‘Tis the Season for Scary Stories


As the leaves turn, the weather cools, and the sun sets early my mind turns to stories that put their characters into creepy settings, encountering things both magic and mysterious. Here are some links to my recent reviews of middle grade and young adult novels that are perfect to read before Halloween.

Middle Grade:

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

The Thickety: A Path Begins by J. A. White

Grave Images by Jenny Goebel

Young Adult:

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

night gardener the     Amulet Books, May 20, 2014.

In a stolen fish cart, out of food and out of money, Molly and Kip journey toward a job they hope will save them, but the closer they get to their destination, the more vehemently the strangers they meet warn them to turn back. Unfortunately, in their desperation the children find no alternative. Soon they’re enmeshed in a nightmare world where in daytime one’s greatest wishes might just be granted, but the nights, oh, the nights are a different matter altogether.

In his dark and ominous novel, Jonathan Auxier lures readers into a Grimm’s fairy tale world. Fate holds a strong hand here, landing blow after blow on the protagonists. And they find that pursuing selfish dreams will bring nothing but trouble of the very worst kind. Fate placed the characters into this situation but it will take courage, selflessness, and ingenuity for these siblings to get themselves, and the others, out alive.

A creepy and engaging read, The Night Gardener is a compelling tale. Readers will admire Molly and Kip for their courage, ingenuity, and loyalty to each other. The fairy tale feel holds throughout the book, and the creepiness is intriguing rather than nightmare inducing. A great middle grade read.