‘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 Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Little, Brown and Company, 2013.

Tana’s the type of girl that never lets fear stop her from doing what she wants – she’s the ultimate cool customer. As cool as Tana is though, it’s her compassion that gets her into trouble, sometimes big, life-shattering trouble. She wasn’t looking for trouble when she went to the house party, she was simply looking for something fun to do, something safe from the vampires that roam at night, but when Tana wakes up the morning after she knows she’s found big time trouble. Before she really figures out what’s happened, she’s facing a vampire, an infected ex-boyfriend, and the reality that they’re all heading for the nearest Coldtown, a locked city in which vampires hold sway. The trouble is, once you’re in, it’s almost impossible for a human to stay alive and even more impossible to get out.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a vampire novel. I’m not enough of a fan of the subgenre to seek them out. Given that, I have to say I loved The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Tana, and many of the other characters, are appealing. Their adolescent schemes and vulnerabilities make them interesting and sympathetic characters. Tana especially, Tana’s personal battles had my stomach in knots. I was cheering her on equally hard for her compassion and for her brazen pluck.

You’ll love this book if you love vampire stories. If you’re not a fan of vampire stories but you like well drawn characters and great world building, this may be the one vampire novel for you. I know I’m going back for more of Holly Black’s novels and I’m also going to check out the list of vampire novels she includes in the acknowledgments. Maybe I’ve been missing out all along.