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Friday, August 9, 2013

Books for YA readers and younger

Only two zombie books? Oh, the times, they are a-changing. This list of best horror novels reviewed inBooklist from August 2011 to July 2013 has a particular psychological bent, revealing the minds of damaged survivors, lunatic schoolgirls, and maniacal fathers. Make a copy of this list and never sleep again.

 End GamesThe End Games. By T. Michael Martin. 2013. HarperCollins/Balzer and Bray, $17.99 (9780062201805). Gr. 9–12.

Michael has a unique way of keeping his mentally damaged five-year-old brother protected from the undead apocalypse: pretend like life’s a video game. Possibly the best zombie book published for YAs.

Gravediggers: Mountain of Bones.    By Christopher Krovatin. 2012. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $16.99 (9780062077400). Gr. 6–9.

For the age range, this is unusually serious stuff: a hiking retreat goes wrong thanks to a witch and a reanimated dance troupe. The tough wilderness survival element gives this real teeth.

Henry Franks. By Peter Adam Salomon. 2012. Flux, paper, $9.99 (9780738733364). Gr. 9–12.

After the car crash, it took 4,317 stitches to put Henry back together—and it takes about 300 pages to piece together his gruesome story, one involving morgues, a fast-food-devouring monster, and a mess of physical and emotional scars.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds. By Cat Winters. 2013. illus. Abrams/Amulet, $16.95 (9781419705304). Gr. 9–12.

The post-WWI Spanish flu epidemic has the spirit photography business booming, an unpleasant development for 16-year-old Mary, who begins suffering the tormented wails of her recently killed true love.

 The Isle of BloodThe Isle of Blood. By Rick Yancey. 2011. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (9781416984528). Gr. 9–12.

The third entry in the acclaimed Monstrumologist series somehow exceeds the high literary standards of its predecessors as Dr. Warthrop and his trusty charge, Will, head after the holy grail of monstrumology: the Unseen One.

Long Lankin. By Lindsey Barraclough. 2012. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763658083). Gr. 8–11.

Old-fashioned in the richest, moodiest of senses, this is a book to get lost in, as two sisters in 1958 Britain become involved in the witchcraft, exorcisms, and plagues surrounding a legendary murderous creature.

Scowler. By Daniel Kraus. 2013. Delacorte, $16.99 (9780385743099). Gr. 9–12.

In 1981, an Iowa family’s tenuous peace is shattered by two shocking events: a meteorite’s crash arrival and the return of a monstrous father. Kraus’ boldly visceral coming-of-age story explores the darkest spaces in family life and the shocking resilience of the human psyche.

Ten. By Gretchen McNeil. 2012. HarperCollins/Balzer and Bray, $17.99 (9780062118783). Gr. 8–11.

Ten teens at an exclusive house party watch a foreboding message on a DVD, the lights go out . . . and then the bodies begin to pile up, one by one. Worst. Party. Ever?

 The Watcher in the ShadowsThe Watcher in the Shadows. By Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Tr. by Lucia Graves. 2013. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316044769). Gr. 8–11.

In this tale of a young housekeeper hired on by an eccentric toy maker, Zafón hits every gothic note: castles, caves, lighthouses, woods, masked balls, and ventriloquist dummies.

You Know What You Have to Do. By Bonnie Shimko. 2013. Amazon/Skyscape, $17.99 (9781477816424). Gr. 9–12.

Beginning with the protagonist burning her neighbor alive, this novel dares to take us into the numb and only occasionally guilty mind of Maggie, a 15-year-old sociopath. This could be the closest thing out there to a YA American Psycho.

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