November is upon us, and it’s time to put away those skull decorations and vulture wall hangings for another year. But if you’re having a hard time letting the Halloween season go, we’re here to offer some help! Here are three amazing books, covering all ages, that can help keep the spooky spirit of magic alive for a little longer. Snuggle up with a blanket, and don’t forget to leave a light on!
Middle Grade: The Haunting of Falcon House by Eugene Yelchin
A long undisturbed bedroom. A startling likeness. A mysterious friend.
When twelve-year-old Prince Lev Lvov goes to live with his aunt at Falcon House, he takes his rightful place as heir to the Lvov family estate. Prince Lev dreams of becoming a hero of Russia like his great ancestors. But he’ll discover that dark secrets haunt this house. Prince Lev is the only one who can set them free-will he be the hero his family needs?
My thoughts: Great story with a spooky vibe and fun ghost element. There is a lot of creepiness mixed into the descriptions of Falcon House which really brings it to life like another character. And the illustrations are just eerie enough to add an extra scare factor in. I think The Haunting of Falcon House is perfect for the 8-12 age range, but that older readers would also enjoy it (I did!). What makes it even cooler though is the fact that the story is based off of part of a book the author found when he was a kid, a sketchbook of a young Prince Lev, and those original sketches are the ones incorporated into the story. This brings a ring of truth into a fiction story that I really think readers will just eat up. If ghosts are your thing, don’t miss this one!
Young Adult: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.
Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.
The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…
My thoughts: This book is one of my favorite reads of the year. I really enjoyed the characters a lot, especially Alex and Nova, I could connect with them and relate, even in a magical setting. Alex has to deal with not only finding herself like any teen, but the consequences of some seriously disastrous actions. I loved the Bruja magic, the rituals were so awesome, and it felt like a new and fresh breath of magical story in a pretty saturated market. I also really enjoyed all the things that happened in Los Lagos. It is a deliciously creepy place, and all the different things the main characters encountered made for a great adventure. If you’re wanting some witchy magic to last into November, this is definitely a book to check out!
Adult: Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.
Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.
The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.
This chilling novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in mainstream horror and dark fantasy.
My thoughts: Guys, this book scared the crap out of me, no joke. All of it was creepy as hell and well written, but some of the scenes in the middle of the book, where the reader is not sure what exactly is happening, they definitely reminded me why I don’t often read horror. The fact that I was staying in a friend’s dark basement at the time of reading probably didn’t help matters either. Seriously though, this book was great, and I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and checked it out. Complex story, interesting characters that you quickly become invested in, and of course a delightfully scary witch. If you want to continue on with the ghoulish vibes of October, definitely check this book out, you won’t be disappointed.