Title: Thirteen Chairs
Author: Dave Shelton
Summary: Jack has always been a curious boy. He has always been drawn to the abandoned house in his neighborhood and one night, when he discovers that it is lit from within, he finally summons the courage to step inside. What Jack finds surprises him: thirteen candles, thirteen chairs, and twelve very different people who have gathered to share their stories. The thirteenth chair is for Jack. As each speaker concludes their tale, they blow out their candle and the room grows darker…and Jack must wait his turn.
These short stories are perfect for the spooky season – full of chills and surprise twists and turns. This is a great introduction to horror and ghost stories for younger readers who are interested in this genre. Just don’t read these tales before you go to bed for the night!
Who will like this book?: Fans of short stories. Fans of ghost stories. Readers who like tales that are creepy, but not ‘can-never-sleep-again’ terrifying.
If you like this, try this: The Ghosts of Kerfol by Deborah Noyes. M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman. If you want something even more horrific, mature readers can check out Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, edited by April Genevieve Tucholke.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian
Title: Archivist Wasp
Author: Nicole Kornher-Stace
Summary: Wasp was chosen by the goddess Catchkeep to become an Archivist – the person who will protect her desolate village from the hordes of wordless, mindless ghosts that swarm just outside the walls. In order to maintain her position, she must battle – and kill – the three Upstarts who challenge her each year. Wasp is weary of her work, her isolation from the others in her town, the barely-contained hatred of the Upstarts who want to see her fall, and most of all, the abusive mind games of the Catchkeep priest who she reports to. She has a rebellious nature – while she is supposed to catch and destroy ghosts, she finds herself fascinated by them and takes her other responsibility – to study and learn more about them, as seriously as the first.
After a brutal near-defeat at the hands of the latest batch of Upstarts, Wasp goes hunting and makes a startling discovery: She meets a ghost who can communicate with her. He is unlike any other ghost she has encountered – physically strong, mentally aware and very, very persistent. This ghost needs her help. And so begins an incredible, sometimes brutal story about what it means to be a good person, the nature of friendship versus self-reliance, and the potential benefits of breaking all the rules. While this is technically a dystopian story, it has a timeless, almost fairy tale-feeling about it. This impressive novel will leave you with a lot to think about.
Who will like this book?: Mature readers of fantasy who like ‘otherworldly’ tales. Fans of strong, smart female characters. Anyone who likes books that keep revealing details on how they work as you read them.
If you like this, try this: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan. For mature readers, What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian
Title: Paper Valentine
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Summary: Hannah just wants things to go back to normal. She wants to enjoy the summer, hang out with friends, and maybe even talk to the brawny, delinquent, possibly not-to-bright but surprisingly kind cute, Finny Boone. But how can anything ever be normal again when your best friend dies? Lillian died six months ago, but she’s not gone…at least not for Hannah. Hannah sees Lillian everywhere, in her room, at the mall, even at her job at the local photo developing place. She’s haunted by Lillian, not just the thought of her, but the actual nagging specter of her friend.
Then the murders start happening and Hannah’s small-town becomes locked down with fear. Young girls are being murdered and the biggest clue police seem to have is a paper heart left at each crime scene. Hannah finds herself drawn into the mystery by her ghostly friend and soon realizes that she may be the only one who can stop the killing.
Who will like this?: At its heart, this is a mystery but there is also a bit of romance, a fair amount of friendship and fighting, and of course the paranormal (it is a ghost story after all.)
If you like this, try this: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender, Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol.
Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian
Title: The Ghosts of Kerfol
Author: Deborah Noyes
Summary: Just in time for Halloween, this elegant collection of gothic stories based on a classic will chill you to the bone. In Edith Wharton’s original story, Kerfol, a cruel lord falls to his death and his much-younger bride is put on trial for murder. But she insists her abusive husband was killed by dogs – or the ghosts of the many dogs the man killed in order to keep his wife from having any hint of affection in her life. Author Deborah Noyes builds on this tale with five short stories about the haunted mansion, and the ghostly spirits who inhabit it.
As the book progresses, we meet a young maid who was a witness to the original horrors of Kerfol, a young nobleman who has survived the French Revolution, a young American heiress, a couple on the rocks, and a deaf Irish gardener. Each has their own experience with the ghosts of Kerfol, and not all of them survive their hauntings.
Who will like this book?: Fans of ghost stories and short fiction with dark twists and turns.
If you like this, you should try: Noyes is also a terrific editor: Check out Gothic: Ten Original Dark Tales and The Restless Dead: Ten Original Stories of the Supernatural. If you loved the elegant writing of this book, try a classic by Edith Wharton, particularly my favorite, The House of Mirth.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian
Title: The Summoning
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Summary: Chloe could see ghosts since she was a little kid. Now she’s 15, living with her Aunt and being raised by her absent father and housemaid. When she sees a ghost in school and fights with a teacher, she’s sent to the Lyle House–an institute for teens with ‘mental illnesses’. But Chloe quickly realizes that there’s nothing mentally ill about these kids. But when you’re forced to take ‘medicine’ everyday, blocked from outside contact, and staying in the room next to the girl who hates your guts, it’s just better to go with the flow. Or at least, Chloe though. As her stay gets longer and her ‘condition’ worsens, she finds herself making new allies in unlikely places in order to find out the secret behind the Lyle house.
Who will like this book?: With the undead and magic themed books starting to take control of the bestseller lists, this is a nice mystery story that takes a different path. It’s a more laid-back read, but you can’t be squeamish about dying things or blood or be too paranoid. It’s also a bit harsh on people who are schizophrenic, pyromaniacs, or have other such ‘mental’ illnesses. Vampires are mentioned only twice.
If you like this, you should try: The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyers, the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson, Deep Secret by Dianna Wynne Jones, and the Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix.
Recommended by: ZZ, resident of Fairfield and avid reader.
Author: Tonya Hurley
Summary: Charlotte Usher’s made a vow – this is going to be her year. She’s going to tryout for cheerleading and get the guy of her dreams. Her plan can’t fail, after all she’s been laboring over it all summer. Gone with invisible Charlotte– “Hello” to popular Charlotte. Unfortunately for Charlotte, all her effort is wasted when she chokes on a gummy bear and dies the first day back to school. However, Charlotte is not a quitter and she’s not about to let a little thing like death keep her from getting her dream guy to fall in love with her and her first kiss. And, if being dead weren’t bad enough, poor Charlotte still has to finish high school. Only now her classmates consist of other kids who have died before her and graduation will take a team effort.
Who will like this book?: Fans of dark satirical writing, humorous ghost stories, and those who see the humor in high school popularity “contests.” For those who are attracted to books with amazing covers, I have to say that this is one of the best cover designs I have ever seen. It’s worth taking a look at this book just for the cover.
If you like this, try this: Generation Dead by Daniel Waters. Zombie Blondes by Brian James.
Recommended by: Jen, Woods Teen Librarian