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The Hearts We Sold

The Hearts We Sold cover

The Hearts We Sold

By Emily Lloyd-Jones

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Action & Adventure; Science Fiction; Horror; Social Themes: Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance

Grades: 10 & up


Dee Moreno is out of options. Her home life sucks (to put it mildly), and she’s about to get booted from her boarding school–the only place she’s ever felt free–for lack of funds. But this is a world where demons exist, and the demons are there to make deals: one human body part in exchange for one wish come true.


When Dee finally summons the courage to make a deal with one of these devils, she finds it may be more than she bargained for. The demon she approaches quickly informs her that he doesn’t trade in the usual appendages, he’s only interested in her heart. He’ll put her body in a kind of stasis for two years, and she’ll become part of his crew of “heartless”–teen soldiers sent to the demons’ home world to fight their enemies. All of the heartless have their reasons for making this deal, but it begs the question: what are you willing to give up to achieve your heart’s desire?

And the Trees Crept In

And the Trees Crept In coverAnd The Trees Crept In

By Dawn Kurtagich

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Teen Life: Personal Development

Grades: 10-12


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When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the “blood manor” is cursed. The creaking of the house and the stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too–the questions that Silla can’t ignore: Who is the beautiful boy that’s appeared from the woods? Who is the man that her little sister sees, but no one else? And why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer?





★“Kurtagich’s horror imagery is satisfying and affecting—her descriptions of the day-to-day decay the girls face are as rich and scary as the monstrous man who scuttles around on all fours and the teeming mud pits that are waiting in the woods. A great next read for teens who enjoy being scared.” —School Library Journal


“Will haunt readers with its raw emotions, palpable pain, and consistent character voices… Frightening and compelling, this gothic will easily sweep fans up into its creeping sense of hysteria.” —Kirkus Reviews


“A thought-provoking exploration of familial legacy and the sibling bond… Readers will find it hard to look away from this genuinely frightening story, as the sisters’ sanctuary becomes a nightmare.” —Publishers Weekly




The Dead House

dead houseThe Dead House

By Dawn Kurtagich

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Guidance/Health: Death, Teen Life: Family, Teen Life: Personal Development

Grades: 10-12


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Welcome to the Dead House.


Three students: dead.


Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace.


Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.”


Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t – because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.


Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.


Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary – and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds.



“Told through a retrospective collection of found evidence surrounding the deaths of several students in a boarding school fire, Kurtagich’s debut novel is deeply disturbing and fraught with emotion.” — Publishers Weekly


“This creepy boarding school novel meshes real world issues with a paranormal mystery in a fun but scary debut…  Fans of horror novels will appreciate the creepy photographs scattered throughout, and the multiple perspectives are smoothly integrated. A worthy addition to high school horror collections.”— School Library Journal



Lair of Dreams

lairLair of Dreams

By Libba Bray

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Social Studies: America, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Adventure: Mysteries

Grades: 10 & up


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After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities…


Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?



★ “The ambitiously broad focus of this novel strikes just the right balance in its division of narrative might, developing each of the dizzyingly large cast of diverse characters with an impressive attention to detail and with period-specific, witty dialogue. Weaving together a chilling mystery with a truly elusive solution, several poignant love stories, agonizing injustice, terrifyingly monstrous dreams, and even a cameo by legendary psychiatrist Carl Jung, this installment wraps enough up to satisfy but clearly sets the stage for more. How will readers stand the wait?” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review


★ “This breathtaking sequel to The Diviners is worth the wait…  A multilayered, character-driven, and richly rewarding installment to the paranormal historical fiction series.” — School Library Journal, starred review


★ “Bray tantalizes the reader, unraveling plot twists and secrets until the final hair-raising conclusion…  The story is written in flowing phrases with detailed descriptions that add depth and clarity to both the book’s setting and characters. Bray weaves connections between her numerous characters and explores friendships, dark secrets, and dramatic love interests. This book will fly off the shelves to fans of Bray, Cassandra Clare, and the supernatural.” — Voices of Youth Advocates, starred review



Dark Song

Dark Song

By Gail Giles

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality, Family Life: Discipline, Guidance/Health: Abuse

Grades: 10 – 17

Ames is not the person she was a few months ago. Her father lost his job, and her family is crumbling apart. Now, all she has is Marc. Marc, who loves her more than anything. Marc, who owns a gun collection. And he’ll stop at nothing–even using his guns–to get what he wants. Ames feels her parents have betrayed her with their lies and self-absorption, but is she prepared to make the ultimate betrayal against them?

In this controversial novel about a good-girl-gone-wrong, Gail Giles returns to the fast-paced, chilling writing that attracted so many fans to What Happened to Cass McBride?.


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*”Giles is a gifted writer of suspense. Her imagery sparkles, her character development is flawless, and this page-turner positively crackles with excitement… Suspense lovers will savor this fast-paced psychological thriller.” –VOYA, starred review

“The queen of YA thrillers does it again with another gripping page-turner in which love and danger meet.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Ames and the rest of the Ford family’s fall from grace makes for breathless, chilling reading.” –Publishers Weekly

“This fast-paced psychological thriller will leave readers disturbed, enthralled, and clamoring for more. Fans of the author’s What Happened to Cass McBride? (Little, Brown 2006) will thoroughly enjoy this chilling account of a good girl gone bad.” –School Library Journal

“In this day of investor fraud, mortgage foreclosures, and overnight wealth-to-poverty news stories, this timely riveting novel will resonate with readers” –Booklist

“[A] taut, skilled portrait of a family that finds under stress that it depended on good times and unquestioned lies for its stability… Readers sucked in by the emotional allure [will] relish teetering on the edge with Ames.” –The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Guardian of the Dead

Guardian of the DeadGuardian of the Dead

By Karen Healey

Genre: Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Teen Life: School; Adventure: Magic/Fantasy

Grades: 7 & Up


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Seventeen-year-old Ellie Spencer is just like any other teenager at her boarding school. She hangs out with her best friend Kevin, she obsesses over Mark, a cute and mysterious bad boy, and her biggest worry is her paper deadline.


But then everything changes. The news headlines are all abuzz about a local string of serial killings that all share the same morbid trademark: the victims were discovered with their eyes missing. Then a beautiful yet eerie woman enters Ellie’s circle of friends and develops an unhealthy fascination with Kevin, and a crazed old man grabs Ellie in a public square and shoves a tattered Bible into her hands, exclaiming, “You need it. It will save your soul.” Soon, Ellie finds herself plunged into a haunting world of vengeful fairies, Maori mythology, romance, betrayal, and an epic battle for immortality.



William C. Morris Award Finalist

Aurealis Award


★ “Healey has done a wonderful job… This story starts off fast and strong and just builds from there.” -SLJ


★ “This book offers likeable characters with mythical heritage, reminiscent of Percy Jackson, tying together myth and reality into a cohesive whole.”-VOYA


“Fast-paced adventure and an unfamiliar, frightening enemy set a new scene for teen urban fantasy.” –Kirkus


“Healey’s prose is a notch above others… the Maori legends… are a breath of fresh air.” –Booklist


“It’s been a long time since a debut novel grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go. From the first chilling mention of the Eyeslash Murderer (Note to self: Keep lights on) through the wonderfully evocative New Zealand setting, the fantastic Maori influence, the creepy school atmosphere, the introduction of funny, whip-smart characters, and the delicious, growing dread that something wicked this way comes, I was as hooked as hooked can be.” -Libba Bray, author of The Diviners


“Smart, hilarious, and wholly unique. Healey makes juxtaposing totally modern characters with numinous and ancient magic look effortless.” -Holly Black, author of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown


Year End Review: Five Tips for Horror Writers

With 2013 just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to sit back and reflect on another year of great content and great books. Check back twice daily in the last days of 2012 for a selection of our favorite posts from the past year!

USA Today has called BREED by Chase Novak “a thrill to read [that] keep an audience enraptured.” The New York Times‘ Janet Maslin raves, “BREED is a foray into urbane horror, chicly ghoulish, with a malevolent emphasis on family values. “ Keep reading for Chase’s tips for writing a horror novel.

1. The requirements of good horror are not different from the requirements of fiction in general. Fresh language, believable characters, and a story that operates on more than one level –a story that has a meaning outside of and beyond the mechanics of the plot.

2.  If a paragraph can create that pleasurable rush of anxiety in you, probably others will get that lovely chill from it, too.

3. Sentences.  Fiction is made of sentences.  All fiction.  Building a novel out of weak or sloppy sentences is like building a house out of defective bricks.

4. Beware of concepts.  A cool idea does not necessarily lead to a good book. Figuring out the marketplace –vampires are in! no, zombies!  no, vampires!, no serial killers! –is for the marketing department, and books that begin with the writer trying to figure out what might get him or her onto some bandwagon are usually DOA.

5. Beware of formulas:  the books that last are the ones that are not really like other books.

CHASE NOVAK is the pseudonym for Scott Spencer. Spencer is the author of ten novels, including Endless Love, which has sold over two million copies to date, and the National Book Award finalist A Ship Made of Paper. He has written for Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The New Yorker, GQ, and Harper’s. BREED is his debut novel as Chase Novak.

The Diviners

The DivinersThe Diviners

By Libba Bray

Genre: Fantasy/Mystery

Curriculum Subjects: America, Self-Discovery, Mysteries

Grade: 10-12


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Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.”


When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer–if he doesn’t catch her first.




★ “Bray continues her winning streak with this heedlessly sprawling series starter set in Prohibition-era New York. . .It’s jake, baby.” – Booklist, starred review


★ “1920s New York thrums with giddy life in this gripping [novel]. . .The intricate plot and magnificently imagined details of character, dialogue and setting take hold and don’t let go. Not to be missed.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review


★ “The book is engrossing, spooky, and thought-provoking.” – Library Media Connection, starred review


★ “A literary tour-de-force [that] offers grand themes, complex characters, and suspense. . . An absolutely terrific read..” – School Library Journal, starred review


★ “Everyday moments and a romance or two help lighten the mood of this creepy, dark, twisted tale of things that go bump in the night.” – VOYA, starred review



What Happened to Cass McBride?

What Happened to Cass McBride?

By Gail Giles

Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery

Curriculum subjects: Mystery, Empathy

Grade: 10-12

2009 Garden State Teen Book Award nominee


“The setting is claustrophobic, the characters are complex and the story will keep readers on the edge of their seats,” KLIATT raved of this vivid, fast-paced psychological thriller in a starred review. Kyle Kirby has planned a cruel and unusual revenge on Cass McBride, the most popular girl in school, for the death of his brother David. He digs a hole. Kidnaps Cass. Puts her in a box–underground. He buries her alive. But lying in the deepest dark, Cass finds a weapon: she uses the power of words to keep her nemesis talking–and herself breathing–during the most harrowing 48 hours of her life.



★ “[An] outstanding psychological thriller.” –VOYA (starred review)







Scott Spencer wrote BREED under the pseudonym of Chase Novak. Keep reading to find out why.

When, after writing ten novels, a writer decides to publish under a different name, there will inevitably be some curiosity about what is behind the sudden change.

Thinking about my becoming Chase Novak, three things occur to me.   The first is, I have always (and I mean always) wanted a second identity.  I could go on and on about why, but, really, isn’t it more or less self-explanatory –and practically a universal fantasy?  (In other words: wouldn’t you like to be someone else, and also remain yourself?)

The second thing that occurs to me is that I have been assuming new identities my whole writing life.  Especially when I write novels in the first person, in which the narrator does all he can do to make a reader believe that “I” have burned down my girlfriend’s house, or run for Congress, or that someone very much like Bob Dylan is “my” father.

And, finally, Chase Novak stepped forward because “he” was willing –and eager! –to go places in a novel that Spencer would not have been able to reach.  Spencer is limited by the fact that he stands atop (or perhaps is buried beneath) the high, tottering stack of pages he has already written.  Novak has nothing on his mind but a mania to follow the nightmare logic of his most troubled thoughts and memories.  In other words, Spencer could not have written BREED.  It was up to Chase.

CHASE NOVAK is the pseudonym for Scott Spencer. Spencer is the author of ten novels, including Endless Love, which has sold over two million copies to date, and the National Book Award finalist A Ship Made of Paper. He has written for Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The New Yorker, GQ, and Harper’s.

BREED, praised by Janet Maslin of the New York Times as “a foray into urbane horror, chicly ghoulish, with a malevolent emphasis on family values, is his debut novel as Chase Novak.