So it’s basically Halloween in my mind. I mean I love Pumpkins, fall and everything October, so I’m so happy the spooky season is here. I’m fairly hard to creep out but I love books that go for mystery not gore, that’s why I tend towards more MG here are some of my favorite picks.
1) City of Ghosts
This first book in Schwab’s Cassidy Blake Series all of the books are creepy I just found this book more creepy than the second one, the third and final book of the series comes out in April 2021 and I literally cannot wait that long.
Cassidy is just looking forward to a vacation at the beach. She needs a break from the ghosts that demand her attention both around her city and at school. Her break with her family is blissfully free of ghosts, except for her best friend, Jacob, who happens to be corporally challenged.
See Cassie almost died (did die but she doesn’t like to think about) about a year ago. Since then she’s been able to see ghosts. Another side effect of her almost dying, she and Jacob seem to be tangled up. She’s the only one who can see him, and he can read her mind. It works better than one would expect, they’ve set up a series of rules that govern their friendship. After all, being friends with a ghost needs some ground rules.
Yet another side effect of her almost dying Cassidy has been able to pass through something she calls The Veil, which separates the world of the living from the dead. She goes to the world of the dead to take pictures and find out if ghosts stories are true.
But her connection with The Veil and with Jacob are about to get a lot more complicated. Instead of her vacation to the beach, her parents let her know they going to be traveling to Edinburgh, Scottland to film their new TV show called The Inspecters. Cassidy’s parents are ghost hunters who can’t actually see ghosts but have written books on some of the world’s most haunted places.
Cassidy is apprehensive about going to Scotland, after all, which its rich and often violent history, she knows the city will be full of ghosts like she’s never seen before. But Cassidy doesn’t know how much of a surprise she’s in for when they arrive in Edinburgh and Cassidy meets a girl who like herself can cross through The Veil.
However Cassidy doesn’t just attract the attention of this new girl, now that she’s in Edinburgh, she’s caught the attention of one of the cities’ most powerful ghosts. Cassidy must face this ghost and win because she doesn’t realize until it is too late what the ghost really wants from her: her life.
2) Small Spaces
Truly terrifying and delightful, I’m looking forward to re-reading it again soon. Probably some of the best mystery and scares I’ve seen done in middle grade that I’ve read.
Ollie is reeling over losing someone in her family the year before, she wants to shut everyone out. She doesn’t even want to take part in things she used to love. They remind her too much of the person she lost. But soon she’ll find herself becoming part of a mystery after she finds a woman about to throw away a book by a river.
Ollie saves the book and starts reading it, forgetting her grief for a moment as she gets caught up in the story of a woman named Beth, two missing brothers and the mysterious ‘smiling man’.
Things get even weirder as Ollie goes on a class trip and discovers that the story in her book might be real. She finds the graves of the people she’s been reading about in the book. When the school bus she and her class are riding on breaks down, she wonders if the ‘smiling man’ might be real as well. Especially when her watch that has previously been broken starts a countdown to nightfall and flashes the word RUN.
Only Ollie and two of her classmates Coco and Brian decide to take the warning seriously, getting off the bus and heading into the woods, with a field of scarecrows watch them from the farm. The scarecrows aren’t what they seem, and neither is the farm, leaving Ollie, Coco, and Brian in for a night of terror as they try and solve the mystery of ‘the smiling man’ and Ollie’s book while making it out alive.
3) Stritch Scratch
So I really haven’t been scared by a book since Katherine Arden’s work last year, Scritch Scratch was scary, and then extra scary and sad once you found out the twist. Lindsay Currie did a great job with her historical research mixing that with middle school drama, and all the while making a believable yet tough to solve ghost story so props to her.
Claire’s father does ghost tours of Chicago, and she wants absolutly nothing to do with them. She’s a scientist and the stuff her dad talks about is just paranormal foolishness, right?
But one night she gets stuck helping her dad with a tour and some of the stuff he’s talking about starts to seem a little too real, she’s ready for the tour to be over and she thinks she’s made it through especially when she see a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the busy, there is something off about him, especially since at the end of the tour, he’s just gone.
Claire tries to think nothing of it at first, she must be imagining things, letting ghost stories she heard on the tour get the best of her, but then the scratching starts, then the whispers in the dark, the number 396 appearing everywhere she turns, and the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.
Claire realizes she’s being haunted and she’s got to find out what the boy from the bus wants before it’s too late.
4) Frozen: Forest of Shadows
I love Frozen everything and when COVID is over I want to get a Frozen tattoo, so when I heard this book was coming out I was happy I didn’t expect it to be creepy though however it takes some mysteries left unsolved by the movies and brings them forward in very intriguing and spooky ways.
Elsa has established herself as queen and is about to go on her first royal journey to several neighboring kingdoms. But as Elsa seems to be feeling like the perfect queen Anna feels like Elsa doesn’t need her.
Anna has been trying to find a way to convince Elsa to take her on the royal journey. But every time she tries to ask something comes up, and just when she seems to find the perfect time to ask, a mysterious illness strikes the kingdom, forcing all of Elsa attention to the sick animals and worried villagers.
When Anna finds a mysterious hidden room filled with magic spell books that she and Elsa’s mother collected and translated along with other mysterious old artifacts, Anna thinks she may have found the answer to the illness in a magic spell. A magic spell that is supposed to make your dreams come true.
The spell, however, ends up turning a nightmare into reality and causes more trouble than Anna could have ever imagined.
Filled with myth and all sorts of cool new creatures and people, this book is a great link between Frozen and Frozen 2. I also especially love how much it focuses on emotion and how our emotions can change our perception of reality.
I’d almost say this novel is creepier than the first because of the villains, they both are scary however I find this one more personally terrifying.
Having survived possessed scarecrows in October, along with beating the evil ‘Smiling Man’ Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready for a quiet winter break with Ollie and Coco’s parents at a newly opened ski resort Mount Hemlock Lodge.
But things start off weird, Coco sees what she thinks is a ghost on the road during their drive up the mountain and this shakes her up. But she’s not the only one, on their first night there Ollie starts having dreams of a strange frostbitten girl who is looking for her bones.
But when a snowstorm traps them in the lodge, they try to make the best of it, setting up board games and roasting smores, only to be interrupted by a ghost hunter, Mr. Voland, who claims the lodge has a sinister history.
Despite the owner’s denial of the possible ghosts, Ollie is intrigued, especially when the ghost hunter claims he can help Ollie connect with her mother. Brian and Coco, aren’t so sure but they want to support their friend. When Mr. Voland helps them escape from a malevolent ghost, he starts to earn their trust.
However, the little girl in Ollie’s dream warns her not to ‘listen to the dead voices’ and her mother’s old watch, which helped the group escape from the ‘Smiling Man’ warns her to BEWARE. There are even more questions about who or what they should help and trust.
And when the propane and generators start acting up, and the kids realize things might not be as they seem and they are in for a long night of ghostly adventures. They are about to find out that while they didn’t give a second thought to the world behind the mist after they escaped the ‘Smiling Man’. The shadow world may not have forgotten about them.