Thursday, October 15, 2009

Super-scary stories for Halloween

Are you scared yet? Halloween is almost here and there are still plenty of great books to read this month. Here are some super-scary stories for tweens to read with the all the lights on -- if you dare! Look for these books using the World Catalog / Amazon search boxes here on BookBag.

After the War, by Tim Lebbon (Subterranean Press) Two short, dark and grim tales of Tim Lebbon's Cataclysmic War cycle set in Noreela: "Vale of Blood Roses" is the story of a mercenary's journey back home and the valley he discovers filled with a strange group of post-apocalyptic survivors, and "The Bujuman" tells the tale of Korrin, a hunter alone and outcast, in his battle to stay alive after a great plague. Continuing to explore Noreela City from his 2006 and 2007 novels Dusk and Dawn, Lebbon himself calls these stories noir fantasy. Both stories are loaded with gruesome sights (especially in noir fiction, apocalypse is not pretty) and the writing is sharp and quick as a knifeblade. Both of these tales read like quick sketches for a longer work-in-progress -- Lebbon mentions writing these while preparing for his latest Noreela novel, Fallen. The reader won't need a deep knowledge of the Noreela novels but After the War might whet your appetite for learning about the history of Ventgorians, the Poison Forest and the Violet Dogs. There's no doubt more to come in the Noreela saga -- best choose your weapon now.

Emily the Strange: The Lost Days, by Rob Reger; illustrated by Rob Reger and Buzz Parker (Harper) Fiction. In her first novel-length adventure, Emily the Strange has amnesia and finds herself in the town of Blackrock with nothing more than a slingshot, the clothes she's wearing (all black), a pencil, and a notebook with 11 pages torn out of it. She can't remember anything--for instance, is she a kid, or just very short? Is she a dog person or a cat person, or does she even think those are valid categories? And what's she doing in Blackrock? Fans of smart, snarky goth-girl Emily -- who graces everything from t-shirts to skateboards to the pages of comics -- will gleefully devour this dryly funny, unusual story tinged with menace and mystery.

Prophecy of the Sisters, by Michelle Zink (Little, Brown) Dark Fantasy. Soon after their father dies under mysterious circumstances, orphaned twin sisters Lia and Alice Milthorpe discover that an ancient prophecy has pitted them against one

another in a mystical battle between good and evil. One of the sisters will save the world -- if she can prevent the other from bringing about its end -- but which one? Set in a small town in upstate New York in the 19th century and written with a distinct Victorian air, this haunting novel features richly drawn characters, psychological nuances, spells, fallen angels, and murder most foul. Shiveringly delicious.

The Game of Sunken Places, by M.T. Anderson (Scholastic) Fantasy/Adventure. If you took Jumanji, made it more sinister and disorienting, and threw in some offbeat humor to relieve the tension, you'd have something like this madly entertaining, action-packed book from the author of Whales on Stilts. Best friends Brian and Gregory have accepted an invitation to spend their vacation at the dreary and isolated old mansion where Gregory's eccentric Uncle Max lives. But Uncle Max's invitation was just a cover for his plan to use the boys as pawns in a supernatural board game with rules they can only guess--and with actual trolls, ogres, and assorted other monsters as opponents!

The Dark Pond, by Joseph Bruchac (HarperTrophy) Horror. Boarding school student Armie Katchatorian inherited strong intuition from his mother, a Shawnee Indian. Since he was a little kid, Armie's talent has made his classmates think he's weird, so he's become something of a loner and spends a lot of time roaming the woods that surround his school. When he finds a dark, eerie pond in the woods and notices that many sets of animal tracks lead to it, but none lead away from it, Armie knows that he's come across something evil. Readers who enjoyed Native American author Joseph Bruchac's Skeleton Man and other suspenseful tales that incorporate Native legends will want to dive into The Dark Pond.

Invasion of the Road Weenies: And Other Warped and Creepy Tales, by David Lubar (Starscape) Short Stories. In this collection of 35 tales, a town is overrun by threatening and unsmiling joggers, a girl finds her Halloween transformed by a special pair of gloves, a mummy pursues revenge, and a boy takes a shortcut to an unexpected place. Author David Lubar writes fun stories that range from strange to creepy to totally bizarre; some of them are too silly to be scary, but others are sure to give you a serious case of the willies. Mr. Lubar does something else interesting (especially for all of you up-and-coming writers out there): he explains how he got the idea for each story at the end of the book.

Double-Dare to Be Scared: Another Thirteen Chilling Tales, by Robert D. San Souci (Cricket Books) Short Stories. The scary things in these 13 tales of trauma and terror run the gamut from monsters in the woods to enormous spiders to ghosts, demons, and aliens. If you love getting a good shiver of fright but don't like long books, then this collection of spooky stories and the first volume of horror short stories by author Robert D. San Souci, Dare to Be Scared, are just right for you. Want even more scary short stories? Check out The Dark-Thirty by Patricia McKissack or Beware!, a collection of thrilling tales by various authors that was edited by none other than master of creepiness, R.L. Stine.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for mentioning Prophecy of the Sisters in your post! I'm in very, very good company...