It’s almost September, kids! Are you ready to add more titles to your TBR? Since we’re so close to Halloween, publishers are putting out a lot of spooky books right now, so I’ve had to split up this month’s new releases into two separate posts. Today’s post is just for the first day of the month! Your wallets and library holds are going to be feeling the pressure tomorrow, so let’s take a look at some of the amazing books coming out.
Feathered Serpent and the Five Suns: A Mesoamerican Creation Myth by Duncan Tonatiuh; cover by Duncan Tonatiuh
Long ago, the gods of Mesoamerica set out to create humans. They tried many times during each sun, or age. When all their attempts failed and the gods grew tired, only one did not give up: Quetzalcóatl—the Feathered Serpent. To continue, he first had to retrieve the sacred bones of creation guarded by Mictlantecuhtli, lord of the underworld. Gathering his staff, shield, cloak, and shell ornament for good luck, Feathered Serpent embarked on the dangerous quest to create humankind.
Award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh brings to life the story of Feathered Serpent, one of the most important deities in ancient Mesoamerica. With his instantly recognizable, acclaimed art style and grand storytelling, Tonatiuh recounts a thrilling creation tale of epic proportions.
Don’t Turn Out the Lights: A Tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark edited by Jonathan Maberry; cover by Laura Mock
A life-size baby doll that stalks its prey. A flesh-hungry ogre who jingle jangles when he walks. A haunted house just dying for a visitor. What do all these things have in common?
They’re scarier in the dark!
In collaboration with the Horror Writers Association, New York Times bestselling author and master of horror Jonathan Maberry has compiled a terrifying collection of 35 gruesome stories — and illustrations from Iris Compiet — that will absolutely chill readers to the bone. So turn off your lamps, click on your flashlights, and prepare (if you dare) to be utterly spooked!
I’m a Zcary Vampire by José Carlos Andrés and Gómez; cover by Gómez
This little vampire is very scary! Or rather…ZCARY! To pass his Vampire Test, he must give someone the zcare of their life. If he fails, he’ll be sent to… Banana Peeler School! Can he pull off the biggest scare ever or will he fail the test?
Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos; cover credit pending
Caroline Lawson is three months away from freedom, otherwise known as graduation day. That’s when she’ll finally escape her rigid prep school and the parents who thought they could convert her to being straight.
Until then, Caroline is keeping her head down, pretending to be the perfect student even though she is crushed by her family and heartbroken over the girlfriend who left for California.
But when her best friend Madison disappears, Caroline feels compelled to get involved in the investigation. She has her own reasons not to trust the police, and she owes Madison — big time.
Suddenly Caroline realizes how little she knew of what her friend was up to. Caroline has some uncomfortable secrets about the hours before Madison disappeared, but they’re nothing compared to the secrets Madison has been hiding. And why does Mr. McCormack, their teacher, seem to know so much about them?
It’s only when Caroline discovers other missing girls that she begins to close in on the truth. Unlike Madison, the other girls are from the wrong side of the tracks. Unlike Madison’s, their disappearances haven’t received much attention. Caroline is determined to find out what happened to them and why no one seems to notice. But as every new discovery leads Caroline closer to the connection between these girls and Madison, she faces an unsettling truth.
There’s only one common denominator between the disappearances: Caroline herself.
If You Were Night by Muon Thi Van and Kelly Pousette; cover by Kelly Pousette
A poetic and evocative exploration of the natural world at night illustrated in illuminating paper-cut dioramas.
This dreamlike picture book asks the question: if you were night, what would you do? If you saw the moon tiptoe past your window, would you nestle under the covers? Or would you step outside to follow it? What if you felt a tail brush your ankle, would you freeze? Or skitter away? And if you saw an owl swoop from a branch, would you hide? Or join the hunt? All the while, the child pictured in the book chooses adventure, and thrillingly experiences a night like no other.
Mason Mooney: Paranormal Investigator by Seaerra Miller; cover by Seaerra Miller
Paranormal Investigator Mason Mooney is heartless, both figuratively and literally. He’s on a mission to prove to the Paranormal Society that he’s the best paranormal investigator around, but they’re not so sure. And they’re not the only ones.
Join Mason as he tackles ghosts, witches and grumpy teenagers to prove once and for all who the REAL talent in the world of paranormal creatures is. If anyone can take on the ghosts in the Grimbrook’s haunted house – it’s him. And no one else. But with an evil curse looming over him and the house’s inhabitants, is Mason a bit out of his depth? Or is this just the challenge he needs to finally see some sense?
It’s a Pumpkin! by Wendy McClure and Kate Kronreif; cover by Kate Kronreif
It’s big. It’s orange. But what is it?
When Field Mouse and Squirrel find something big, round, and orange in the middle of the road, it looks kind of familiar. Skunk is positive it’s a lamp, and Rabbit thinks it looks like a snack, but no one knows for sure. Luckily, there’s one thing they can all agree on: it’s the life of the party! Discover all of the ways you can use a pumpkin in this adorable fall adventure.
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes; cover credit pending
Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why — or even who Tobias Hawthorne is.
To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch — and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.
The Puppet’s Payback and Other Chilling Tales by Mary Downing Hahn; cover credit pending
The author of wildly popular ghost stories, Mary Downing Hahn has created a group of tales for fans of her “scary but not too scary” books. Even the stories without actual ghosts are spooky. Each tale turns something ordinary—a pigeon, a white dress, a stranger on the bus, a puppet—into a sinister link to to the supernatural. For the human characters, secrets from the past or careless behavior in the present can lead to serious trouble. All the stories have a young person as the central character, so all will resonate with young readers who enjoy the eerie, the creepy, and the otherworldly. In a concluding note, the author talks about how she came to write ghost stories.
Felix and the Monsters by Josh and Monica Holtsclaw; cover by Josh and Monica Holtsclaw
A lonely guard and his beloved keytar headline this timely, humorous look at the walls we create, what they mean, and why they might need to come down.
Felix’s job is to help guard the wall that protects everyone from the horrible monsters on the other side. But it’s a boring job—nothing ever happens at the wall, so he spends his time dreaming of playing his keytar in a band. One day, Felix hears music coming from the other side of the wall, and sets out to investigate. What he discovers will knock some sense into him and show him and the other guards a better way to deal with the unknown. Let the music begin!
Whispering Pines by Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski; cover by Diana Novich
Rae’s father vanished without a trace—and Rae knows what happened to him. But no one believes her when she says that her father didn’t run off, that he was actually taken. Now, a year of therapy later, Rae’s mother decides they need a fresh start, and so they move to a new town in the hope that life can return to normal.
The problem is, there is nothing normal about the town of Whispering Pines.
No one knows this better than Caden. He’s lived in Whispering Pines his entire life, and he’s seen more than his fair share of weird—starting with his own family, as the town is the perfect home base for his mother’s ghost hunting business.
When several kids go missing and then show up like zombies with their eyes removed, many locals brush it off. Just another day in Whispering Pines. But Caden has a dark secret, one that may explain why someone is stealing eyes. And Rae, who knows how it feels to not be believed, may be just the person Caden needs to help him put things right.
Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie; cover by Nicole Hower
Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone.
Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad’s ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.
Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something… and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas; cover by Mars Lauderbaugh
A trans boy determined to prove his gender to his traditional Latinx family summons a ghost who refuses to leave in this Own Voices LGBT paranormal YA novel, described as “Groundbreaking” by Entertainment Weekly.
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
The Collected by K. R. Alexander; cover credit pending
Something horrible happened to Josie — something so horrible she won’t talk about it. But when the horror returns for her little sister, Anna, she’s back in the battle against a fearsome force that manifests in diabolically deadly dolls.
It’s been five years since Josie squared off against the evil Beryl and her killer haunted dolls. She hasn’t talked about it since, and likes to pretend it didn’t happen. Too bad she didn’t tell her younger sister, Anna. Because Anna is now the one being drawn in to the evil — and the evil has some new tricks this time.
Spooky season is upon us, friends, and I can’t wait to dive into these books. Stay tuned for lots of reviews and another September New Releases post soon!