Burden Falls by Kat Ellis

Creepy fun!

Ava lives with her Uncle Ty and his wife Carolyn. They became her guardians after her parents were killed in a car accident not long ago. They’re now moving into a cottage and out of the family ancestral manor to save money. Uncle Ty is a teacher at her school and that’s good and not so good, depending on the situation. Ava loves art and drawing and has applied to an art program that will only accept one student from her school. Freya happens to be another applicant and Ava and Freya aren’t kind to each other. Freya is a Miller and Ava is a Thorn. The two families have a long-standing feud and no one is sure what exactly started it. Freya’s father ran into the car that Ava’s parents and Ava were in when they died. Ava blames him for her parents’ deaths. A girl is found dead and soon more deaths follow. The supernatural legends run deep in this story and Ava is right in the middle of it all. One of my favorite frightening reads to date and a deliciously creepy read for young adults, 5 stars!

Small Town Monsters by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Wonderfully creepy!

Dedicated to Ed and Lorraine Warren, which opens up a feeling of foreboding. Vera’s parents are known far and wide as demon hunters and the other students and the entire community treat Vera like she’s a freak. One day at school, Vera notices the all-popular Max staring at her. She’s dumbfounded. Eventually, Max gets up enough nerve to catch Vera at her job working at a neighboring community’s hospital. He explains that he needs her parents’ help dealing with his mom, who is completely terrifying Max. He’s worried his mom will harm his little sister Chloe. Vera goes to Max’s house and immediately after calls her parents for help. They’re on a case in Barcelona and won’t be home for almost a week. It seems that Vera and Max might be on their own. This story became more interesting the longer I read and I didn’t want to put it down! The mystery and the paranormal build a wonderfully creepy young adult horror story, 5 stars!

Seven Dirty Secrets by Natalie Richards

A fun, fantastic horror story!

Cleo gets done showering and sees a gift- wrapped package on the bathroom sink that wasn’t there before she got in the shower. She assumes it’s from a family member or friend but when she asks about it, no one has any idea about the package. This freaks Cleo out so she calls the police and the cop is respectful and helps her realize that she did the right thing by calling. No victim shaming. Her best friend Hope shows up in the meantime. The officer finds a few windows unlocked in her house but nothing else. After the officer leaves, the two friends find another box containing a scavenger hunt clue like the first package. The hunt grows creepier as the clues dredge up memories that Cleo would like to forget. This mystery gets more interesting as the creep factor cranks up! A fun, fantastic horror story, 5 stars!

Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Sarcastic and tough, Lola has developed these survival skills since she’s pretty much left on her own all of the time. Her mother left when she was five and her father is a busy film director. When she finds her father stabbed during an attack, she’s sent to stay with her maternal grandmother in Harrow Lake; the remote town that was made famous by her father’s movie, Nightjar. Nightjar is a horror movie that gave Harrow Lake fame and Lola’s mother was the main character. Lola has never known her grandmother and when she meets her it’s weird, awkward, and unwelcoming. Her suitcase disappears and the more she explores the town, the stranger it seems. Lola begins to hear chattering sounds and sees and carries on conversations with her long-ago imaginary friend from her childhood. She has vivid dreams and starts to question the fact that maybe Harrow Lake is making her crazy. Secrets unraveled and revealed bring resolution to this unique horror mystery, 5 stars!

Good Girls Die First by Kathryn Foxfield

Love the creepy cover!

Content warning for depictions of eating disorders, suicide, drunk-driving, date rape and drug and alcohol misuse.
The creepy cover promises something foreboding ahead. Several teens are mailed a note to meet at the old, abandoned pier where a carnival was burned down decades ago. The notes all ask the same question, “Can you keep a secret?” As they wander around the area, more teens appear, all with a similar note. As one of them walks on the pier, it collapses, trapping them away from the mainland. One of them dies, then another and the rest are scrambling to figure out how to get off of the island. Mysterious, suspenseful, and creepy! The cliffhanger at the end of chapter 17, when the group follows a trail of blood and ends up at the maze of mirrors, is deliciously ominous! This book is on the same line as It by Stephen King, but for young adults. Guilt feeds the dark entity and only one can survive. Creepy fun, 4 stars!

Only Ashes Remain by Rebecca Shaeffer

Nita finds Fabricio at INHUP and vows to kill him. She misses Kovit and emails back and forth with him. She also emails her mother and they plan to meet in Toronto. Nita is heartbroken after hearing about her father’s murder. Kovit and Nita team up and take down some people that are hunting them. The two of them go on a roller coaster ride of a relationship and they both learn and grow because of it. Nita comes to terms with her mother and her actions but doesn’t learn any more about her father’s death. Great sequel, 4 stars!

Not Even Bones by Rebecca Shaeffer

Nita listens to her Disney playlist while she dissects dead unnatural beings. She lives with her mother and helps her with the collecting and dissecting that she does for a living. Nita’s mother sells body parts on the black market on the dark web. The first chapter shows her cruelty when she brings home a creature that looks like he’s an eighteen-year-old human. She locks him in a newly purchased cage and handcuffs him. She wants to keep him alive as long as possible while she removes and sells pieces of his body. Nita can’t stand to see him suffer so she helps him escape. Her mother is furious but calm. Soon after, Nita is kidnapped and imprisoned. After witnessing torture and seeing some black market buyers, Nita manages to escape and takes her neighboring cellmate along. Through suspenseful danger and action, Nita discovers more information about her kidnapping. Twists and intrigue, 4 stars!

Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G. Thompson

Intense, suspenseful and genre-bending!
Amy returns home after six horrible years with her kidnapper. She was kidnapped along with her cousin Dee. A man obsessed with dolls, Kyle stalked twelve-year-old Dee and took the opportunity to grab her the first chance he got. He, Kyle, took Amy also, so he wouldn’t leave behind a witness. After Amy returns home, she struggles deeply with guilt, blackout episodes and trusting anyone enough to tell what happened during the six years she was away. This heartrending story mixes mystery, realistic fiction and horror together well to create a tale of brutality, psychopathic tendencies and coping skills. 5 stars for an intense read!

The Deep by Alma Katsu

Titanic horror/historical fiction

This story jumps back and forth in several different ways, mostly from 1912 to 1916 when the main characters are on the fateful journey of the Titanic in 1912 and four years later on the Brittanic. Desperation, sadness and selfishness turn anger into an invitation to the supernatural that becomes a possession causing chaos, confusion and harm. I truly didn’t see the possession coming but it all made sense in the end. I also didn’t realize that the Britannic also sunk which just added more tragedy to the story. Some of the storyline felt choppy, 3.5 stars.

The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers

The story feels a bit scattered because Jocey is relaying information that way. The more I read, the more I wondered what is holding Jocey together. She received a letter coded in a way that only herself, Noah and her deceased brother knew about so she’s bound and determined to find her brother alive. Jocey, Jack and Noah lived in a foster home together when they were younger. The three of them were best friends and stuck up for each other and trusted no one else. Joecey’s latest discovery has her traveling to the Peace Tower to hopefully find her brother or at least another clue. With Noah’s help, Jocey decodes and chases clues, tries to avoid danger and hunts for anything to do with Jack. If I say anymore, I’ll spoil the storyline. This story is a riddle with a unique and unexpected ending. The twist is mind-boggling and the author did a fantastic job pulling everything together, 5 stars for a wonderfully twisted mystery thriller.