I love that books like this exist for young girls to read.
I love pictures in books, especially when they’re well done, like the creeptastic images in “Asylum.” Pictures feel like little treasures you get to uncover after you turn a page, falling deeper into the book. Although, in this book many of these pictures were more like terrors than treasures, and more than once I had to snap the book shut because I was so freaked out!
Asylum uses pictures perfectly, but doesn’t rely on them to achieve its thrills. The plot takes care of that itself—Dan Crawford, a smart but kind of lonely kid, goes off to summer school, but it turns out the school is actually an old—you guessed it—asylum. Frightening shenanigans follow.
A fun and quick read, and I’ve already bought the sequel (which takes place in a carnival—eeek!).
If you read my first list you probably remember that I was still in the middle of reading Nightmares! (the first book in the series) when I wrote the post. So, I finished it a few days after that, and it was FANTASTIC! The perfect amount of scary and silly, while still being heartfelt and imaginative. So of course I pre-ordered the sequel.
At first I thought Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic was going to be some freaky middle grade version of the Walking Dead, but it takes the zombie concept on its own unexpected twist. I loved that, as a sequel, it didn’t just try to rehash the plot of the first book, but builded up from it, and took the characters even further. That’s pretty much all I want to say, since I don’t want to ruin the first or second books for you.
Instead of reading a hardcover copy, like the first book, I listened to the sequel on audiobook. The narrator (Jason Segel) was so energetic and fun to listen to that I highly recommend “reading” the book this way!
The one thing I’ll complain about is that the book ENDED WITHOUT A RESOLUTION. Oh, cruel, cruel books who do this. WHY? The good thing is the reader knows there will be another book, the bad thing is, I want my happy ending, dang it! I mean, there is some resolution, but I want to know the answer to the mystery!!! Le sigh. Will have to wait another year to find out, I suppose!
This might be the one time in my life I am grateful for having a cold, because now I have an excuse to lay on my couch and read this book all day!!! And when I say all day, I mean DAY, because I can’t imagine how scary this book would be to read at night.
Confession: I’m only half way through this book, but regardless, I think its pretty safe to recommend it, as so far it has both intrigued and scared the crap out of me.
Cas is a ghost killer, and Anna is a murderous ghost. A friendship between the two seems unlikely. And yet—nope, I’m not going to write what I was tempted to say, because I want you to read this one for yourself, without giving anything away. I’ll give you some of the words I was going to use though taken out of the sentence—rage, blood, revenge, complicated, relationship. There. You get the jist without me telling you what I think.
Go forth and read on, my literary minions!