Hey there horror fans, I’m Jessica Avery and I’ll be delivering your weekly brief of all that’s ghastly and grim in the world of Horror. Whether you’re looking for a backlist book that will give you the willies, a terrifying new release, or the latest in horror community news, you’ll find it here in The Fright Stuff.
Once upon a time (lets not dwell on how much time), I was a tiny, voracious reader who was devouring her way through the middle grade and teen fiction sections of her school library. And I was completely obsessed with vampires. If there was a vampire book to be found in those two sections, I got my hands on it. To this day, Mary Downing Hahn’s Look for Me by Moonlight is still one of my favorite books to reread in the dead of winter.
Which is why I am absolutely ecstatic about all the amazing middle grade vampire books that are out or coming out this month. So you know what that means: it’s time for a rousing game of Kids vs. Vampires! For there is no greater foe of the fangy kind than a pack of determined pint-sized vampire hunters.
Bat Bookends by KnobCreekMetalArts
Not only are these batty bookends delightful in their own right, they fit perfectly with this week’s vampire theme! But these bats aren’t just cute, they’re also made of solid steel, so they’re more than sturdy enough to prop up even your heaviest horror reads. And if bats aren’t quite your thing, I highly recommend checking out the rest of the bookends in the shop as there are some other sets that are equally horror-ific.
No Gods for Drowning by Hailey Piper
I’m so excited that I’m finally going to get my hands on this book. I am a huge fan of Hailey Piper’s work at this point, so I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of No Gods for Drowning. In a world abandoned by its gods, Valentine is a city under siege by ancient monsters. And Lilac is one determined killer who, ironically, is trying to save Valentine the only way she can: with blood and the ritual sacrifice of human lives, even the lives of those Lilac loves. It’s her own friends who are hot on her trail, investigating the string of murders, and if Lilac wants to complete her mission uninterrupted she’ll have to stay one step ahead of them. Or add their bodies to the pile. But even Lilac may not understand the game that’s really afoot, her role in it, or the consequences of all the blood she’s spilt.
Direwood by Catherine Yu
Oh look more vampires! YA vampires this time, in Catherine Yu’s deliciously gothic, ’90s set novel about a young woman looking for her missing sister, Fiona. Fiona vanished one day following a strange string of events that Aja is sure has something to do with Fiona’s disappearance, even though everyone else in her life seems eager to dismiss them. Then Aja meets Padraic, the vampire who is the source of all the unnatural occurrences and, very possibly, the disappearance of Fiona and all the other teens who have gone missing. Aja knows she shouldn’t trust him, and she certainly shouldn’t let him lure her into the woods. But if she’s right, he might be her only means of finding Fiona, so she agrees. Aja has one week to resist Padraic’s attempts to seduce her, free the other missing kids, find her sister, and get out the woods, or she’ll be forced to join Padraic. Forever.
(Btw, If you had blood-sucking butterflies on your 2022 vampire bingo, this is the book for you)
For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!
Stories to Keep You Alive Despite Vampires by Ben Acker
Okay, so technically this book came out August 30th, not in September, but I’m including it, darn it. Because how cute is this collection of scary stories?! As you might guess, these tales of monsters and monstrous things are meant to help the unwary child who’s stumbled into a vampire’s nest make it out again without becoming a blood-flavored Capri Sun. Tell a vampire one good scary story every night and you might just buy yourself time to escape! Or so is the premise of Stories to Keep You Alive Despite Vampires, with its collection of stories about everything from ghosts and werewolves to a haunted mannequin and…a killer phone? So grab your copy, get to reading, and you just might make it till morning.
Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting by Roseanne A. Brown
If you are unfamiliar with the Rick Riordan Presents line of middle grade books, I highly recommend checking out this fantastically diverse collection of fantasy and sci-fi novels, more than a few of which definitely count as horror! In Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting, twelve-year-old Serwa is the descendent of generations of slayers tasked with hunting the Adze, shapeshifting vampires that posses the minds of their victims. But when her parents set out on a dangerous hunt to track down the obayifo who destroyed their home, rather than getting to hunt along side them, Serwa finds herself parked in some small town in Maryland with her aunt and cousin to live a boringly ordinary life until her parents get back. But when an adze turns up in Serwa’s new school, she’s suddenly on a hunt of her own, trying to turn her classmates in to monster hunters before everyone she knows becomes a vampire’s dinner.
The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron
Oops, not me sneaking a third new release into this week’s newsletter, but yes! The Vanquishers does indeed come out tomorrow, so be sure to add it to your list. Malika “Boog” Wilson is growing up in a world that has finally eradicated vampires after years of being hunted and besieged by the undead. They were wiped out by the Vanquishers, vampire hunters who Boog and her friends would give anything to be like, even though there are no more vampires to fight. In fact, most of her classmates’ families have given up on anti-vampire measures altogether, no longer relying on the precautions that prior generations counted on to survive. Except, that is, Boog’s parents, who still insist on early curfews (well before sunset) and wreaths of garlic. It’s embarrassing! But when one of her friends goes missing, Boog starts to reconsidered her parent’s insistence on outdated practices, and very seriously consider the possibility that vampires may not be as extinct as she’d been lead to believe.
Vampiric Vacation by Kiersten White (Sep 27)
Coming out at the end of this month is Vampiric Vacation, the second book in Kiersten White’s delightful Sinister Summer series! Dracula fans add this one to your list, because aside from featuring some familiar faces (sort of), it sounds honestly adorable and I can’t wait. Following the events of first book, Wretched Waterpark, the Sinister-Winterbottom siblings are off to the next stop on their odd (very odd) summer adventure: the Sanguine Spa. The owners, Mina and her sister Lucy (who has some unusual but definitely still human and not at all vampiric qualities) are watched over by their ominous guardian The Count, who helps them to manage the eerie spa. Suspicious that the spa might have something to do with their missing parents, the siblings set out to investigate under the guise of a scavenger hunt. But when Wil starts manifesting some very unsettling symptoms of a condition that starts with a V, the twins quickly realize that something even stranger than expected might be happening inside the walls of the Sanguine Spa.