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Category Archives: Horror

Thornhill

Title:   Thornhill
Author:   Pam Smy
Series:   —
Recommended for:  older tweens and teens who like creepy books
Pages:   533 pages
Call Number/Link:   J FICTION SMY, P.

Rating:   ****

 

 

 

 

Summary:

Parallel plotlines set in different times, one told in text and one in art, inform each other as a young girl unravels the mystery of a ghost next door.

1982:  Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute for Children at the very moment that it’s shutting its doors.  When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she’s left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary and on Thornhill itself.

2016:  Ella has just moved to a new town where she knows no one.  From her room on the top floor of her new home, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute across the way, where she glimpses a girl in the window.  Determined to befriend the girl, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s shadowy past.

Comments:

Some colleagues were surprised that I chose to read this book since I don’t usually read creepy, scary books.

As it works out, I was less scared than horrified by the book.  I was really troubled by the cruelty of the bullying that the girl from the eighties experienced, and that the orphanage’s primary caregivers truly didn’t care.  The girl obviously needed psychological help, as did the bully.

I did not get a complete picture of the contemporary girl’s situation.  I could see that she and her father had moved to a new place where she didn’t have any friends.  Her mother isn’t with them and the father works so many hours that the girl is, for all intensive purposes, an abandoned child.

There was no way that this book could end well….

 

But now for the biggest mystery of all:  should we move to book to Teen Fiction or keep it in J Fiction?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on September 24, 2017 in Historical, Historical, Horror, Juv, Scary, Teen

 

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Book of Shadows

Title: Book of Shadows
Author: M. Verano
Series: Dairy of a Haunting
Recommended for: 7th grade & up
Pages: 288
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Verano

Synopsis: All Melanie wants is a blank book to keep a journal of her private thoughts. One day while browsing in a used bookshop, she finds the perfect blank book—smooth black leather with strange symbols in gold embossing. But once she gets home, Melanie finds herself too intimidated by the heavy vellum pages to write her trivial thoughts on them. Her Wiccan friend Lara tells her it’s better suited to be a magical spell book, called The Book of Shadows.

Melanie doesn’t know much about that stuff, but Lara, her boyfriend Caleb, and his friend Lucas, get her started by writing their own made up spells inside the book’s tempting pages. What they didn’t expect was a new spell showing up inside the book—and in handwriting none of them recognize.

Soon they discover that the spells suggested by The Book of Shadows itself do work—but not without wreaking havoc on the lives of the four teenagers.

Review: Normally, I love this series. It’s usually this weird supernatural mix with “it’s it real or not” type vibe. This one sadly fell flat, but I’m not quite sure why. It still had a very solid supernatural feel with the black magic, but it lacked the “keeping you guessing” element. Also, I’m not sure the “diary” format really worked this time. The past two books really only dealt with one main character/one person experiencing the supernatural, but this one really has four. It generally worked okay, but did feel as if something was missing. Overall, it was a middle of the road read. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2017 in Horror, Teen

 

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Diary of a Haunting: Possession

28954050Title: Diary of a Haunting: Possession
Author: M. Verano
Series: Diary of a Haunting
Recommended for: 7th grade and up
Pages: 352
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Verano

Synopsis: All her life, Laetitia Jones has only wanted to be a star. It’s more than an ambition—somewhere deep inside, she knows that she was born for greatness.

But her path to stardom now seems to be halted by a mysterious, undiagnosed illness that’s taken over her body. Doctors don’t have a clue and most days, she’s stuck at home documenting her strange symptoms—symptoms that start with fevers and chills, but soon escalate to bizarre bodily reactions.

Laetitia’s only escape from her illness is following the news—and the race riots that are moving closer and closer to her neighborhood. But when horrific visions begin to invade her mind, even the media can’t distract her and she begins to wonder—is her illness something biological…or is it something more? Are the voices she hears and the notes she finds in her own handwriting signs of insanity…or signs of something much more sinister and demonic? Or, perhaps, signs of something benevolent…something holy even.

Laetitia has always known she’d be famous…she just didn’t know it would happen this way.

Review: This is the 2nd book in the Diary of Haunting series, although, the two books are unrelated. While I did enjoy the first one a bit more/find it more creepy, this is a fast read that I’m teens looking for light horror will like. The majority of the book is in diary (online) format, but there are some police and social worker reports thrown in as well. Much like the first one, the whole point of the book is to make you question if something paranormal is actually occurring or if it’s much more to do with circumstances/psychology.

The only thing I’m not sure I really liked was there was a police brutality story-line thrown in. I understand why it was there/how it connected to the story, but it felt completely out of place other than it’s a current event. I feel like a those story deserve a little more meat to them then what was given in this book. Other than that, while not my favorite, it was still a good read.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2016 in Horror, Teen, Uncategorized

 

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Thirteen Chairs

23436913Title: Thirteen Chairs
Author: Dave Shelton
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 5th- 8th
Pages: 256
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Shelton, D. 

Synopsis: In an abandoned house, the ghosts gather. They argue, they laugh, and they tell their stories. Some tell their own stories, some tell stories they have heard elsewhere. Some of them are true, some are not. But each tale draws you closer.

One by one, the storytellers depart, until suddenly it’s just you and the narrator, alone in the dark…

My Thoughts: 8th grade may be pushing it a little for this one, but it’s a general all ages one. The stories for me were necessarily scary, but several of them were fun/creepy. This would be a great read for those who like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Goosebumps, or even Skeleton Creek.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2015 in Horror, Teen, Uncategorized

 

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The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

Title: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
Author: Paige McKenzie
Series: Haunting of Sunshine Girl
Recommended for: 8th grade and up
Pages: 296
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction McKenzie, P

Synopsis: In that place where you’re more asleep than awake any more, I hear something else. A phrase uttered in a child’s voice, no more than a whisper: Night Night.

Something freaky’s going on with Sunshine’s new house . . . there’s the chill that wraps itself around her bones, the giggling she can hear in the dead of night, and then the strange shadows that lurk in her photographs. But the more weird stuff that happens, the less her mum believes her. Sunshine’s always had a quirky affiliation with the past, but this time, history is getting much too close for comfort . . .

If there is something, or someone, haunting her house, what do they want? And what will they do if Sunshine can’t help them?

As things become more frightening and dangerous, and the giggles she hears turn to sobs and screams, Sunshine has no choice but to accept what she is, face the test before her and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this one. Okay, so it’s not a great bit of literature, but it was entertaining. It’s one of those books that is totally a bad horror flick. You know it’s bad, but you still enjoy it anyway.  It’s a bit predictable and the ending is a bit anti-climatic, but I am kind of interesting where it’ll go. It’s either going to be one of those where, like horror flicks, each book gets worse or it’s going to turn into something completely different. I’m hoping for really different, but I guess I’ll find out in the fall.

For what it’s worth, book group was pretty split on this one. They either thought like me or thought it was just okay. I think only one teen truly hated it. Most thought had it just stayed a ghost/haunting story it would have been much better than the “something more” path that it took.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2015 in Horror, Teen

 

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The Zigzag Effect

imagesTitle: The Zigzag Effect
Author: Lili Wilkinson
Recommended for: 7th-12th grade
Pages: 345
Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION WILKINSON, L.  

Synopsis: Sage is delighted to land a holiday job at a theater. Mostly because it will earn her the money she needs for the photography course she’s coveted since she first picked up a camera. And working for a magician should be interesting, right? Plus there’s a cute stagehand named Herb, who could make it even more interesting.

Review:
There is a lot to like about the Zigzag Effect, including learning that zigzag is one word and it won’t find it if you search it as two words!  🙂  The synopsis emphasizes the romance aspect, and the romance was well done–it is romantic, but not steamy.  They kiss, but they also get in fights and have misunderstandings and are real people with problems.  However, the romance is only a part of this book, which is alternately creepy, funny, fascinating, and empowering.  It takes place in Australia, which adds a level of interest to the tale, and Sage has recently moved, has no friends, and her parents are having money trouble.  She has a cute little brother who loves magic, so he is fascinated when she starts doing clerical work for a magician over break.  There is information about how magicians run their shows, there is a beautiful assistant who believes in the supernatural and that the theater is haunted, and there is a conniving magician out to ruin the show.  While I do think that girls are the most likely readers of this book, I appreciated that it was not a romance, it was a story that included romance.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Horror, Realistic, Romance, Teen