Hello! Welcome to “Lacey Recommends,” a monthly column updating you on some of the latest and greatest books being published for girls.
It’s that time of year again — time to start thinking about costume ideas, stocking up on candy, and listening for the things that go “bump” in the night. If you’re looking for something to get you into the Halloween spirit, check out these Halloween books for girls. You’re sure to find something to curl up with while you sip a hot apple cider, whether you prefer silly, sweet, or spooky reads!
- Ghost hunter Kat Sinclair is back in her second adventure. In The Kat Sinclair Files #2: Graveyard Slot by Michelle Schusterman, she’s escaping her mom’s wedding preparations by joining her dad for a paranormal investigation in Brazil and Argentina — where she learns that the ghosts are just as creepy as the ones she encountered in Europe. Like the first book, this one is a mix of traditional storytelling, log entries, and emails.
- In Tania Unsworth’s novel, Brightwood, 11-year old Daisy has never left home, and she’s never met a single human being besides her mother. But then her mother doesn’t return from a routine shopping trip, and a stranger arrives at her home instead. Suddenly, her whole world is turned upside down, as she realizes that the talking paintings in her house, her best friend who is a ghost, and all of the other things about her life that she thought were “normal” are really quite strange. You can visit Daisy’s strange world, too — all you have to do is pick up the book!
- Journey’s End by Rachel Hawkins will bring you deep into Scottish myth and lore, where you’ll encounter castles, mystery, and maybe even some ghosts! Nolie is sucked into the adventure when she goes to stay with her father for the summer, who is studying “the boundary,” a mysterious fog off the shore of a tiny Scottish village. Locals say that if you go into the fog, you will never come back — but that’s before Albert, a boy who disappeared in 1914, returns, without aging a day and with no memory of the past 100 years. As the fog creeps closer and closer to shore, Nolie and Albert have to discover the secret to keeping their village safe.
Pointy hats and long black dresses are easy to find at this time of year. If you enjoy it when things get a little “witchy,” check out these fun books.
- When 12-year-old Molly shows up at Castle Hangnail‘s doorstep to fill the position of “wicked witch,” the minions who live there are doubtful that she is who she claims to be. For one thing, she seems too polite to be wicked. But they play along because they don’t want their castle to be shut down, helping Molly perform the tasks needed to win the Board of Magic’s approval. This book includes fun illustrations by the author, Ursula Vernon.
- In the Witch Wars by Sibeal Pounder, Tiga Whicabim doesn’t believe a stranger who tells her she is really a witch, until she notices that rearranging the letters in her name spells, “I am a Big Witch.” Soon, she is whisked off to another world and competing for the crown of Ritzy City. More silly than scary, this book is filled with fun and black-and-white illustrations. If you like it, watch for the next book in the series, Witch Switch, which goes on sale in February.
- The first book in the Witches of Benevento series by John Bemelmans Marciano and Sophie Blackall (illustrator of the Ivy & Bean series) begins with a warning: “Dear Reader, Benevento is an ordinary place, except for one extraordinary thing: it has more witches than anywhere else in the whole entire world.” Each book features a different character in a group of five cousins who constantly must keep one step ahead of the witches around every corner. The first three books in the series, Mischief Season, The All-Powerful Ring, and Beware the Clopper are all available now.
- If you’re looking for some Halloween fun that isn’t too scary to read in your bed after dark, check out the Pinkaboos series by Laura and Jake Gosselin, which features a vampire, skeleton, and monster who are training in “Fright School” to enter little girls’ dreams and scare away their nightmares. But to do that, they have to get their own fears under control first. The first two books, Bitterly and the Giant Problem and Belladonna and the Nightmare Academy are available now.
- There’s not much that’s creepier than an old, decaying building, and Secrets & Spies: Treason by Jo Macauley, The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox, and The Gallery by Laura Marx Fitgerald will each take you into a mysterious past. In Secrets & Spies, 14-year-old Beth is sent to investigate when a ghost ship drifts into her city’s port in 1664, and soon she is uncovering a plot to kill the King of England. Her adventures will take her right into the Tower of London, a castle rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of past royalty. The Gallery takes place in 1929, when 12-year-old Martha must go work with her mother in the kitchen of a mansion when she is kicked out of school. Soon, Martha realizes that Rose, the lady of the house — who never leaves her room — is trying to communicate through the paintings she sends down to the main floor of the house. Is Rose really a hermit, or is she being kept a prisoner in her own home? And in The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castleby Janet Fox, 12-year-old Katherine is sent to a drafty old Scottish castle to escape bombings during World War II. Although she wants to believe there is a logical explanation for it all, she begins to have her doubts when she hears shrieks in the castle at night, when the walls seem to have minds of their own, and when she encounters the silent children haunting the grounds. Is the headmistress harboring a Nazi spy, or is there something paranormal happening at the castle? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
What about you? Do you have a favorite spooky, Halloween read? Do you prefer scary or silly books at this time of year? Have you read any of the books above? Leave your comments below!
Lacey Louwagie is an adult writer and editor who got her first editing job with New Moon Girls in 2002. She is currently a reporter for a legal news organization, which means she reads a lot of lawsuits! She has also been a teen services librarian and coordinates book-related goodies for New Moon Girls. She is the author of “Rumpled,” a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin for ages 14 and up, and the co-editor of “Hungering & Thirsting for Justice: True Stories from Young Adult Catholics.”