Southbury Teen Review Blog

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Stranger Reads November 2, 2017

Filed under: Books,Uncategorized — Heather @ 9:59 pm
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stranger reads

Are you obsessed with Netflix’s Stranger Things? Well, we are too! Here are some stranger reads to fill the time between binge watching…

Try these, for younger readers…


The Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting by Joe Ballerini

Disappointed babysitter. Check. Missing kid. Check. Baseball bat just in case. Check. Who knew there was a secret society of monster hunting babysitters? Not Kelly – and now she’s one of them!

babysitter's guide cover

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline moves into a creepy new house and finds a secret passage to an alternate version of her reality. Practically perfect, except for the fact that everyone has button eyes. Neil Gaiman is the master of a creepy tale and this one is perfect for the youngest fans of Stranger Things. 

coraline cover

The Jumbies by Tracey Bapiste

Jumbies are real, right? That’s what Corinne assumes until she follows one into the forest. Now there’s a mysterious stranger in her own house, possibly bewitching her father. Does Corinne possess the magic necessary to save the world?

jumbies cover

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

Master of comedy, Louis Sachar, takes a darker turn with this tale about a biological contagion right next to a middle school. Sound familiar? BFFs Tamaya and Marshall team up with bully Chad to find a solution.

fuzzy mud cover

The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brailler

This one’s a graphic novel – and a series! Described as Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets The Walking Dead. Follow Jack and his band of misfits as they save the world.

last kids on earth cover

For middle grade readers and beyond…

The Riverman by Aaron Starmer.

Alistair thinks his neighbor Fiona must be crazy when she tells him there’s a portal to another world in her basement. Guess who lives there and want to steal the souls of children? The Riverman! Fans of Stephen King’s It looking for a more gentle read will devour this trilogy…unless the Riverman does first.


riverman cover

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

In hopes of saving his sick baby brother Steve makes a deal with the wasp queen while dreaming. What could go wrong, right? Truly the stuff of nightmares, this one is not for the faint of heart!

nest cover

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Time travel. A mysterious island. Children with various gifts. This tale is spooky and sweet at the same time. Beautifully chilling black and white photographs add to the creep factor.

miss peregrine cover

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Bradbury’s classic tale about a mysterious and perhaps evil carnival arriving in town continues to haunt and enchant generations of readers.

something wicked cover

For more mature readers…

Replica by Lauren Oliver

A flip book told by dual narrators Gemma and Lyra. Lyra, aka 24, has escaped from a mysterious research facility with another boy, 72. Gemma’s life turns upside down when searching for answers she may not be ready to hear. Super cool format and visually stunning cover add to this story.

replica cover

Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn

A graphic novel for the older crowd, Paper Girls follows four teenage girls on bikes in the late 80s as they try to save the world from invasion on Halloween.

paper girls cover

The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue

Jack hasn’t been the same since he almost drowned three years ago. Now he’s drawing monsters that may or may not be coming to life. His family unravels as this thrilling tale evolves.

boy who drew monsters cover

Basically anything by the master of horror and suspense, Stephen King. Try It, Firestarter, Carrie, or any of his short story collections for a real scare.

stephen king books



The Diviners June 3, 2013

The Diviners by Libba Bray

the-divinersIt’s 1926.  The height of the Jazz Age.  Evie O”Neill arrives fresh from Ohio in NYC to live with her Uncle Will Fitzgerald.  He just happened to be curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult (locally know as the Museum of the Creepy Crawlies).  Coincidentally, Uncle Will is consulting on the recent spate of serial murders  gripping the city.  Evie soon finds herself thrust in the midst of the investigations into the Pentagram Killer.

A varied cast of characters including Ziegfeld girl Theta Knight, Evie’s best friend Mabel Rose and erstwhile pickpocket Sam Lloyd all become embroiled in the supernatural goings on.  Memphis Campbell and his younger brother Isaiah possess certain gifts similar to Evie’s.  Uncle Will’s assistant Jericho Jones may be hiding secrets as well.  Can Evie and co. solve the mystery and put an end to the killings before Naughty John makes quick work of them all?

Filled with more nifty lingo than you can shake a stick at, The Diviners is the cat’s pajamas!  Libba Bray has done it again, masterfully blending insidious horror with hilarious moments, and a hint of romance.  Evie O’Neill is “pos-i-lutely” an instant classic heroine.

“Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on.  Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells ’em off for a coupla stones.”


The Woman in Black by Susan Hill February 15, 2013

Filed under: Books — Heather @ 1:32 am
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womaninblackI’m sure you’ve seen the movie The Woman in Black starring Daniel Radcliffe, right?  Or you’ve heard of it, at least.  Being a self-proclaimed scary movie aficionado, this one is high on my list of movies to see.  Like any good librarian I just had to read the book first.  I’ll admit, ashamedly so or not, I had no idea this book existed before all the hype surrounding the movie began.  Written in 1983 by Susan Hill, The Woman in Black quickly attained classic ghost story status.  It has since been dramatized for the stage, becoming the second longest running West End stage production, surpassed only by Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap.  With this new-found information in hand and my hopes high, I became acquainted with Arthur Kipps and as he reminisced on his experience with the specter known as the Woman in Black.

Our story begins with Arthur, now comfortably middle aged, looking back upon a time in his life that has changed and haunted him ever since.  Young Arthur came to the town of Crythin Gifford as a solicitor, charged with the task of attending the funeral of one of the firm’s clients, Alice Drablow.  It is at the funeral he spies a woman dressed in mourning.  Not out of the ordinary, but something about this woman chills Arthur to the bone.  Events become progressively spooky as Mr. Kipps travels to the Drablow home, Eel Marsh House, surrounded by marsh and only accessible by a causeway.  While sorting through his client’s papers, Arthur begins to hear things.  Present are all the usual stock chilling sounds- children crying, footsteps, screams, the sound of a horse and cart that seems to be coming through the fog but never arrives.  By this time we are as unnerved as Mr. Kipps, our guide through this story.

Realizing something supernatural is occurring; Arthur attempts to question the locals about the previous inhabitants of the house.  Met with stonewalling indifference at every turn, he is finally able to piece together the tragic events.  It seems Mrs. Drablow’s sister Jennet Humfrye had a child out of wedlock.  Jennet acquiesces to her sisters will and gives her illegitimate child to the Drablows.  Unable to stay away, Jennet returns to see her child, in hopes of taking him away from Eel Marsh House.  Tragedy strikes as Jennet watches her child, the nursemaid, and pony cart are all lost to the marshes.  Inconsolable, Jennet curses the Drablows and Eel Marsh House.  It is her ghost haunts the grounds and anyone that comes to the house.  She is the Woman in Black.  Dun, dun, dun!

Arthur leaves Eel Marsh House and returns to London where he thinks he has escaped the Woman in Black and her dark legacy only to face her wrath years later.  One day Arthur glimpses the sinister visage of his nightmares while out with his family.  His wife and young child are killed in a carriage accident, as Jennet Humfrye claims two more victims.

Short in length, you’ll zoom through this novel, especially if read alone after dark.  Yes, it’s creepy, chillingly so. Full of traditional ghost story elements The Woman in Black does not disappoint.  Now I feel as though I’m prepared for the movie – bring it on!