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For those who enjoy a spooky tale, we have scary stories galore. From cute little ghosts for younger readers to truly terrifying reads for teenagers, you can find a wide selection of books in this section.
A moving, compelling and spooky YA romance. Fifteen-year-old Maggie is in foster care following the death of her mother and her grandmother's slip into dementia. When Ryder saves her life, she can't help but fall in love with him. The only problem is that he has been dead for five years... Unsentimental, passionate and immensely moving, The Wanderer takes a fresh look at first love and growing up.
A November 2021 Star Book! | Reeling with high-stakes adventure, Shadow Town smoulders with big themes delivered in engaging style. There’s something Neil Gaiman-esque about the tone and matter of fact delivery, with emotional forces simmering, barely contained, beneath the surface. This masterful sparseness creates tremendous tension throughout Shadow Town’s classic quest to return home, with Toto here taking the form of Alfred the cat, and Dorothy manifested as Toby, a lonely, unhappy boy from suburban London who finds himself pulled into an alternate world during the upheaval of his parent’s impending divorce. Toby’s dad is an unkind grump, embittered by his lot in the world, and consumed by the fantasy novel he’s been writing since before Toby was born. Toby’s mum is a climate activist. Neither parent really pays him any attention, and his sole friends are their lodger and her cat, Alfred. Toby’s miserable lot is shaken up when a shadow appears in his garden and his dreams, and he finds himself transported to a strange land, where elemental forces (blazing fires, floods and earthquakes) are at play in a kingdom ruled by a tyrant. A realm in which Dreamers can envision things into existence. Here Toby meets otherworldly, ethereal Tamurlaine. As he helps recover her memory (cue a succession of unexpected, shocking revelations), and helps others along the way too, Toby shows his true self through taking responsibility and looking out for those who are weaker than him, and through fixing things rather than settling for the status quo. Alongside exploring themes of self-determination and forging your own path, rather than treading the one that’s expected of you, Shadow Town’s fantasy world is an allegory of Toby’s life in the real world, and also a kind of political allegory - “The Dreamers dream what the government tells them to. What the government wants. And the Regent is head of the government. The Regent has made dreaming like a machine - he churns out dreams. He gives the people what they want.” Above all, though, Shadow Town is a smart, punch-packing page-turner, with engrossing atmosphere.
October 2021 Debut of the Month | Shortlisted for the 2021 Branford Boase Award | A gobble-it-up fiery and intense yet thoughtful debut novel about family, betrayal, and witchcraft. Opening the pathway to a fabulous historical fantasy series this calls out as a must-read for young adults. Set during the civil war in 17th century England, 15 year old Evey has to flee with her little sister Dill when her mother is murdered. As with all good young adult novels, it is perfectly easy to slide into and really enjoy as an adult too, particularly with the wonderful cover drawing you in. Touching history, it flies into fantasy, as author Finbar Hawkins examines the meaning of witch. Evey is a complex character and as she tells her own story she has the ability of self-reflection, even if she doesn’t always like what she sees. Witch is a read that fair on crackles with energy, it also encourages thoughts to both consider and soar and deservedly sits as one of our LoveReading debuts of the month.
A young girl lives in an old house – she thinks there may be a ghost, but she has never seen one. Perhaps the reader can help her find the ghost, or maybe more than one… This is a beautiful, funny, spooky picture book that will captivate children of all ages. The girl in the sumptuous house – built in 1760 – has been searching for her ghost and wonders if the reader can help – well, yes, we can – but that doesn’t really help her. The delightful gentle humour of the sparse text and the big greyscale illustrations of the house complement the brightly coloured small girl showing us around – and as we turn the transparent pages, we can see the array of friendly ghosts in all the parts of the house. They hide in plain sight, in the chandeliers, in the hall, under and over the bed – everywhere that will make children giggle with joy as they see them – and the little girl doesn’t. The transparent pages are very cleverly designed and printed so that the ‘ghosts’ only show up on the page turn against the darker illustrations of the house. What a brilliant idea! This will be a favourite for many years to come and be looked at every Halloween – as well as during the rest of the year.
Penned by long-time paranormal investigator and TV presenter Yvette Fielding, The House in the Woods is a Point Horror-esque adventure for fans of fast-paced fiction. It’s Halloween and friends Clovis, Eve and Tom are well and truly shunted into spooky mode when they see something scary in a graveyard - a tall man wearing a top hat. While logical Clovis reasons that it may well have been someone in fancy dress costume, Tom is certain it was a ghost, while Eve is open to either scenario being true. Matters take an undeniably terrifying turn when they play with a ouija board in a creepy abandoned house and wind up with a spirit on their case. Cue the trio stepping up as ghost hunters as a seriously scary adventure unfolds…
It's fright-time in the supermarket, and the veggies are seriously spooked! Strange shapes, weird noises and eerie shuffling - whatever can be behind these ghostly goings-on? Join Supertato and the gang to find out in their latest unmissable adventure! The perfect book to calm bedtime fears and snuggle up with this Autumn.
Bethany and her new friend Ebeneezer Tweezer think they’ve seen the last of the Beast, the greedy and thoroughly nasty creature who has been Ebeneezer’s master for the last 500 years. After all, they watched their friend Claudette the singing parrot eat him up. But don’t count your parrots before they hatch is the lesson here. As Bethany tries to persuade Ebeneezer to ‘de-beast’ and take up do-gooding, things just get worse and worse. Whatever philanthropy Bethany tries goes wrong, Ebeneezer is being tormented by a possessed frilly shirt, and poor Claudette is losing her feathers and her voice. Don’t despair though, our friends are tougher than they look, and there’s always D.o.R.R.i.S. if things go really awry (the Division of Removing Rapscallions in Secret). This is zanier than the first Beast story, but as deliciously sharp and funny. Don’t miss! The LoveReading LitFest invited Jack to the festival to talk about The Beast and the Bethany, his delicously macabre new series. You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, and watch this fantastically frightful event with two of our young Reading Ambassadors, Lorelai and Joey. Check out a preview of the event here.
Despite its setting – leafy English countryside in late summer – this is a deliciously dark story, with one of the creepiest scenes you’re likely to read. Aveline is enjoying a late summer break with her mum. Her friend Harold is coming to stay but until he arrives it’s a bit lonely, so it’s a thrill to meet Hazel. Hazel is about the same age as Aveline, local, but also looking for a friend. There’s no denying that Hazel is great company, but there’s something just a little strange about her as well. The truth is very strange indeed and the more she learns, the more Aveline realises that their friendship could prove very dangerous. This is the second story about Aveline, who seems to attract the supernatural, and, like the first, is cleverly told and guaranteed to send shivers down the spine. If you like spooky stories, you’ll love this. Perfect Hallowe’en reading!
October 2021 Debut of the Month | Vibrant world-building, hilarious horror happenings, and splendidly quirky characters - Alex Foulkes’ debut, Rules for Vampires (the first in a series), has plenty for adventure-loving 9+ year-olds to sink their teeth into, a devour-in-one-bloodthirsty-sitting story that’s made even more engaging by Sara Ogilvie’s cleverly comic illustrations. “Slow as creeping nuns, stealthy as a stalking cat, the girl slunk closer to the door.” Thus we’re introduced to Leo on the eve of her one hundred and eleventh birthnight, as she must embark on her first solo mission as a vampire - The Hunt of the Waxing Moon, no less. Trouble is, following Vampiric Laws and negotiating that ghoulish line between the Living and the Undead sure ain’t no stroll in the cemetery, and all this while feeling the pressure to live up to the high and spiky expectations of the Great and Terrible Sieglinde. The writing is slick as blood, with smart turns of phrase that Lemony Snicket aficionados will adore, and cracking whip-smart dialogue that drives the story at bat-out-of-hell pace. Oh, and it’s divinely packed with a cast of top quality, quirky characters readers will want to get under the skin of (though not literally, of course…)
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2021 | September 2021 Book of the Month | Billy is desperate to make things change at home. Her father disappeared before he was born: he and mum had been ok when they had been alone together but now his mother’s new partner has spoilt everything. Billy is frightened for himself and he is frighted for his mum. To make a point he runs away for a few days hiding in a semi-ruined pill-box in a local graveyard. Cleverly telling the story in two narratives, from Billy’s perspective and his mum’s and interweaving other characters and their experience from whom they can learn, Pam Smy explores a range of complex emotions thrown up by a difficult situation.
October 2021 Book of the Month | Interest Age 9+ Reading Age 8 | Chris Priestley, multi-award-winning master of the macabre, here presents six sensational, interlinked ghostly stories that will undoubtedly induce delighted gasps of surprise in readers who relish spine-tingling twists. With his intricate illustrations enhancing the chilling atmosphere, Priestley commands a magician’s prowess to conjure the eerily unexpected. The morning after a frenzy of unsettled nightmares, Maya and her classmates are set the task of writing spooky winter-themed stories, with new girl Winter having no trouble coming up with an idea. As Maya’s friends write and share their creepy stories, she’s gripped by the feeling that these are not stories at all. From the ancient frozen bodies that emerge from floodwaters, to the grimacing zombies that shuffle towards school, the tales seem real, like memories of events she’s actually experienced. Then, when it’s Winter’s turn to tell her tale, reality bites with icicle-sharp frights. The set-up of interlinked narratives works a terrifying treat and, being published by Barrington Stoke, these gripping ghost stories boast the additional benefit of being ultra-inclusive - the book was written, edited and printed with the needs of reluctant and dyslexic readers at the fore.
If you go down to the woods today . . . Two girls go backpacking in the woods. Things go very wrong. And, then, their paths collide with a serial killer . . . The Woods are Always Watching is an edge-of-your-seat, nerve-wrangling thriller. Full of breathtaking action and twists you'll never see coming, Stephanie Perkins has created a masterpiece of the horror genre.
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