With a year’s work of haunts, necromancy, alchemy, vampires, and ghouls backing my fiction, I’m looking forward to a vacation from paranormal as much as I am looking forward to taking a vacation from working on a horror novel. Don’t get me wrong, I love/hate getting scared, but I’ve been handling darkness for twelve months, and consequently, the longer I live in a fictitious world where the good guys don’t always win because that is the single most important takeaway of the genre, I need a break.
I believe in reading everything. As a designer professionally, I’m a student of the goddamn universe, as a writer, when I’m working on a particular genre, I tend to funnel myself into a particular classification of reading material. I look for a particular flavour and style, and I wallow in it to keep consistent. It’s a bit limiting, and eventually I begin thirsting for something different.
I stumbled upon the Kirkus list for young adult books you should read even if you’re an adult yesterday, and I’ve picked out a handful that seem appealing.
All The Things I Need to Read
The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson
I don’t often read historical fiction, but when I do, I prefer that it has voodoo. Interesting combination of elements in The Mirk and Midnight Hour. It will all hang tother nicely, or I will laugh my way through it. I’m keeping an open mind for the moment.
Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war—a war that has already claimed her twin brother.
When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy—one of the men who might have killed her own brother—and yet she’s drawn to him. But Violet isn’t Thomas’s only visitor; someone has been tending to his wounds—keeping him alive—and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn’t been out of compassion.
Against the dangers of war and ominous powers of voodoo, Violet must fight to protect her home and the people she loves.
She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
How much do I love Marcus Sedgwick? Let me count the ways. He won me over with White Crow not so long ago: a gothic horror for young adults complete with creepy houses in a town that sat on the edge of the ocean. His writing style has a distinctly British flavour. It’s crust, to the point, and loads in the detail at all the right moments.
Laureth Peak’s father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers–a skill at which she’s remarkably talented. Her secret: She is blind. But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness. She Is Not Invisible is an intricate puzzle of a novel that sheds a light on the delicate ties that bind people to each other.
The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer
I downloaded a sample off iTunes last night because I was getting antsy to start The Vigilante Poets. Very interesting narrative voice that captures adolescence with a mature edge belonging to a hyper-intellectual. I like smart teenage protagonists, especially the ones that border on prevention (maybe why I like Augustus Waters so much.) Looking forward to this book most of all.
Witty, sarcastic Ethan and his three friends decide to take down the reality TV show, For Art’s Sake, that is being filmed at their high school, the esteemed Selwyn Arts Academy, where each student is more talented than the next. While studying Ezra Pound in English class, the friends are inspired to write a vigilante long poem and distribute it to the student body, detailing the evils of For Art’s Sake. But then Luke—the creative force behind the poem and leader of the anti-show movement—becomes a contestant on the nefarious show. It’s up to Ethan, his two remaining best friends, and a heroic gerbil named Baconnaise to save their school. Along the way, they’ll discover a web of secrets and corruption involving the principal, vice principal, and even their favorite teacher.
Bonus: One Bitty Little Horror Title
So this is what happened: I was trying to woman-up and brace myself to read The Murmurings, but all the talk of mirrors and things crawling out of them is jamming my little brain into that place where it knows that “IF YOU READ THIS BOOK, YOU SHALL NOT SLEEP FOR A WEEK.” So I’ve been putting it off, and in the process of putting it off, I stumbled upon Sorrow’s Point. Do I feel that this book will be less psychologically scarring? Not necessarily.
Not all exorcists are created equal- especially those that are “marked”.
When defrocked ex-priest, Jimmy Holiday, agrees to help an old friend with his sick daughter, Lucy, Jimmy doesn’t expect the horrors that await him. Blackmoor, his friend’s new residence, rests upon the outskirts of the town of Sorrow’s Point. The mansion’s history of magic, mayhem, and death makes it almost a living thing – a haunted mansion straight out of Flowers in the Attic. Jimmy must decide if Lucy is only ill, or if the haunting of the house and her apparent possession is real.
After the house appears to affect him as well; seeing colors of magic when rooms of the house are warded by a witch and his voice taking on a power he doesn’t understand, Jimmy is met by a transient who tells him he has “the Mark”. Whatever being “marked” means, Jimmy doesn’t care. All he wants to do is help Lucy. Helping Lucy means performing the exorcism.
Jimmy knows the ceremony, but it’s belief that matters. And if a demon is using a little girl as a meatsuit, his faith had better be strong enough to kick it back to Hell. Otherwise, he might damn them both.
Got something interesting on deck? Please share in the comments. I love new books.