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
In Every Generation by Kendare Blake
A new Slayer for a new generation…
Frankie Rosenberg is passionate about the environment, a sophomore at New Sunnydale High School, and the daughter of the most powerful witch in Sunnydale history. Her mom, Willow, is slowly teaching her magic on the condition that she use it to better the world. But Frankie’s happily quiet life is upended when new girl Hailey shows up with news that the annual Slayer convention has been the target of an attack, and all the Slayers—including Buffy, Faith, and Hailey’s older sister Vi—might be dead. That means it’s time for this generation’s Slayer to be born.
But being the first ever Slayer-Witch means learning how to wield a stake while trying to control her budding powers. With the help of Hailey, a werewolf named Jake, and a hot but nerdy sage demon, Frankie must become the Slayer, prevent the Hellmouth from opening again, and find out what happened to her Aunt Buffy, before she’s next.
Get ready for a whole new story within the world of Buffy!
The first in an all-new series by New York Times best-selling author Kendare Blake continues the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer featuring the next generation of Scoobies and Slayers who must defeat a powerful new evil.
It Will End Like This by Kyra Leigh
For fans of The Cheerleaders and Sadie comes a psychological thriller that reminds us that in real life, endings are rarely as neat as happily ever after. A contemporary take on the Lizzie Borden story that explores how grief can cut deep.
Charlotte lost her mother six months ago, and still no one will tell her exactly what happened the day she mysteriously died. They say her heart stopped, but Charlotte knows deep down that there’s more to the story.
The only person who gets it is Charlotte’s sister, Maddi. Maddi agrees—people’s hearts don’t just stop. There are too many questions left unanswered for the girls to move on.
But their father is moving on. With their mother’s personal assistant. And both girls are sure that she’s determined to take everything that’s theirs away for herself.
Now the only way to get their lives back is for Charlotte and Maddi to decide how this story ends, themselves.
Where the Drowned Girls Go (Wayward Children #7) by Seanan McGuire
Welcome to the Whitethorn Institute. The first step is always admitting you need help, and you’ve already taken that step by requesting a transfer into our company.
There is another school for children who fall through doors and fall back out again.
It isn’t as friendly as Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
And it isn’t as safe.
When Eleanor West decided to open her school, her sanctuary, her Home for Wayward Children, she knew from the beginning that there would be children she couldn’t save; when Cora decides she needs a different direction, a different fate, a different prophecy, Miss West reluctantly agrees to transfer her to the other school, where things are run very differently by Whitethorn, the Headmaster.
She will soon discover that not all doors are welcoming…
Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz
A gothic tale full of mystery and romance about a willful female surgeon, a resurrection man who sells bodies for a living, and the buried secrets they must uncover together.
Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry.
Jack Currer is a resurrection man who’s just trying to survive in a city where it’s too easy to die.
When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham’s lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, the university will allow her to enroll. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books – she’ll need bodies to study, corpses to dissect.
Lucky that she’s made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living, then.
But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets. Hazel and Jack work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society.
Into the Midnight Void (Beyond the Ruby Veil #2) by Mara Fitzgerald
Emanuela has finally gotten what she wanted. Since escaping her catacomb prison, she’s started running things her way. Under her rule, citizens no longer give up their lives at the first, tiny appearance of their omens. As long as they aren’t caught bad-mouthing their queen, they can live out their days like everyone else.
But when cracks in her magic start to show, Emanuela begrudgingly allies herself with her enemies, including her frustratingly alluring archnemesis, Verene. Together, discover deeper truths about the mysterious blood magic Emanuela and Verene both wield. There is a higher, otherworldly authority outside the veils, and in order to save Occhia and the other realms, Emanuela may just have to rip another crown off someone’s head.
Middle Grade New Releases
The Girl in the Lake by India Hill Brown
For fans of Small Spaces, Doll Bones, and Mary Downing Hahn, a truly chilling (and historically inspired) ghost story from the award-winning author of The Forgotten Girl.
Celeste knows she should be excited to spend two weeks at her grandparents’ lake house with her brother, Owen, and their cousins Capri and Daisy, but she’s not.
Bugs, bad cell reception, and the dark waters of the lake… no thanks. On top of that, she just failed her swim test and hates being in the water-it’s terrifying. But her grandparents are strong believers in their family knowing how to swim, especially having grown up during a time of segregation at public pools. Without the opportunity to learn, Grandma’s sister drowned when they were kids.
But soon strange things start happening, like Celeste’s cousins accusing her of waking them up in the middle of the night. But Celeste hasn’t been awake during the night-she knows she’s been fast asleep because she’s been having terrible nightmares about drowning!
Things at the old house only get spookier until one evening when Celeste looks in the steamy mirror after a shower and sees her face, but twisted, different…
Who is the girl in the mirror? And what does she want?
Past and present mingle in this spine-tingling ghost story by India Hill Brown.
Sneaks by Catherine Egan
Men in Black meets middle school! A school project takes an alien turn when three kids uncover a secret society whose aim is to keep sneaks–mischievous interdimensional sprites–from slipping into our universe!
When Ben Harp sees his teacher’s watch crawling across the hallway, he things he must be dreaming.
But no, he’s just seen his first Sneak–an interdimensional mischief-maker that can borrow the form of any ordinary object.
He figured this school year would be bad–his best friend moved away, the class bully is circling, and he’s stuck doing a group project with two similarly friendless girls, Charlotte and Akemi. Still, he wasn’t expecting aliens!
And he certainly wasn’t expecting that the woman he and Charlotte and Akemi are assigned to interview for their “living local history” project would be a Sneak expert. Or that she’d foist an old book on them to keep safe . . . and then disappear.
Now Ben, Charlotte, and Akemi are trying to understand a book that seems to contain a coded map while being pursued by violent clothes hangers, fire-spitting squirrels, and more. The Sneaks want that book! And they want something else, too: to pull a vastly more dangerous creature into the world with them.
Can three misfit kids decode the book in time to stop an alien takeover? And if they do, will they get extra credit on their group project?
The Keeper by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Inspired by the terrifying true story of the “Westfield Watcher,” this bone-chilling middle grade novel by Mexican American author Guadalupe García McCall will keep readers guessing until the pulse-pounding ending.
The first letter turns up on his desk. The second is stuck between the spokes of his bike.
The third flies through the kitchen window.
And they are all addressed to James from someone called the Keeper.
Moving from Texas to Oregon was a bad idea. No sooner have James and his family arrived in their “perfect” new town than he starts getting mysterious and sinister letters from someone called the Keeper. Someone who claims to be watching him. Someone who is looking for “young blood.” James and his sister, Ava, are obviously in danger. But the problem with making a fuss about moving and having a history of playing practical jokes is that no one believes James—not even his parents.
Now James and Ava need to figure out who is sending the letters before they become the next victims in their neighborhood’s long history of missing children. Because one thing is clear: uncovering the truth about the Keeper is the only thing that will keep them alive.
Full of chilling twists that will keep readers guessing until the end, this middle grade novel is perfect for fans of The Jumbies, The Night Gardener, and other tales of things that go bump in the night.
Young Adult Books Reviewed
This month Alex and Kathy read and reviewed White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson. Be sure to check out Alex’s review of White Smoke (“WOW – What a way to start 2022! WHITE SMOKE by Tiffany D. Jackson delivered everything and more.”) and Kathy’s review of White Smoke (“From the beginning of her book, [Jackson] reminded me why I love storylines about haunted houses.“)
Kathy also read and reviewed No Beauties or Monsters by Tara Goedjen. Don’t miss Kathy’s review of No Beauties or Monsters (“No Beauties or Monsters has plenty of mystery and suspense to keep readers turning pages well into the night.“)
Middle Grade Books Reviewed
Here are the middle grade books I (Jen) read and reviewed in January!
Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera – Be sure to check out my review of Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls (“I adored Cece’s character and the unlikely friendships she made in this book.“)
Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland – Also check out my review of Ophie’s Ghosts (“I loved Ophie, and I would love to read more Ophie books in the future.“)
Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko – And lastly don’t miss my review of Ghost Girl (“I love when a horror book turns out to be scary, and Ghost Girl joins the ranks of Hide and Seeker, The Girl and the Ghost, Root Magic, and Where the Woods End for having some amazing horror content!“)
Jen is one of our LOHF admins. Jen manages the technical side of the Ladies of Horror Fiction website. She also keeps a spotlight on middle grade and young adult horror each month.