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Halloween Horror Reads for Teens

30 Oct

There is no better way to get into the Halloween spirit then to borrow some Horror-themed YA reads for FREE at the Hoboken Public Library. Below are four suggested reads that are great for Halloween, Day of the Dead, and even all year round. If you like to feel the anxiety and adrenaline that comes with being a little scared and comfortable at home, CHECK OUT these awesome reads!

Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
by Gwenda Bond
Stranger Things Suspicious Minds
The hit thriller Netflix series has a prequel!!! In the series, we are familiar with curious characters like Eleven. Like most things in the series, Eleven’s past is still a mystery. This book investigates Eleven’s mother’s past and the moments that set things in motion for the original series. The author, Gwenda Bond, makes the story her own with respect to the show by introducing new characters and following along with the original story. If you are a fan of Stranger Things, this is the book for you.

For Grades: Middle and High School

Theme: Science Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Mystery, Horror

Coraline
by Neil Gaiman
Coraline
Leaving your friends and moving away is tough, and there are no siblings to bother in Caroline’s case. She is not afraid to tell her parents that it was not fair that they had to move. But her parents do not care to acknowledge it or her for that matter. She is the only kid in the building of weird neighbors like Mr. Bobo, the mouse trainer, and Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, the building’s fortune-tellers. Even they could not keep boredom away. She counted the windows and the doors to fill in time but stumbles on a small door in the wall. This door happens to open to another dimension where the “other mother” lived. The other mother was the replica of her birth mother, except she gave her the attention she craved, and she had the TWO BLACK BUTTONS for eyes. The reader can get a virtual taste of the story’s setting through the black and white illustrations sporadically throughout the book. Coraline could not wait to go through the door and hang out with her “other mother and father.” But the day came when the “other mother” asked her to stay with her at the price of letting her sew buttons into Coraline’s eyes. Coraline escapes, the other mother is not happy, and kidnaps her birth parents. What can Coraline do now?  You can also borrow the movie adaptation.  You can also check out a previous post about Neil Gaiman here.

Grades: Middle and High School

Theme: Paranormal, Horror, Graphic Novels

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
In Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenJacob grew up listening to his grandfather, Abraham’s, stories. He told stories of surviving monsters of human and mystical forms during World War II. Jacob always looked up to him, but as he grew into a teenager, he started to doubt his grandfather’s stories where true. When his grandfather is found brutally murdered, he ventures out to the island setting of his grandfather’s stories to find out more about him and his death. He stumbles upon to an orphanage of children with peculiar abilities. There is a boy with bees in of him and a floating girl which are displayed in old fashioned style pictures throughout the book. Little did he know was that his presence made the children valuable to the murderous monster’s that lark in the shadows.  A movie adaptation is also available.

Grades: Middle and High School

Theme: Orphanages, Mystery, Supernatural, Monsters

Thornhill
by Pam Smy
Thornhill
The Thornhill orphanage intertwines the lives of two girls. Mary was a mistreated orphan of Thornhill 35 years before Ella moved into the neighborhood. How do they connect all those years apart? The secret is a diary and dolls! In this book of traditional text and haunting grayscale illustrations, the reader cannot help but wonder what became of Mary and if she wants Ella to join her.

Grades: Middle and High School

Theme: Bullying, Orphanages, Ghosts, Supernatural

By Elbie A. Love
Young Adult Library Associate

Want more Halloween suggestions?  Check out our Halloween Urban Fantasy post and favorite Horror movies.

 

Gone Girl and Lost Girls: Two Tales of Six Girls

1 Sep

I recently realized that two books I read this summer were from different genres but similar as they were both about missing women: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (fiction) and Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker (nonfiction).

***

You may have already heard of Gone Girl. This popular thriller by Gillian Flynn topped many best-of lists last year. I happened upon a copy while shelving and grabbed it since it’s been so popular. Reese Witherspoon’s production company is adapting the story into a movie starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

gone-girl

The Girl that’s Gone is Amy Elliott Dunne, who mysteriously disappears from her home the morning of her fifth wedding anniversary. This book has two alternating narrators–her husband Nick and Amy, via journal entries, which I think is an interesting device. Which narrator should the reader trust? Who is telling the truth?

After Nick and Amy lost their jobs during the recession, they moved from Brooklyn to Nick’s hometown of North Carthage, Missouri. Their relationship becomes strained as Amy, a native New Yorker, is a fish out of water in the Midwest while Nick easily assimilates.

Nick is the main suspect after Amy goes missing, which rocks the small town and immediately becomes a national news. Nick maintains his innocence despite everyone’s suspicions–his only ally is his twin sister Margo–and works to find other suspects in Amy’s disappearance. Will Nick clear his name? What happened to Amy?

***

Lost Girls is an impeccably reported true crime story about the disappearances of five women that worked as escorts. I read an interview with Kolker on Gawker, and was intrigued by this book.

lost-girls

The book begins with Shannan Gilbert’s disappearance from a home in Oak Beach, a secluded community on the south shore of Long Island. The local police force’s reluctant search for her eventually led to the discovery of four other women believed to be victims of a still-at-large serial killer targeting sex workers that advertise online through Craigslist and Backpage.

Lost Girls has two parts. Book 1 devotes two chapters to each woman’s background and her time as an escort up to her disappearance. Book 2 discusses theories about the identity of the women’s killer, and how the victims’ families have banded together, which Kolker first wrote about for New York magazine.

This book’s interior design felt interactive. Maps marking each woman’s home town and when she arrived in the New York City area precede each chapter. A timeline, a list of characters, and additional maps in the back of the book help readers keep up with all the details.

***

There are definitely some suspenseful moments in Gone Girl that grabbed my attention, but ultimately the book came up short for me. Flynn does an excellent job of spinning a twisted tale and describing the bleak, recession-ravaged Missouri town where Nick and Amy live. I don’t recommend Gone Girl but won’t discourage anyone from reading it, so they can draw their own conclusions*.

I don’t recall much about the original cases on which Lost Girls are based, but found the presentation of the stories and details so compelling. Kolker spent a lot of time with the women’s families and friends and wrote thoughtfully about the five women. Most notably, he neither passed judgement on their decisions to work as escorts nor blamed them for their deaths.

To me, Lost Girls is a better book. I’ve recommended it to friends and family since finishing it. By no means is it a happy story (these women had tough lives), but I found it engaging. I empathized with the families and their losses. At parts I was furious about the complacency shown by the police departments investigating the disappearances.

Gone Girl made me angry for different reasons. One was the ending, which I found unsatisfying. Also, I found most of the characters unlikable. Amy and Nick are written as such terrible people and they deserve each other.

If you read (or have read) either Gone Girl or Lost Girls (or both!) let me know what you think in the comments, or at hobkref@bccls.org.

What books have you read this summer that you liked? Did you read anything you didn’t like?

-Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian.

*According to Book Riot, I am not the only reader that didn’t enjoy Gone Girl.

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