Spooky Teen Tales from Around the World

Ghosts, werewolves, and spells, oh my! This October, Publisher Spotlight would like to share some of our favorite young adult titles perfect for spooky season! Read on, and find a rich feminist retelling of an Irish legend, a tale of magic that transforms into a terrifying ghostly mystery, an eerie story of missing children mysteriously returned, and more…

From Germany’s Arctis Books comes a suspenseful gothic mystery that will keep readers guessing until the very end. In Grim, written by Sara B. Elfgren and translated for English readers by Judith Kiros, we meet 18-year-old Kasper – finally recovering from a deep depression – who has landed his dream job in a haunted house at the Swedish amusement park Gröna Lund. He befriends his coworker Iris, who turns out to be a fan of the death metal band Dark Cruelty – the band Kasper’s father Håkan used to belong to.

Grim book jacket

Thirty years earlier, in 1980s Stockholm, sixteen-year-old Håkan’s life changes when he meets Grim. They live and breathe music and have big plans for their death metal band. But it all comes to nothing when nineteen-year-old Grim dies and Håkan breaks up the band.

There are plenty of rumors to go around, but when Kasper tries to find out the truth about what really happened, his father refuses to talk. Together with Iris he delves into the myths and secrets surrounding the band, and his dad’s best friend Grim. Who was he? And why does he appear in Kasper’s dreams?

Another spooky title from Arctis, Roses & Violets, is the first in the fantastical Rosenholm Trilogy that comes with a thrilling murder mystery twist! Author Gry Kappel Jensen, translated here by Sharon E. Rhodes, weaves a tale full of twists and turns as we follow four girls – wealthy, stylish, but haunted Victoria; prickly, direct Malou; insecure, unworldly Kirstine; and cozy, maternal Chamomile – making their way to the mysterious Rosenholm Boarding School from different corners of Denmark. The one thing they have in common is the strange offer they have received to apply for a place at what will turn out to be a school for magic, deeply embedded in Nordic mythology. During the unorthodox application tests, it becomes apparent that a spirit is trying to establish contact with the girls. The spirit turns out to be that of a young girl who was murdered under mysterious circumstances at Rosenholm in the 1980s, and whose killer was never found. Her spirit is still haunting the school, and she is now urging the girls to bring justice and find her killer. Readers will be enthralled with the mystery and magic of this new trilogy opener.

Covers of Roses & Violets and Iron Wolf

Set in the same universe as her hit Raven Rings trilogy, Siri Pettersen, translated by Tara Chace, returns to Arctis with Book 1 of the spellbinding new Vardari trilogy – Iron Wolf! Juva, a young wolf hunter, is one of the best. But she doesn’t hunt just any wolves – her targets have magical blood. Blood that gives the women in her family – once genuine seers, now greedy swindlers she has vowed never to become – the power to predict the future, blood that allows the wealthy to travel through portals from one world to another. Blood that can even make someone live forever. When tragedy strikes and a dark secret is revealed, Juva is drawn into an ancient struggle to which her family holds the key. To survive, Juva must confront a terrifying childhood memory she’s fought to forget. Perfect for spooky fall nights, readers will love escaping into the dark mystery and magic of this thrilling tale.

Perfect for fans of supernatural suspense and any readers seeking an extra-spooky mystery, look no further than I Shall Awaken, by Katernina Sardicka with illustrations by Stepanka Coufalova. This young adult mystery horror from Albatros Media takes readers to a remote borderland village where the townspeople live by their own rules and believe in old gods.

Four children disappear without a trace, leaving their families distraught. Twelve years later on the winter solstice, three of them return, with no memory of what happened. Astrid, Tom, and Sonya – out of their time and out of their depth – must unite to overcome the prejudiced, superstitious villagers, discover what happened to them, and most importantly, locate the fourth missing child – Astrid’s brother Max. Twelve nights after the winter solstice is the most dangerous time of the year as the border between human world and underworld is at its thinnest. And the kids – now adults –will discover that the ghosts from their nightmares are all too real… and they’re waiting for them.

I Shall Awaken cover

For fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe, Natalie Haynes’ A Thousand Ships, and any readers who wonder “But what about her?”, look no further than this new title from Irish publisher Little Island, where award-winning Irish author Dierdre Sullivan returns with another dark and witchy feminist retelling, illustrated by Karen Vaughan.

‘And when you read about the things I did, the thing that I’ve become, try your best to reach out and to meet me. / Here. / Before all this. / I was a little girl. / And someone took me.’ Aífe pleads with the reader in the first chapter of Savage Her Reply. As told in the classic Irish fairy tale The Children of Lir, Aífe marries Lir, a king with four children by his previous wife. Jealous of his affection for his children, the witch Aífe turns them into swans for 900 years. And what’s the story from a feminst perspective? Actually… When Aífe’s sister dies, she is forced to marry her widower, the king Lir. She promised to protect her sister’s children, but Lir’s mistreatment drives Aífe to use her magic against them. Readers both familiar with the folktale and those just now discovering it will be enamored with the way complicated queen Aífe takes back her legacy and her voice.

Big Bad Me and Savage Her Reply covers

Finally, again from Little Island, comes Big Bad Me by Aislinn O’Loughlan, a smart and funny young adult story featuring werewolves, vampires, and embracing the monster inside of you – perfect for readers who prefer lighthearted Hocus Pocus, Twilight, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer to thrillers like Scream and A Quiet Place.

Evie Wilder just found out that she doesn’t actually have a rare form of diabetes like her adoptive mom and her sister Kate always said – she’s a werewolf. Now her mom’s gone missing, she has to go into hiding, and there’s not a single helpful vampire slayer to be found. With the help of Kevin, the dorky-hot manager of the guesthouse where she and her sister lie low, Evie starts to harness her wolfish side. But there’s something weird about Kevin…

Meanwhile, animal attacks are increasing, local teens are going missing, and Evie is about to find herself at the center of a supernatural showdown. Readers will love the exciting action and mystery entwined with classic paranormal romance subplots and an endearingly quippy sisterly bond.

We hope you enjoy these stories full of tricks and treats for teens, no matter the season. Happy reading, and happy Halloween!

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