Inspired by West African folklore, Roseanne A. Brown writes an action-packed tale infused with magical twists, family secrets, and cultural diversity.  Her debut YA novel, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin features Karina Alahari and Malik Hilali—two protagonists on a trajectory to self-discovery and potential destruction. Running and unraveling riddles are what Malik does best, although he is also prone to panic attacks, dreaming, and wandering alone.  Having been beaten as a child for discussing his hallucinations, creating illusions, and communicating with supernatural beings called the grim folk, Malik’s powers have taken more from him than they have given. Karina, on the other hand, isRead More →

Despite there being few absolutes in this world, the human brain finds comfort in its ability to classify something as good or evil, right or wrong.  The unfamiliar or mysterious makes humans uneasy and fearful.  Shelby Mahurin explores this truth in her recent book Serpent and Dove, a story that takes place in a world of shadows, rituals, and magic. The characters that populate this setting in seventeenth-century France include Coco Monvoisin, a Dames Rouges—a red witch whose blood is a powerful ingredient in most enchantments. Wild, unpredictable, and sometimes dangerous, their magic is not bound by any laws or rules, unlike that of theRead More →

Love and Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford is a book filled with surprises, ironies, and truths—some dark, others lighter and more colorful.  Set in Midgeville, New York, Ford’s novel tells the story of sixteen-year-old Sam Weyward who is pretty sure he’s the only guy in his school “who can replace a faulty kick-down switch and also create the perfect smoky eye” (9).  Although readers might envy Sam’s 1965 Ford F100 cherry red stepside pickup that belonged to his great-grandfather, they will likely cringe at the family curse, loss, and death that Sam endures. According to the curse, if a Weyward falls in love beforeRead More →

To provide context and a back-story, Return to Fear Street by R.L. Stine begins in 1923 when phrases like “the bee’s knees” were popular, bobbed hair was vogue, the Yankees stadium opened in New York, and the stock market was booming. Two sisters—four years apart and as different from one another as possible—vie for attention and hope for happiness.  Rebecca, the favored daughter, is not only a princess in appearance but royalty in her father’s eyes, and Randolph Fear spares no expense when it comes to his eldest, more popular daughter. Propelled by both envy and resentment, Ruth-Ann Fear escapes into a little attic roomRead More →

Five hundred years ago when Jack was only a boy, he negotiated a deal with a pirate from the Otherworld who separated his body from his soul and sentenced him to the life of a lantern.  As a lantern, Jack straddles the world of the living and the dead and guards the crossroads between the mortal world and the Otherworld. In his fairly monotonous job, Jack maintains a sense of balance between the two realms.  Although most of the time he lives a sleepy existence, he has done everything from exporting entire herds of gremlins to clearing caves full of werewolves.  Once, he even single-handedlyRead More →

The daughter of two scientists, Shade Darby is thirteen years old when the Dome appears and sits astride the 101 at Perdido Beach, California.   Shade’s mother, Dr. Heather Darby of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, is called in to explain the Dome, an anomalous, impenetrable, initially opaque, and terrifying enclosure that captured all children younger than fifteen and ejected all persons older.  Because curiosity runs deep in her genetic makeup, each day Shade—against her mother’s orders—watches the terror that is the FAYZ: Fallout Alley Youth Zone, where Gaia, a demented young goddess rules , maiming and murdering.  Unlike the original healing and life-giving character inRead More →

“Most people, it seemed, dreamt and fantasized about being able to fly like a bird” (86). For Quinn Cutler, her dreams have always been about the ocean. Since she was a child, she’s had a deep connection to the sea, specifically the water by her family’s summer home. They haven’t been there in years, though, not after Quinn almost drowned because she couldn’t stay away from the waves. Years later and Quinn has adjusted to living a normal life in the city. Well, as normal as it can be when your dad is running for Congress. While in the limelight, her family tries to remainRead More →

Everyone loves a good ‘whodunit,’ and the most famous of them all are the gruesome murders of Jack the Ripper. Occurring in 1888, Jack the Ripper committed a string of murders so gruesome that “no one, not even the most criminally insane would attempt” (291). In Kerri Maniscalco’s debut novel, the first Young Adult acquisition under James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, she explores the adventures of Audrey Rose Wadsworth, a girl with the knowledge and determination to find the killer who alludes all. Audrey Rose is a young woman in high society, but she is not the typical young socialite. After her mother’s death yearsRead More →

It starts with a Ouija board. Maria and Lily, roommates and girlfriends at the prestigious Acheron Academy, buy the board for fun, but after it moving on it’s own, strange shadows on the walls, and a fallen chandelier, their lives begin to change…for the worse. Billed as a story of revenge, Robin Talley’s As I Descended is a riveting retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth for a modern audience. At Acheron, Delilah Dufrey is the queen. She’s ranked first in the Senior class, captain of the soccer team, and she’s the “unanimously elected homecoming queen” (33). She’s also the first in line for the Cawdor Kingsley FoundationRead More →