We have finally trudged through the vast end-of-summer wasteland that is September and reached the Goblin City of October! Which basically means that as far as we’re concerned, it’s Halloween for the next 31 days. And that means that it’s time to remind you about All Hallow’s Read! All Hallows Read was started in 2010, when Neil Gaiman sensibly suggested that we start giving each other scary books during Halloween week.
We’re looking forward to being cryogenically thawed in a few hundred years, and listening to people complain about stores that put out their All Hallow’s Read decorations on the first of September, and helping children decorate the All Hallow’s Read tree with Neil Gaiman figurines… but here in the much-less-interesting present, we can only offer a list of books that might make appropriate gifts!
All Hallow’s Read: Adult Division
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman
Given that this whole wonderful holiday was Gaiman’s idea, we figured we should include one of his books. Luckily for us, this year he gave us one of his best yet. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is an adult horror about childhood, based on a story from Gaiman’s own youth, featuring his particular mix of terror, magic, and cats. In short, a perfect Halloween book!
by Michael Logan
Apocalypse Cow won the inaugural Terry Pratchett First Novel Award in 2011, and spawned reviews that were dense with bovine puns. We’ll avoid that here, and simply say that the book looks at a zombified version of mad cow disease that turns whole herds of cattle into murderous beasts, and leaves three unlikely (and most likely incompetent) heroes fighting to save humanity.
by Benjamin Percy
In Red Moon, Benjamin Percy combines a terrifying werewolf story with an equally frightening exploration of modern America’s government and culture. Along the way he introduces us to the lycan liberation movement, anti-lycan militias, and a tragic love affair between a human boy and his half-lycan sweetheart, whose past is more complicated than even she knows.
All Hallow’s Read: YA Suggestions!
17 & Gone
by Nova Ren Suma
Nova Ren Suma, who was selected to attend the 2012 Launch Pad NASA Workshop for Writers, delves into dark fears about aging in 17 & Gone. The closer Lauren gets to her 17th birthday, the more intense her visions become. And these aren’t happy daydreams—Lauren is seeing girls who went missing once they turned 17. Is Lauren doomed to join them? Or can she discover their fates, and change her own?
The Hunt for the Seventh
by Christine Morton-Shaw
This one had us at “garden full of creepy statues.” When Jim Brown’s father becomes a groundskeeper for an eerie estate, Jim tries to make the best of it by befriending Einstein, the gifted autistic boy who lies in the mansion. But the six dead children whose memorial statues dot the grounds have other ideas: they keep leaving Jim clues and urging him to “Find the Seventh.” Will Jim decipher their messages? What will happen if he fails?
The Monstrumologist Series
by Rick Yancey
The Printz Honor-award winning Monstrumologist Series imagines a late-Victorian America haunted by monsters, and monstrous humans. The four books in the series cover Anthrophagi, vampires, and aptly-named Isles of Blood as they follow the grisly adventures of apprentice monstrumologist Will Henry and his guardian, Dr. Warthrop.
by Madeleine Roux
Madeleine Roux’s Asylum takes the fondest dream of our collective nerdy childhood and handily turns it into the scariest collective nightmare. Dan Crawford is a teenage outcast eagerly anticipating his gifted summer program. When he arrives he quickly makes two friends, Abby and Jordan, and things seem to be looking up. But then the three discover that they’re going to be spending the summer in Brookline Dorm, which just happens to be a refurbishes insane asylum—and it seems as though some of the patients are still in residence, despite being dead. This book, which was really already creepy enough, is illustrated with actual found photographs of actual asylums. Which are probably actually haunted.
172 Hours on the Moon
by Johan Harstad
Johan Harstad’s 172 Hours on the Moon (known as DARLAH in its original Norwegian) is a sci-fi/horror hybrid about a sinister NASA mission. NASA announces a contest for kids between 14 and 18 years of age, with the promise that the winner will be sent to the moon. The three winners, from Norway, Japan, and France soon discover that the contest is not all it seems.
by Gwenda Bond
Gwenda Bond’s Blackwood gives us a new spin on the greatest historical mystery ever: what happened to the Roanoke Colony? Miranda Blackwood and Phillips Rawlings don’t fit in on Roanoke Island, but when 114 people suddenly vanish they’ll have to work together to uncover the secrets of the original Lost Colony, so the modern Lost Colony has a chance of coming back.