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Teenreads Monthly Update

Late October
October 27, 2014

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Halloween Treats (and Tricks) from Teenreads!

Hi Teenreaders!

As it's the end of October, we have a small guess as to what’s on your mind: Halloween! I realize this holiday is awesome for many reasons --- it’s an excuse to eat ridiculous amounts of candy (I used to trade anything for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups), attend parties where you get to do semi-absurd things like bob for apples and “mummify” friends with toilet paper, and, of course, dress up in costumes.

This last one was always my favorite, despite my infinitely active sweet tooth. Growing up, I trick-or-treated as a beloved literary character (there’s a photo of me in costume above in the middle…see if you recognize her!), as well as Paul McCartney from the Beatles, complete with a cardboard guitar and a boombox; a box of Junior Mints and Homer Simpson, among others. I’ve more recently graduated to a bottle of ketchup, a zombie Miss America and Lisa Frank (the school supply queen from the '90s)…clearly, you can never get too old for Halloween.

At Teenreads, we decided to celebrate this spooktacular holiday in a few different ways:

1) THE FALL author Bethany Griffin and OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS author Jessica Verday talk all things eerie in our Edgar Allan Poe-themed side-by-side.

2) We highlight the best books about ghosts and spirits in our Beyond the Grave bookshelf.

3) Our monthly poll digs into your personal horror taste.

Plus, we asked some of our favorite people to talk costumes with us --- Teen Board members and your favorite authors! Teen Board members told us which YA characters they think would make for a show-stopping Halloween costume, and answers ranged from Scout from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee, because, as Sydney L. asks, “who doesn’t want to be a walking ham?” to Cinder for the Lunar Chronicles --- Christa O. says you could pull it off by making a cyborg hand and leg.

Meanwhile, we asked authors to tell us their favorite costumes as kids and teens, literary or otherwise. We give a taste of their answers below, but be sure to click here to see all of the scary/funny/nostalgic/ridiculous answers!

Colleen Gleason, THE SPIRITGLASS CHARADE: A Stoker & Holmes Novel:

My favorite childhood costume was dressing up as a witch, but I always wanted to be Maleficent from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. So as an adult I made my own Maleficent costume --- about ten years ago, before you could actually buy one!


As a little kid, I always liked to dress up in costumes that clashed with my wheelchair (i.e. football player, army soldier, surfer). I did this to rebel against the clichéd ideas that everyone and their mother used to suggest for me (i.e. race car driver --- actually, that's the only one people ever suggested).

Emmy Laybourne, MONUMENT 14:

One Halloween, my brother Sam and I dressed up together. Sam went as the Empire State Building and I was King Kong! We spent weeks making his costume out of thick foam core poster-board and duct tape --- then we got to draw on all the windows. I wore an excellent rubber gorilla mask and a chunky brown sweater. Sam could only walk in a stilted little shuffle, but we had a great time that year!


When I was ten, I dressed up as a book. I wrote and illustrated a story on giant pieces of paper and bound them in cardboard and affixed them to me, and as I trick-or-treated, I asked people to write reviews on the back of me. When I was 11, I dressed up as a jukebox. It was a head-to-toe colorful cardboard construction piece; impossible to sit down in. I carried a tape player in my pocket, and when people dropped coins in my UNICEF box, I would play a song on it!

Quite the mix! Do you have any Halloween costume ideas yet, book-related or otherwise? Let me know at, and I’d love to see a picture after the 31st (once you recover from your candy coma, that is). Also, if you're wondering about the photos on top, that's Rin Chupeco (THE GIRL FROM THE WELL) on the left, dressed as a Quina Quen from Final Fantasy IX, and Colleen Gleason (THE SPIRITGLASS CHARADE) on the right, dressed as Maleficent.

Happy Halloween, and happy reading!

--- Shara Zaval (


Get in the Mood for Halloween with our Thrills and Chills Contest! Enter NOW! is celebrating the season of ghouls and ghosts with our new feature, Thrills and Chills! Between now and Monday, November 3rd at noon ET, you can enter to win a bag perfect for trick-or-treating, filled with a few special sweet treats and some spooky reads that will help make the scariest season of them all last well beyond Halloween.

This year's featured Thrills and Chills titles include:


Click here to enter the contest!

Beyond the Grave Bookshelf
What was that sound? Did it suddenly get a little bit cold in here? I swear I didn't leave all of the cabinet doors open when I left the house.

With Halloween just around the corner, things are starting to get a little bit spooky, and Teenreads is no exception. To celebrate the holiday, we've curated some of our favorite books that feature people, creatures or demons from "beyond the grave." Whether they're narrated by a ghost, take place in a cemetery or feature some unexpected person-spirit interactions, these books are sure to prepare you for the eeriest holiday of the year...and maybe leave you scrambling for a nightlight.
Click here to check out the bookshelf!

Side by Side: Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is famous for writing some of the eeriest poems and stories in English literature, rife with people being buried alive, talking ravens and mysterious detectives. Years later, his works are still frightening readers everywhere --- and inspiring a new generation of authors.

For our latest side-by-side, we talk to Bethany Griffin and Jessica Verday, both of whom based their latest YA novels on one of Poe’s masterpieces. Bethany Griffin reimagines the short story “The Fall of the House of Usher” in the tension-filled THE FALL, which follows a girl named Madeleine who is trapped in a living house that is slowly driving her mad. In OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS, Annabel discovers that her father’s two assistants --- Edgar and Allan --- are in fact two halves of the same person, and that they’re determined to commit the crimes described in Allan’s stories.

Click here to read the special feature!

REAL TALK Publishing --- Meet Them All!

We are so excited to have shared six REAL TALK Publishing interviews with fascinating people from all corners of the book world:

  • Sarah Harrison Smith: Children's Book Editor for the New York Times
  • Chip Kidd: Associate Art Director at Alfred A. Knopf
  • Barbara Marcus: President and Publisher of Random House Children's Division
  • Walter Mayes: School Librarian
  • Annie Philbrick: Bookstore Owner
  • May Wuthrich: Audiobook Producer and Director

Click here to check out the feature, discover the people behind the books and get a sneak peek inside the publishing industry.


What's New at the Teenreads Blog!

Guest Blog Post: Suzanne and Melanie Brockmann Interview Each Other --- Mother and daughter team behind NIGHT SKY interview each other about the writing process.

Guest Blog Post: Janice Gable Bashman on Strong YA Heroines --- Author of PREDATOR writes about why strong YA heroines are so important and shares her thoughts on some of the kick-butt heroines that she loves most.

Click here for the Teenreads Blog!

Teen Board Question and Reviews

--- Our October Teen Board Question: What book character do you think would make the best (or funniest, spookiest or most clever) Halloween costume, and why? Christa O. said Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles series, Sydney L. said she'd want to be Scout from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (as she puts it, "Who doesn't want to be a walking ham?"), and Pranshu A. said Eric from DIVERGENT. Click here to read everyone's full answers.

--- Reviews: We've had many great teen reviews this month! Kate F. recommends STITCHING SNOW for its "strong characters" and a story that "doesn't let go." Mary M. praises PLAYING FOR THE COMMANDANT for its storyline that is "engaging and fraught with tension." Rachel D. loves THE HOCKEY SAINT for making her "never want to skip a page."

Click here to read the full reviews and many more!


Now in Stores: MORTAL GODS by Kendare Blake

MORTAL GODS by Kendare Blake (Young Adult, Fantasy)

As ancient immortals are left reeling, a modern Athena and Hermes search the world for answers in MORTAL GODS, the second Goddess War novel by Kendare Blake, acclaimed author of ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD.

Ares, god of war, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She’s ready to wage a war of her own, and she’s never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she’ll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.

Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can’t have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra's hate will get them all killed.

The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can’t, fates far worse than death await.

Click here to learn more about the book!


GLORY O'BRIEN'S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE by A. S. King (Young Adult Fiction)

Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities --- but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she's never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way...until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person's infinite past and future. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference.

Click here to read more about the book!

Books on Screen
It's October, the spookiest month of the year for movies! If you're feeling daring, check out Dracula Untold, which offers a unique twist on the most classic horror story there is, the tale of Dracula. See if you can keep your eyes open the whole time.

Or if you've spilled your pumpkin spice latte, can't figure out your Halloween costume and are just having a terrible time, make sure to go see Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and watch Alexander and his family have the worst day ever. It's sure to cheer up a lousy day.

So grab a handful of pumpkin shaped Halloween candy and head out to see some books on screen!


Click here to read books on screen!

October's Cool and New Roundup

Our October roundup includes BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE by Maggie Stiefvater, the third installment of The Raven Cycle series; LAUGHING AT MY NIGHTMARE by Shane Burcaw, the hilarious memoir of a 21-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy; and THE PERFECTIONISTS, the first in a new series by Pretty Little Liars author Sara Shepard.

Among the paperback titles released this month, we have THE CLOCKWORK SCARAB by Colleen Gleason, the latest Stoker & Holmes mystery; THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE DAMNED by Jessica Verday, a suspenseful companion novel to the Hollow trilogy; and GABI, A GIRL IN PIECES by Isabel Quintero, the fictional diary of Gabi’s last year in high school.

Click here to see October's Cool and New roundup!

Check Out Our Latest Reviews!

NEW! BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson (Youth Fiction)

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Reviewed by Brianna Robinson.


In this fast-paced survival story set in Hawaii, electronics fail worldwide, the islands become completely isolated and a strange starscape fills the sky. Leilani and her father embark on a nightmare odyssey from Oahu to their home on the Big Island. Leilani’s epilepsy holds a clue to the disaster, if only they can survive as the islands revert to earlier ways. Reviewed by Josh D., Teen Board Member.

NEW! SNOW LIKE ASHES by Sara Raasch (Fiction)

Sixteen years ago, the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since. Reviewed by Rebecca Munro.

NEW! MESSENGER OF FEAR by Michael Grant (Fiction)

Mara Todd wakes in a field of dead grass, a heavy mist pressing down on her. She is terrified, afraid that she is dead. She can’t remember who she is or anything about her past. Is it because of the boy that appears? He calls himself the Messenger of Fear. If the world does not bring justice to those who do evil, the Messenger will. He offers the wicked a game. If they win, they go free. If they lose, they will live their greatest fear. Either way, their sanity will be challenged. Reviewed by Sabrina Abballe.

NEW! LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES by Shannon Alexander (Young Adult Fiction)

As a senior at Brighton School of Mathematics and Science, Charlie Hanson knows he’ll graduate, go to MIT and inevitably discover solutions to the universe’s greatest unanswered questions. But Charlie’s future blurs the moment he reaches out to touch the tattoo on a beautiful girl’s neck. By the time he learns she's ill, Charlotte’s gravitational pull is too great to overcome. Soon he must choose between the familiar formulas he’s always relied on or the girl he’s falling for (at far more than 32 feet per second squared). Reviewed by Sydney L., Teen Board Member.

NEW! STITCHING SNOW by R.C. Lewis (Fiction)

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines. When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane's arrival was far from accidental, and she's pulled into the heart of a war she's risked everything to avoid. Reviewed by Kate F., Teen Board Member.


Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. As an Iranian American, she’s different enough; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when beautiful new girl Saskia shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

NEW! THE DOUBT FACTORY by Paolo Bacigalupi (Fiction)

Everything Alix knows about her life is a lie. At least that's what a mysterious young man who's stalking her keeps saying. But then she begins investigating the disturbing claims he makes against her father. Could her dad really be at the helm of a firm that distorts the truth and covers up wrongdoing by hugely profitable corporations that have allowed innocent victims to die? Is it possible that her father is the bad guy, and that the undeniably alluring criminal who calls himself Moses --- and his radical band of teen activists --- is right? Alix has to make a choice, and time is running out, but can she truly risk everything and blow the whistle on the man who loves her and raised her? Reviewed by Corinne Fox.

NEW! THE HOCKEY SAINT by Howard Shapiro (Fiction)

Twenty-one year old Jeremiah Jacobson is the world's best hockey player, but he wasn't prepared for the frenzy and scrutiny that came with that title. Tom Leonard is an average college sophomore... just a guy trying to find his place in the world as he sorts through issues that are both very real and seemingly insurmountable. Through a chance meeting, these two strike up an unlikely friendship. Their bond is tested when Tom discovers that his idol isn't as perfect up close as he seems from afar. With Jeremiah living a little too much in the moment and with his past catching up to him, will Tom be able to help him before it's too late? Reviewed by Rachel D., Teen Board Member.


Before, Hanna was going to be a famous concert pianist. She was going to wear her yellow dress to a dance. And she was going to dance with a boy. But then the Nazis came. Now it is up to Hanna to do all she can to keep her mother and sister alive, even if that means playing piano for the commandant and his guests. Staying alive isn’t supposed to include falling in love with the commandant’s son. But Karl Jager is beautiful, and his aloofness belies a secret. And war makes you do dangerous things. Reviewed by Mary M., Teen Board Member.

NEW! TRIAL BY FIRE by Josephine Angelini (Young Adult Fantasy)

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear. Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem --- one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily's other self in this alternate universe. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

NEW! VANGO: Between Sky and Earth by Timothee de Fombelle (Youth Fiction)

In a world between wars, a young man on the cusp of taking priestly vows is suddenly made a fugitive. Fleeing the accusations of police who blame him for a murder, as well as more sinister forces with darker intentions, Vango attempts to trace the secrets of his shrouded past and prove his innocence before all is lost. As he crisscrosses the continent via train, boat and even the Graf Zeppelin airship, his adventures take him from Parisian rooftops to Mediterranean islands to Scottish forests. A mysterious, unforgettable and romantic protagonist, Vango tells a thrilling story sure to captivate lovers of daring escapades and subversive heroes. Reviewed by Anita Lock.

NEW! OH YEAH, AUDREY! by Tucker Shaw (Young Adult Fiction)

As the cofounder of "Oh Yeah Audrey!", the successful Tumblr blog devoted to all things Audrey Hepburn, Gemma has traveled to New York in order to meet up with her fellow bloggers for the first time. She has meticulously planned out a 24-hour adventure in homage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s; however, her plans are derailed when a glamorous boy sweeps in and offers her the New York experience she’s always dreamed of. Gemma soon learns who her true friends are and that, sometimes, no matter where you go, you just end up finding yourself. Reviewed by Sydney L., Teen Board Member.

NEW! UNDIVIDED by Neal Shusterman (Young Adult Dystopian)

Proactive Citizenry, the company that created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, has a plan: to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies another shocking level of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, Risa and Lev uncover these startling secrets, enraged teens begin to march on Washington to demand justice and a better future. Reviewed by Aspen R., Teen Board Member.

NEW! HERO COMPLEX by Margaux Froley (Young Adult Fiction)

Less than two months have passed since Devon Mackintosh uncovered the truth about the apparent suicide of Keaton’s golden boy and her unrequited love, Hutch. But solving Hutch’s murder has put all eyes on her in the small Keaton School community. When she is knocked unconscious on a New Year’s Eve cruise, it’s clear that her life is in danger, too. In the aftermath of the attack, Devon must attend a weekly meeting with Dr. Jocelyn Hsu, a shrink who refuses to believe Devon’s account of the “accident.” Reviewed by Josh D., Teen Board Member.

NEW! TAKING FLIGHT: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela DePrince (Young Adult Memoir)

Michaela DePrince was known as girl Number 27 at the orphanage, where she was abandoned at a young age and tormented as a “devil child” for a skin condition that makes her skin appear spotted. But it was at the orphanage that Michaela would find a picture of a beautiful ballerina en pointe that would help change the course of her life. Reviewed by Anita Lock.

NEW! CHASING POWER by Sarah Beth Durst (Young Adult Supernatural Fiction)

Sixteen-year-old Kayla was born with the ability to move things with her mind --- things like credit cards and buttons on cash registers --- and she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again . . . which would mean grave danger for them both. Reviewed by Maya B., Teen Board Member.

NEW! THE SPIRITGLASS CHARADE by Colleen Gleason (Young Adult Supernatural Fiction)

Seventeen-year-old Willa Aston is obsessed with spiritual mediums, convinced she is speaking with her mother from beyond the grave. What seems like a case of spiritualist fraud quickly devolves into something far more menacing: someone is trying to make Willa "appear lunatic" using an innocent-looking spiritglass to control her. The list of clues piles up: an unexpected murder, a gang of pickpockets and the return of vampires to London. But are these events connected? Reviewed by Sally Tibbetts.

NEW! FAMOUS IN LOVE by Rebecca Serle (Young Adult Fiction)

When 17-year-old Paige Townsen gets plucked from obscurity to star in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a bustling movie set on the shores of Maui, and she is spending quality time with her costar Rainer Devon, one of People's Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie's famous love triangle, Paige's crazy new life begins to resemble her character's. Reviewed by Katherina T., Teen Board Member.

NEW! IN THE AFTERLIGHT: A Darkest Minds Novel by Alexandra Bracken (Young Adult Science Fiction)

Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. When the Children's League disbands, Ruby rises up as a leader and forms an unlikely allegiance with Liam's brother, Cole, who has a volatile secret of his own. But not everyone is supportive of the plan Ruby and Cole craft to free the camps. As tensions rise, competing ideals threaten the mission to uncover the cause of IANN, the disease that killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others with powers the government will kill to keep contained. With the fate of a generation in their hands, there is no room for error. One wrong move could be the spark that sets the world on fire. Reviewed by Christa O., Teen Board Member.



Throughout the year, we feature books from, our site for adult readers, that we think will have appeal to teen audiences.

Here are our latest featured titles:

THE BOY WHO KILLED DEMONS by Dave Zeltserman (Horror)

The setting is quiet Newton, Massachusetts, where nothing ever happens. Nothing, that is, until two months after Henry Dudlow’s 13th birthday, when his neighbor, Mr. Hanley, suddenly starts to look…different. While everyone else sees a balding man with a beer belly, Henry suddenly sees a nasty, bilious, rage-filled demon. Once Henry catches on to the real Mr. Hanley, he starts seeing demons all around him, and his boring, adolescent life is transformed. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

TUNNEL VISION by Aric Davis (Mystery)

It’s been 15 years since Mandy Reasoner was murdered --- a crime for which her boyfriend, Duke, was convicted. But when best friends Betty and June discover that Mandy was June’s long-forgotten aunt, they decide to pursue the mystery. Galvanized by the growing community who doubts the evidence against Duke, the two girls start on a path into a world of drugs and violence that will bring them not only to Duke himself but smack into Nickel, a tough-as-nails teenage P.I. attempting to keep his own life together. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Click here to read about Adult Books You Want to Read!

Vote in Our Poll!

October is here, and that means Halloween is just around the corner. Bring on the spooks and scares! What’s your favorite kind of horror story?

  • Good old-fashioned ghost stories --- Hopefully told around a campfire...good luck sleeping!
  • Stories that feature vampires, werewolves and zombies --- Creepy creatures always spice things up.
  • Tall Tales and Urban legends --- These definitely can’t be real...can they?
  • Stories with haunted houses --- Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
  • Spirit/Demon/Exorcism/Possession stories --- Nothing's more terrifying than being taken over from the inside.
Last month, we asked you what social media platforms you like to use. A whopping 70% of you said that you use YouTube, and 53% of you said you use both Facebook and Instagram. To see the full results, click here.
Click here to take our poll!

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