Young Adult and Middle Grade Horror Spotlight
YA and MG Horror

YA/MG Horror Spotlight January 2021

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 January as well as what our team has been reading and reviewing.

Young Adult New Releases

Don't Tell a Soul by Kirsten Miller

Don’t Tell a Soul by Kirsten Miller

Stay up all night with this modern day Rebecca! Perfect for fans of Truly Devious—a haunting story about a new girl in an old town filled with dark secrets . . . that might just kill her.

People say the house is cursed.
It preys on the weakest, and young women are its favorite victims.
In Louth, they’re called the Dead Girls.


All Bram wanted was to disappear—from her old life, her family’s past, and from the scandal that continues to haunt her. The only place left to go is Louth, the tiny town on the Hudson River where her uncle, James, has been renovating an old mansion.

But James is haunted by his own ghosts. Months earlier, his beloved wife died in a fire that people say was set by her daughter. The tragedy left James a shell of the man Bram knew—and destroyed half the house he’d so lovingly restored.

The manor is creepy, and so are the locals. The people of Louth don’t want outsiders like Bram in their town, and with each passing day she’s discovering that the rumors they spread are just as disturbing as the secrets they hide. Most frightening of all are the legends they tell about the Dead Girls. Girls whose lives were cut short in the very house Bram now calls home.

The terrifying reality is that the Dead Girls may have never left the manor. And if Bram looks too hard into the town’s haunted past, she might not either.

Expected publication: January 26th 2021 by Delacorte Press | Amazon | Goodreads

Middle Grade New Releases

Root Magic by Eden Royce

From debut writer Eden Royce comes a wondrous historical ghost story set in South Carolina in the 1960s—an unforgettable tale of courage, friendship, and Black Girl Magic.

It’s 1963, and things are changing for Jezebel Turner. Her beloved grandmother has just passed away. The local police deputy won’t stop harassing her family. With school integration arriving in South Carolina, Jez and her twin brother, Jay, are about to begin the school year with a bunch of new kids. But the biggest change comes when Jez and Jay turn eleven—and their uncle, Doc, tells them he’s going train them in rootwork.

Jez and Jay have always been fascinated by the African American folk magic that has been the legacy of her family for generations—especially the curious potions and powders Doc and Gran would make for the people on their island. But Jez soon finds out that her family’s true power goes far beyond small charms and elixirs…and not a moment too soon. Because when evil both natural and supernatural comes to show itself in town, it’s going to take every bit of the magic she has inside her to see her through.

Debut author Eden Royce arrives with a wondrous story of love, bravery, friendship, and family, filled to the brim with magic great and small.

Published January 5th 2021 by Walden Pond Press | Amazon | Goodreads

Alone by Megan E. Freeman

When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme for a secret sleepover with her two best friends, she ends up waking up to a nightmare. She’s alone—left behind in a town that has been mysteriously evacuated and abandoned.

With no one to rely on, no power, and no working phone lines or internet access, Maddie slowly learns to survive on her own. Her only companions are a Rottweiler named George and all the books she can read. After a rough start, Maddie learns to trust her own ingenuity and invents clever ways to survive in a place that has been deserted and forgotten.

As months pass, she escapes natural disasters, looters, and wild animals. But Maddie’s most formidable enemy is the crushing loneliness she faces every day. Can Maddie’s stubborn will to survive carry her through the most frightening experience of her life?

Expected publication: January 12th 2021 by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin | Amazon | Goodreads

Karma Moon: Ghost Hunter by Melissa Savage

While staying in a haunted Colorado hotel for her father’s ghost-hunting television series, Karma Moon must battle her anxiety, interpret the signs of the universe, and get footage of a real ghost–you know, the usual.

Karma Moon is a firm believer in everything woo-woo, as her dad calls it. So when she asked her trusty Magic Eight Ball if the call asking her dad to create a ghost-hunting docuseries was her dad’s big break, it delivered: No doubt about it. Because the universe never gets it wrong. Only people do.

Karma and her best friend, Mags, join her dad’s Totally Rad film crew at a famous haunted hotel in Colorado over her spring break. Their mission: find a ghost and get it on camera. If they succeed, the show will be a hit, they can pay rent on time, and just maybe, her mom will come back.

Unfortunately, staying at a haunted hotel isn’t a walk in the park for someone with a big case of the what-ifs. But her dad made Karma the head of research for the docuseries, so she, Mags, and a mysterious local boy named Nyx must investigate every strange happening in the historically creepy Stanley Hotel. Karma hopes that her what-ifs don’t make her give up the ghost before they can find a starring spirit to help their show go viral–and possibly even get them a season two.

With Melissa Savage’s quirky cast of characters and spooky setting underlaid by a touching and relatable struggle against anxiety and grief over her fractured family, Karma Moon–Ghosthunter is bound to charm and delight.

Expected publication: January 19th 2021 by Crown Books for Young Readers | Amazon | Goodreads

The In-Between by Rebecca Ansari

Cooper is lost. Ever since his father left their family three years ago, he has become distant from his friends, constantly annoyed by his little sister, Jess, and completely fed up with the pale, creepy rich girl who moved in next door, who won’t stop staring at him.

So when Cooper learns of an unsolved mystery his sister has discovered online, he welcomes the distraction. It’s the tale of a deadly train crash that occurred a hundred years ago in which one young boy among the dead was never identified. The only distinguishing mark on him was a strange insignia on his suit coat, a symbol no one had seen before or since. Jess is fascinated by the mystery of the unknown child—because she’s seen the insignia. And, she tells Cooper, he has too.

It’s the symbol on the jacket of the girl next door.

As they uncover more information—and mounting evidence of the girl’s seemingly impossible connection to the tragedy—Cooper and Jess begin to wonder if a similar disaster could be heading to their hometown. Thus begins an unforgettable adventure about the forgotten among us and what it means to be seen.

Expected publication: January 26th 2021 by Walden Pond Press | Amazon | Goodreads

Young Adult Books Reviewed

This month Emily read and reviewed Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova. Be sure to check out her review of Labyrinth Lost (“This was an intriguing start to a series, and I can’t wait to read book 2.”)

Emily also reviewed The Companion by Katie Alender. You can read her review of The Companion (“I liked The Companion overall…I would check out another book by this author.”)

Middle Grade Books Reviewed

This month Jen read and loved Root Magic by Eden Royce. Be sure to check out her review of Root Magic (“I loved the characters, the family, the friendships, the emotions, the horrors. It checked all of my middle grade boxes.”)

Toni reviewed Evangeline of the Bayou by Jan Eldredge this month. Don’t miss her review of Evangeline of the Bayou (“The story was charming and creepy. I really enjoyed my adventure with Evangeline.”)

Jen also read and reviewed The Mulberry Tree by Allison Rushby. You can read her review of The Mulberry Tree (“My creepy tree loving self is so happy to have read it. It’s one I’m definitely passing on to my kids.”)


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!


Jen is one of our LOHF Admins. She creates posts and manages the technical side of the Ladies of Horror Fiction website.

You can also find Jen on her blog Book Den, Twitter as @bookden, Instagram as @bookdenjen, on Goodreads, and Letterboxd.

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