This continuation of last week’s post includes 2015 releases I’ve read and want to read. (Summaries are from Goodreads.)
Blood and Salt, by Kim Liggett: Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror. “When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.” These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.
Daughters unto Devils, by Amy Lukavics: When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly Ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.
The Dead House, by Dawn Kurtagich: Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .
The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen, by Katherine Howe: A haunting, contemporary love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Conversion. It’s summertime in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a séance at a psychic’s in the East Village, he meets a mysterious, intoxicatingly beautiful girl named Annie.
The Suffering (The Girl from the Well #2), by Rin Chupeco: It’s been two years since Tark Halloway’s nightmare ended. Free from the evil spirit that haunted him all his life, he now aids the ghostly Okiku and avenges the souls of innocent children by hunting down their murderers. But when Okiku becomes responsible for a death at his high school, Tark begins to wonder if they’re no better than the killers they seek out.
Sweet Madness, by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie: Sweet Madness is a retelling of the infamous Borden murders from the point of view of Lizzie’s Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan.
The Uninvited, by Cat Winters (categorized as adult fiction): From the award-winning author of In the Shadow of Blackbirds comes a stunning new novel—a masterfully crafted story of love, loss, and second chances. Set during the fear and panic of the Great Influenza of 1918, The Uninvited is part gothic ghost-story, part psychological thriller, perfect for those who loved The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield or The Vanishing by Wendy Webb.
The Unquiet, by Mikaela Everett: For most of her life, Lirael has been training to kill—and replace—a duplicate version of herself on a parallel Earth. She is the perfect sleeper-soldier. But she’s beginning to suspect she is not a good person. The two Earths are identical in almost every way. Two copies of every city, every building, even every person. But the people from the second Earth know something their duplicates do not—two versions of the same thing cannot exist.
We’ll Never Be Apart, by Emiko Jean: Murder. Fire. Revenge. That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything.
These Shallow Graves, by Jennifer Donnelly: Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.
A Thousand Nights, by E.K. Johnston: Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next. And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow.
It’s a Wonderful Death, by Sarah J. Schmitt: Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself.
MarcyKate Connolly’s Monstrous is fairy tale fantasy combined with a Frankenstein motif. A year ago, twelve-year-old Kymera was killed, along with her mother, by the evil wizard who abducts and murders girls, using their young blood as a powerful ingredient in his magic spells. Fortunately, her father has brought her back to life, but without her original human body and memories of her previous life. After many experiments joining her human parts with multiple animal parts, she has been recreated as a hybrid with patchwork skin, cat eyes, claws, wings, and a barbed tail. (Recommended with Alice Hoffman’s Nightbird here.)
A Curious Tale of the In-Between, by Lauren DeStefano: Pram Bellamy is special—she can talk to ghosts. She doesn’t have too many friends amongst the living, but that’s all right. She has her books, she has her aunts, and she has her best friend, the ghostly Felix.Then Pram meets Clarence, a boy from school who has also lost a parent and is looking for answers. Together they arrive at the door of the mysterious Lady Savant, who promises to help.
Dead Boy, by Laurel Gale: A darkly funny and literary debut novel about a dead boy named Crow who has a chance at friendship – and a chance at getting his life back. Just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a life. Crow Darlingson died in the 4th grade. But he’s still alive. And growing, actually. He can’t eat or taste anything, his body parts sometimes fall off (mom always sews them back on, though), and he’s only allowed to leave his house once per year, on Halloween.
Alyssa recommends new and upcoming releases in young adult fiction (and occasionally middle grade and adult). She thanks Edelweiss, NetGalley, the Boulder Book Store, and publishers for providing her with ARCs and DRCs for review purposes. Please follow her on Tumblr and Twitter.