Oh, the Horror! GREAT YA books for October

What, exactly is horror?  To me, monsters come in all shapes and sizes.  They can be real or unreal.  They can be your next door neighbor or in the your closet when the lights go out.  For some reason, I can read horror, but I CANNOT watch it (Paranormal Activity scarred me for LIFE!)  Teens love terror, so here’s a great booklist with a little blurb on several books to share with them, including some throwbacks you should dig back up and some humorous horror too, for those who don’t want to truly terrifying.

38116996The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by David Hutchinson.  2019, Simon Pulse.  Dino keeps it together when he begins the task of preparing his best friend, July, for her funeral.  But then he REALLY needs to keep it together when she sits up and asks what’s going on!  Nothing can be more confusing (and smelly!) hanging out with your dead best friend and trying to figure out what’s going on.  You’ll laugh your way through this one!




35068432I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara.  2018, Harper.  This non-fiction adult book is a first hand look of the author’s life as she grew up in California in the hunting grounds during the 70’s when the Golden State Killer was loose.  She details her experience and those of the victims through primary source documents.  Not for the faint at heart.




34324484._SY475_Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer.  2018, Houghton Mifflin.  Helping your mom with her job can be satisfying, especially if you’re the one that gets to dissect them.  But when you don’t do something correctly and it’s you getting parts cut off, that’s a whole other thing, especially when your parts bring the most money in on the paranormal black market.




37506333._SY475_The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart.  2018, Viking Books.  Word of caution, do NOT mess with ancient boxes in the middle of the forest.  And whatever you do, do NOT put sacrifices in the box, make a pact and then break it!!  If you do, the evil undead will come back, not only for you, but for your town!





35926234._SY475_S.T.A.G.S by M.A Bennett.  2018, Delacorte Press.  There is nothing more scary than a group of teens who have dark and evil intents.  And what’s even scarier, is that adults ALLOW them to continue some dark family traditions to ensure they stay in control.  Nothing better than a psychological thriller with beautiful monsters!





33385217Uncanny by David Macinnis Gill.  2017, Greenwillow  Books.  Willow Jane doesn’t understand the dark power behind a old family heirloom her mother has.  She also doesn’t know the Shadowless have come back to not only retrieve the heirloom, but also to use Willow Jane to become even more powerful.  Set in modern day Boston, book captures new and old horror that only Boston can.






28367592Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics.  2016, Harlequin Teen.  Lucy’s mother has passed away, and she lives in an isolated mansion with her father, who makes himself quite absent.  But spending time in the attic has become a catalyst to dark, evil things and soon Lucy can hear scratches and voices in the wall…right behind her bed… Amy is making a name for herself in the realm of YA horror, so you MUST check out all of her books!  Daughters Unto Devils was HORRIFYING!



28962906._SY475_Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo.  2016, Jimmy Patterson Books.  There can be no truer monster than Jack the Ripper, and in this book (the first of a stand-alone series), one very headstrong girl finds herself in the same circle as the mysterious murderer…Maniscalo’s other books have her chasing the Devil in the White City and Dracula, among others (2017-2019)!




13530957THROWBACK!  The Infects by Sean Beaudoin. 2012, Candlewick.  Nothing can be more scary or hilarious than bad fried chicken, a field trip into the wilderness, and your friends turning into zombies!





90 Second Book Review: A Creepy Thriller!

37506333._sy475_I just uploaded my first (of hopefully more!) 90 second book review for this creepy thrillfest of a book!  Set in 1982, it’ll bring some feels from books you may have read in the past and definitely teens who like horror will want to read this one.  Here’s my 90 second review!

Hope you enjoy it (and if you visit my Youtube channel, I have some other interesting things for libraries/librarians on it)

Middle School Boys… UGH!

Aren’t middle school boys the worst? I mean they are almost as bad as middle school girls! LOL! But really… you know the type: they come in to the library with their arms crossed, telling everyone how much they hate to read. When they are asked to check out a book, they wander around the library (usually in groups of 3 or 4) and by the end of the class period they have blindly chosen a book off the shelf with absolutely no intent of actually read it.


However, these students are not a lost cause! When I have a student (boy or girl) inform me that they hate to read, I see it as a challenge! I usually start by asking the student about their hobbies or favorite TV shows. I try to get an idea of what the student’s interests are before suggesting books, and I always suggest more than one! Give them three options, allow them to pick a favorite. If you hand a kid one book and tell them to check it out, what happens if the kid doesn’t want that book, or ends up not liking it; your credibility has just gone down the drain and they will never ask you for another book recommendation again. I always give them a few choices and if they don’t like the one they picked then it is back on them. I also make sure the students understands it is a “no pressure” choice. If they aren’t hooked by the first thirty pages then bring it back and I can help them find a different book. I tell my students over and over the worst mistake a reader can make is forcing themselves to finish a book. If you aren’t enjoying the book you have, then you need to abandon it, get rid of it, turn it in and find a new one. Now, there are always those situations when a student thinks they can abandon every book they check out because they just don’t want to read, and that is a whole other conversation!

Now if you have accepted the challenge to help these reluctant readers find a book then I’m here to help with a few of my favorite recommendations for those boys who hate to read. These books are popular with my junior high boys and always my first go-to when it comes to recommending a book. If you know of any other books that are popular with the middle school boys, let me know and I will make sure to add them to my library collection!

Ghost (Track, #1)

Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.


Zom-B series by Darren Shan
From Darren Shan, the Master of Horror, comes the first book in the Zom-B series that will have you on the edge of your seat and questioning what it means to be a human or a monster.


I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis
History’s most exciting and terrifying events are brought to life in this fictional series. Readers will be transported by stories of amazing children and how they survived!


Vietnam and World War II series by Chris Lynch
Best friends Morris, Rudi, Ivan, and Beck, having been either drafted or enlisted in the military during the Vietnam War, pledge they will come home together, and Morris, a sailor on the USS “Boston,” relies on that promise to stay strong while his courage and resolve are tested under attack.


Shadow Squadron by Carol Bowen
Shadow Squadron hits the ground running in their first mission, operation SEA DEMON. When well-organized Somali pirates kidnap several V.I.Ps at sea, Lt. Commander Ryan Cross and his men are called upon to put these pirates down before innocent blood is shed.

Football Genius (Football Genius, #1)

Football Genius and Baseball Great series by Tim Green
Troy, a sixth-grader with an unusual gift for predicting football plays before they occur, attempts to use his ability to help his favorite team, the Atlanta Falcons, but he must first prove himself to the coach and players.


Kwame Alexander’s novels in verse (The Crossover, Rebound, Booked)
Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.

Phase One: Marvel's The Avengers

Marvel’s The Avengers series by Alex Irvine
Gathered together by S.H.I.E.L.D, Captain America, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye must protect the world from ultimate destruction. Join the action as these Super Heroes battle against Loki and his army for the fate of mankind as told in Marvel’s The Avengers.

Maximum Ride, Vol. 1 (Maximum Ride: The Manga, #1)

Maximum Ride: The Manga by James Patterson
Fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it’s like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the “flock”—Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel—are just like ordinary kids—only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any time.

The Devil Made Me Do It: YA Reads For Those Who Like Horror

Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist
Greenwillow, 2018
Glory, Texas sits in the middle of the West Texas plains.  Full of dust and hard-living, Glory isn’t a town for the weak of heart or spirit.  In fact, no place is, not after the slow plague ten years ago that turned those infected into Shakes, not quite human creatures who are always looking for their next victim.  Glory and other town are able to keep the Shakes at bay with fencing and shake-hunters, rough men who go outside the safe boundaries to hunt them down.
Willie, aka Daisy Wilcox, is trying her hardest to make ends meet for her and her family.  Willie’s mother succumbed to the infection and she isn’t sure if Mother is dead or alive.  Her father, the local drunk, is never home except to steal the hard earned money she ekes out.  But then he goes one step further.
One day, Willie’s home is approached by some very rough shake hunters who are looking for Willie’s father and the money he stole from them.  Now, it’s up to her to find her father and return the money or lives will be at stake.  With the help of two young shake-hunters, Willie must travel to the next town over…across the plain riddled with Shakes…
Once forced out, she sees the reality and horror of life outside Glory.  With only two inexperienced shake hunters and unexpected visitors, Willie isn’t sure she’ll make it to the next town.  And then….
Berquist takes the setting of the Texas plains and weaves a dystopic tale where not quite zombie-like creatures can be more terrifying than the natural predators of the plains.  This will capture the attention of those wanting more horror dystopia set within a future Western.  What makes this book even more unique is the Western aspect of the novel itself, which is hard to find in current YA fiction collections.  Recommended 7th-12th grades.
Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics
2015, Harlequin Teen
Amanda and her family have lived their lives in the woodlands.  Her father, a trapper, maintained a decent living while she and her siblings helped her mother around the house.  The last winter was a bad one for the entire family, especially her mother, but Amanda has a lot to be happy about, especially her trysts in the forest with the love of her life.
But things change.  When Amanda finds out she’s pregnant, she desperately needs to hide the fact, especially after she is shunned by the one person she thought loved her.  Her father fears another brutal winter will further hurt the health of his family.  With that in mind, he decides to move his family to the prairie lands across the mountains.  A long drive, but perhaps this is what Amanda needed….a fresh start.
The entire family makes the drive to their new homestead, where Amanda’s father was told he could pick from several abandoned houses as his own.  Things look up for the family.  They pass other homesteaders who wave in the distance to them.  Mother is doing well taking care of the baby, who can neither hear or see, and her little brother and sister, while tired, are healthy and curious.
But once they find a home, the horror begins….little does Amanda nor her family know the house they selected has a gory past, and one that will quickly rise up to greet them.
Sometimes you can’t run far or fast enough….
Talk about CREEPY.  This was definitely a page-turner where the author left a crumb trail only to lead the reader right into the edge of horror, death and hauntings.  This is truly a novel for those YA readers who absolutely love true horror, not just supernatural.  Recommended 9-12th grades

Great October Reads and Activities

CaptureHalloween is nearly upon us and it’s a good time to cuddle up with a scary book on a long night…at least for some of us.  If you know a teen who loves great horror, try these books with them.  I mixed fiction series with stand-alones; non-fiction titles that reflect horror; and even graphic novels and story collections.

The PDF can be downloaded and made into posters, as a handout or used on a website.  There are links for the books with book trailers. The pdf can be found here

And if you’re one to do activities with teens, create a murder mystery party and open the library a little later than usual.  School Library Journal also has a great online article that feature Halloween programs for K-12

However your celebrate October, have fun and let readers know all holidays and seasons are a great time to start reading!