#ICYMI: 8 Books You Might Have Missed

It’s almost the end of 2023 and time to submit your last carts for the year!  If you find yourself with extra funds, here are some titles from the last two years that you might have missed. Some are from debut authors that snuck under the radar, while others are old favorites with new projects.

    • There’s No Way I’d Die First
    • By Lisa Springer
    • Delacorte Press: 2023
    • ISBN: 9780593643174

    This debut is for the horror-obsessed teen and pulls out all the tropes in what ends up being a campy, gory romp. If the tropes aren’t enough of a tell, each chapter starts with a quote from a horror movie and gives a hint to upcoming events. This is an homage to all the greats, with references to Stephen King, Scream, a killer clown with superhuman strength that rivals Michael Myers, and a heavy dose of teen drama. It also tries to tie in some political and social commentary and a hint of romance. Does this require suspension of belief? Yes. That’s the point. Hand to your older teens or your horror movie buffs.

    • Holly Horror
    • by Michelle Jabé Corpora
    • Penguin Workshop, 2023
    • ISBN: 9780593386217

    A scary take on our patchwork-clad, bonnet-wearing gal, Holly Hobbie. After her parents split, Evie’s mom moves the family back to her hometown and into the Horror House, so named because Holly vanished from it decades before. As Evie pokes around in the attic and discovers more of Holly’s story, weird things start to happen to her. The book ends on a cliff-hanger and readers will eagerly await book two. For younger teens that are more into supernatural mysteries, rather than slasher stories.

    • 16 & Pregnant
    • by LaLa Thomas
    • MTV Books, 2023
    • ISBN: 9781665917278

    If you are a millennial, you probably remember when this show first aired back in 2009. The show followed teens that found themselves pregnant and documented how their lives were impacted, eventually leading to the spin-off series, Teen Mom. Two teens find themselves dealing with a surprise pregnancy that derails their life plans. All options are discussed and the book does not shy away from health challenges that can accompany a pregnancy. This is an empowering story about friendship and parenthood. This is a great option for those looking for relatable stories about teen pregnancy, as well as viewers of the MTV show. This would also be a great option for parents and teens to read and discuss together.

    • Hotel Magnifique
    • by Emily J. Taylor
    • Razorbill, 2022
    • ISBN: 978059340515

    This 2022 debut is Caraval meets Howl’s Moving Castle and my favorite cover of 2022. This dark fantasy features a magical hotel that moves to a new place every night. Employees of the hotel are magically bound to service and although the hotel is gorgeous and luxurious, it’s a gilded prison. Franco-philes and fans of lush, character-driven fantasy will devour this. Additionally, the stunning cover makes this an easy book to hand-sell.

    • A Million to One
    • by Adiba Jaigirdar
    • Harperteen, 2022
    • ISBN: 978006291632

    Published right before the end of 2022, I think this one snuck past a lot of people. Take a diverse group of teens, put them on the Titanic and add in a heist. Jaigirdar’s previous YA novels have been sapphic romances–here she moves more into action and historical fiction territory. This reads quickly and is a nice option for younger teens that enjoy heists or books about the Titanic. 

    • Something More
    • by Jackie Khalileh
    • Tundra Books, 2023
    • ISBN: 9781774882139

    This romance is about a Palestinian-Canadian teen, newly diagnosed as autistic. She makes a list of all the things she wants to accomplish in high school before she graduates. She quickly learns there is no guidebook for matters of the heart when she finds herself caught between two guys. This is a refreshing take on the classic coming of age story.

    • The Grimoire of Grave Fates
    • by Hanna Alkaf and Margaret Owen, et al.
    • Delacorte Press, 2023
    • ISBN: 9780593427453

    If you have teens looking for a Harry Potter-esque story, hand them this one. It checks all the boxes: a magical boarding school that flies around à la Howl’s Moving Castle or the aforementioned Hotel Magnifique, an evil professor, a murder mystery, and magical beasts. This isn’t really a short story collection, nor is it a traditional novel. Each chapter is by a different YA author and features a different character that propels the plot forward. Some stories are stronger than others–I need a whole book about Diego, please! This collaborative effort has something for everyone and is a great option for younger teens.

    • A Heavy Dose of Allison Tandy
    • by Jeff Bishop
    • Putnam, 2022
    • ISBN: 9781984812940

    Don’t be fooled by the cotton candy cover!  This book is a lot of things–technically it’s speculative fiction. You could also consider it a romantic comedy. It should be about a boy having the best time of his life, the summer after his senior year. But ultimately, it’s about a boy that suffers a torn ACL, leaving him stuck on the couch recovering from surgery, while dealing with a really bad breakup with his girlfriend, who happens to be in a coma from a car accident, which makes it pretty weird that Cam can see and talk to her while on his sofa. Tandy is chaotic and will have you laughing and weeping, reminiscent of the John Hughes movies referenced throughout. This was my favorite debut of 2022 and one of my favorites of the year. Hand to your older teens– especially your broken-hearted high school seniors

    -Megan Nigh

    5 Haunting Summer Reads to Recommend

    Summer is here and the temperatures are rising. Looking to “chill” with some creepy stories to read or recommend? Here are few that may just be sitting on your shelf waiting for the next reader.

    • Now Entering Addamsville
    • By Francesca Zappia
    • Publisher: Greenwillow Books
    • Release Date: October 1, 2019
    • Reading Level: Gr. 9-12
    • ISBN: 9780062935274

    Zora lives in a small, insular community where everyone knows your name. Unfortunately, with her last name, that is not a good thing. Zora is a Novak. Her father, soon to be released from jail, is known for conning many in the town. Her mother is known for mysteriously disappearing in the town’s creepy woods. Twice. Meanwhile, Zora is known for being nearby when things catch on fire. She can see ghosts and secretly hunts “firestarters”. When the school janitor is murdered, and a group of ghost hunters arrive in town, Zora is forced to team up with her annoying cousin to protect her home. 

    This witty mystery is creepy and fresh. The rag-tag “Scooby Gang” of characters that join forces are totally lovable. Put this book in the hands of fans of Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    • The Haunted
    • By Danielle Vega
    • Publisher: Razorbill
    • Release Date: June 4, 2019
    • Reading Level: Gr. 9-up
    • ISBN: 978045181467

    Hendricks is supposed to be escaping a traumatic past. But her “new” house, a fixer-upper with dark secrets, is just a little too haunted. Rather than enjoying her new friends, Hendricks is forced to uncover the mystery surrounding her infamous house before it is too late. 

    This is a deliciously creepy ghost story that will leave readers with goose-bumps. Put this book in the hands of readers who loved Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare or Asylum by Madeleine Roux.

    • Sawgirl Girls
    • By Claire Legrand
    • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
    • Release Date: October 2, 2018
    • Reading Level: Gr. 9-12
    • ISBN: 978006266601

    Sawkill Rock appears idyllic and pastual. However, it is also where girls disappear. Legend tells of a terrifying evil that controls the land. Now, three girls with little in common must access their unknown strength to stay alive.

    Feminist and fierce, this is a book you won’t soon forget. Be prepared for twists, surprises, a little romance and a lot of violence. Read-a-likes for Sawkill Girls are Wilder Girls, The Dead and the DarkThe River Has Teeth.

    • The Heartwood Box
    • By Ann Aguirre
    • Publisher: Tor Teen
    • Release Date: July 9, 2019
    • Reading Level: Gr. 7-9
    • ISBN: 9780765397645

    Araceli Flores’s parents are going to Venezuela. She’s going to a dusty old Victorian house in a tiny town filled with MISSING posters. Here is living with a great-aunt who leaves food out each day for a husband that has been missing decades. There are creepy lights in the woods, unexplained occurrences in the big house, and then she begins receiving letters from the past.

    This book is like a genre casserole. The author threw in some mystery, history, sci-fic, and romance to make a delicious read! Put this one in the hands of fans of Stranger Things.

    • Kingdom of the Wicked
    • by Kerri Maniscalco
    • Publisher: Jimmy Paterson
    • Release Date; October 27, 2020
    • Reading Level: Gr. 9-Up
    • ISBN: 9780316428460

    Emilia and her sister are secret witches. The story begins with Emilia finding her sister brutally murdered. She is broken-hearted and determined to find out what happened. Doing so requires her to step out of her comfort zone to uncover her sister’s secrets and possibly use forbidden magic.

    The world-building in this creepy fantasy is so good the reader may come close to forgetting they’re reading not reading realistic fiction. This story has it all: scares, mystery, and romance. Put this one in the hands of fans of Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber or The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.

    -Rachel Milburn