American contemporary, Canadian, Ghost story, Horror, middle grade, Speculative Fiction/Sci-Fi

Middle Grade Monday: Halloween Edition


Anne Shirley isn’t the only one who loves October. I love everything that this, the most gilded of months, has lots to offer: brilliant foliage, black cat decorations as far as the eye can see, post-season baseball* and of course, a glut of spooky stories. Here are three new middle grade novels you should add to your read-it-under-the-covers list:

A Curious Tale of the In-Between


YA author Lauren DeStefano dips into middle grade fiction with a spine-tingling tale of friendship triumphing over loneliness and evil. Lonely children tend to be more likely to be befriended by ghosts, and such is the case of Pram, who’s ability to talk to ghosts catches the eye of a spiritualist and puts her in danger. DeStefano’s prose is spare but evocative, allowing the reader space to wonder and come to her own conclusions. The misty cover perfectly captures this gloomy yet gorgeous atmospheric read.

The Nest


Lest you forget that Canadian superstar Kenneth Oppel is a stylist, his latest book is a great reminder. Starkly different from the sprawling adventure stories that readers have perhaps come to expect from Oppel (such as Airborn and The Boundless), The Nest is internal, unsettling, and unforgettable. Comparisons to kid lit horror classics Coraline and Skellig are well-deserved. Creating a sense of the uncanny is a rare feat, and Oppel pulls it off effortlessly in a dark fable that both adults and children will savor.

Myles and the Monster Outside


Even younger children love to be scared, and Canadian author Phillipa Dowding delivers a suspenseful story with just enough chills to satisfy (but not terrify) the 7-10 year old set. Myles is a gentle, yearning character who spends one night trapped in the car pursued by a ghostly, red-eyed figure that his mother nor his siblings can see. Rest assured that the twist in this one pulls at the heart strings, but is unlikely to cause nightmares.

For more scary stories and terrifying tales, check out last year’s round-up

*Please be gentle, I’m still getting over the Jays’ loss on Friday.

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