The Ladies of Horror Fiction team is putting a spotlight on Young Adult and Middle Grade horror each month. Below we are featuring the books that were released in August as well as what our team has been reading and reviewing.
Young Adult New Releases
The Companion by Katie Alender
The other orphans say Margot is lucky.
Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family.
Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night.
And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate.
But it wasn’t luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha–and getting to know her handsome older brother–seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons . . . and herself.
Margot’s bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha – but the real nightmare has just begun.
Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis
A can’t-put-down, creepy thriller about the daughter of a horror film director who’s not afraid of anything–until she gets to Harrow Lake.
Things I know about Harrow Lake:
1.It’s where my father shot his most disturbing slasher film.
2.There’s something not right about this town.
Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker–she thinks nothing can scare her.
But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s quickly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map–and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.
And there’s someone–or something–stalking her every move.
The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.
The Whitsun Daughters by Carrie Mesrobian
From a critically acclaimed author, a twisty and gorgeously written YA ghost story about young women separated by centuries but connected by a desire to control their futures. Read an excerpt below!
I am no longer a creature, yet my habits remain. My desires, still the old ones. Lurking amidst the brush, watching squirrels collect acorns and deer drink from puddles. Watching my girls. I am allowed pleasure here, too, despite the warnings of the Bible my mother loved so well. It is pleasure, and my delight, to see my girls, their skin supple and sweating, their mouths eating, their fists clamping over their hips as their legs bend and stretch over the earth. The work of bodies never ends. I particularly like their hair, how it grows long and shaggy until lopped off by one of their mothers, the priestly one whose thoughts swirl like perfume in lilac time; she finds such joyful thrift in snipping the little girls’ tresses. Where I had watched Patrick feed Arthur Ganey’s horses is now a kitchen with an unlikely polished floor; over what was dirt and hay, the priestly mother sweeps up the girls’ lost tresses—gold, white, mahogany. The priestly one’s sister, a midwife, makes each daughter gulp down spoonfuls of castor and fish oil; one year, they each suffered needle jabs, given for their own good. Their tears brimmed and they winced under the puncture, their betrayed howls ringing out through the open windows.
The palomino girl loves so harshly; she sees everything as a prize to be won or lost. The unicorn girl’s love ripples uncontained; her soul is flimsy, easily stained by sadness or goaded into laughter. The dark bay foal, who has since become steady on her feet in a manner that I envy, rushes through the brush. She is a thirsty creature. I ache when I see her touch the cool water at the bottom of the ravine where Patrick liked to wash.
A house helmed by two sisters, and their three daughters. The mothers’ love, borne of their sister pact, has made a world where no men ever deigned to rule. The daughters’ love at times is heavy, a pail of milk to a waiting hand; other times, easy as a hairbrush before Sunday service. It is most visible in their hands: what they make and toss away, what they strive to hold. I watch for restfulness. The after hours of tables cleared and dishes washed and floors swept and pencils and needles jabbing at paper and cloth; here their thick love dreams and wraps over each other, like hair in a braid. This reminds me of my own sister, and I recall my beating heart, strong beneath my chemise, galloping in grief for her. I think of my own hair—long gone, a cat’s cradle for the faeries—and the relief of unwinding it each night, the burden heavy no more. I think of my own hands and what they learned about desire.
How quickly everything in God’s world disintegrates. Everything but the loneliness of young women.
Middle Grade New Releases
The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
A Malaysian folk tale comes to life in this emotionally layered, chilling middle grade debut, perfect for fans of The Book of Boy and The Jumbies.
I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.
Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable.
But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness.
Fans of Holly Black’s Doll Bones and Tahereh Mafi’s Furthermore series will love this ghostly middle grade debut that explores jealousy, love, and the extraordinary power of friendship.
Young Adult Books Reviewed
This month Jen posted her review for Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall. Be sure to check out her 4.5 star review (“Rules for Vanishing is going on my list of automatic young adult horror recommendations.”)
Have you read any of the books we read or reviewed this month? Let us know what YA or MG books you have read recently!