Yes, I made up an excuse to post about a whole bunch of Spooky Season-appropriate books at once. Sue me.
Gallowgate by K.R. Alexander
Sebastian Wight is cursed. As a boy with the forbidden ability to traverse the lands of the dead, he must not only harness his newfound powers to fight the monster that stalks him, but also to navigate a creepy world of hunting ghosts and ghouls with his eccentric classmates.
And that’s only the start of his concerns.
There’s also the tangled on a boy who barely looks at him twice… and the deadly family history that brought him to the halls of Gallowgate Academy in the first place.
For Sebastian Wight, fighting the dead might be hard… but it’s dealing with the living that may bring him down.
The Mossheart’s Promise by Rebecca Mix
The mold takes all.
Twelve-year-old fairy Canary Mossheart knows this better than most. A few years ago, the mold took her papa, and even her famous, former-chosen-one Gran never found a cure. So when Ary’s beloved mama falls ill, Ary decides it’s taken enough. Armed with only a bucket and a prayer, she sneaks out to find a magical, underground lake whose healing waters are straight out of Gran’s adventures.
But when Ary gets there, the lake’s bone dry, and instead of healing waters, she finds a terrifying secret: Her entire world is actually trapped inside a giant terrarium—one they were meant to leave centuries ago. Worse, Gran knew and hid the truth, dooming Ary and her generation to a dying, rotting world.
Now, allied with only her doomsday-obsessed frenemy, a timid pill bug, and a particularly grumpy newt, Ary has one week to unravel the clues and find a way out of the terrarium—or they’ll be trapped for good.
Deephaven by Ethan M. Aldridge
When Guinevere “Nev” Tallow receives an acceptance letter to the exclusive Deephaven Academy, they know it’s the fresh start that they’ve been looking for.
But things are strange from the moment they arrive—the house itself seems to breathe, students whisper secrets in dark corridors, and the entire east wing of the academy is locked away for reasons no one wants to explain. And Nev knows something ragged stalks the shadowy corridors, something that sobs quietly and scratches at the walls, waiting to be released.
With the help of another first-year student, Nev takes it upon themselves to unravel the mysteries hidden in Deephaven’s halls. But will they risk their fresh start to bring the academy’s secret to light?
The House That Whispers by Lin Thompson
Eleven-year-old Simon and his siblings, Talia and Rose, are staying the week at Nanaleen’s century-old house. This time, though, it’s not their usual summer vacation trip. In fact, everything’s different. It’s fall, not summer. Mom and Dad are staying behind to have a “talk.” And Nanaleen’s house smells weird, plus she keeps forgetting things. And these aren’t the only things getting under Simon’s skin: He’s the only one who knows that his name is Simon, and that he and him pronouns are starting to feel right. But he’s not ready to add to the changes that are already in motion in his family.
To make matters worse, Simon keeps hearing a scratching in the walls, and shadows are beginning to build in the corners. He can’t shake the feeling that something is deeply wrong…and he’s determined to get to the bottom of it—which means launching a ghost hunt, with or without his sisters’ help. When Simon discovers the hidden story of his great-aunt Brie, he realizes that Brie’s life might hold answers to some of his worries. Is Brie’s ghost haunting the old O’Hagan house? And will Simon’s search for ghosts turn up more secrets than he ever expected?
The Otherwoods by Justine Pucella Winans
The Otherwoods is calling. And it won’t be ignored.
Some would call River Rydell a ‘chosen one’: born with the ability to see monsters and travel to a terrifying spirit world called The Otherwoods, they have all the makings of a hero. But River just calls themself unlucky. After all, it’s not like anyone actually believes River can see these things-or that anyone even believes monsters exist in the first place. So the way River sees it, it’s better to keep their head down and ignore anything Otherwoods related.
But The Otherwoods won’t be ignored any longer.
When River’s only friend (and crush) Avery is kidnapped and dragged into The Otherwoods by monsters, River has no choice but to confront the world they’ve seen only in their nightmares-but reality turns out be more horrifying than they could have ever imagined. With only their cat for protection and a wayward teen spirit as their guide, River must face the monsters of The Otherwoods and their own fears to save Avery and become the hero they were (unfortunately) destined to be.
Grounded for All Eternity by Darcy Marks
Malachi and his friends are just your regular average kids from hell. The suburbs that is, not the fiery pit part. But when Hell’s Bells ring out—signaling that a soul has escaped from one of the eternal circles, Mal and his friends can’t help but take the opportunity for a little adventure.
Before they know it, they’ve somehow slipped through the veil and found themselves in the middle of Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween night. And what’s even worse, they’ve managed to bring the escaped soul with them! As the essence of one of history’s greatest manipulators gains power by shifting the balance on Earth, Mal and his squad-mates—along with some new friends that they meet along the way—work desperately to trap the escapee, save the people of Earth from the forces of evil, and find the portal back to their own dimension.
If they can’t manage it before their parents realize they’re gone, they’ll be grounded for an eternity. And an eternity in hell is a very, very long time.
Night of the Living Queers ed. by Shelly Page and Alex Brown
No matter its name or occasion, Halloween is more than a Hallmark holiday, it’s a symbol of transformation. NIGHT OF THE LIVING QUEERS is a YA horror anthology that explores how Halloween can be more than just candies and frights, but a night where anything is possible. Each short story is told through the lens of a different BIPOC teen and the Halloween night that changes their lives forever. Creative, creepy, and queer, this collection brings fresh terror, heart, and humor to young adult literature.
Contributors include editors Alex Brown and Shelly Page, Kalynn Bayron, Ryan Douglass, Sara Farizan, Maya Gittelman, Kosoko Jackson, Em Liu, Vanessa Montalban, Ayida Shonibar, Tara Sim, Trang Thanh Tran, and Rebecca Kim Wells.
Your Lonely Nights Are Over by Adam Sass
Dearie and Cole are two popular (but sort of hated) queen bee boys of Stone Grove High School. But when the famed Mr. Sandman (a serial killer from the seventies) returns to their town—killing a fellow member of Queer Club and brutally hurting another—their whole lives change.
And when suspicion falls on Cole, Dearie and Cole will have to do whatever it takes to uncover the real killer, before they and the rest of Queer Club are hunted down. But they’re not getting away from the killer without a fight.
Along the way, their investigation leads them to face the deeper forces trying to tear their friendship apart, and the dark truth of Dearie’s relationship with his ex. When the world is stacked against them, and everyone is a possible suspect, can Dearie and Cole take down Mr. Sandman before it’s too late?
Damned if You Do by Alex Brown
Seven years ago, Cordelia Scott’s abusive father left without a word, and life has been normal ever since. The seventeen-year-old spends her days stage managing the school play (which is going great, if anyone asks), pining over her best friend, Veronica, and failing one too many pop quizzes.
She’s never been sad that her father left, but she knows something is…missing. When her school guidance counselor, Fred, reveals during a session that he’s actually a demon, she learns that something is indeed missing: a piece of her actual soul. Why? She unwittingly made a deal with him to make her father disappear – then bargained to have the memory erased. To make matters worse, Fred is here to make another bargain: Help him with a “little” demonic problem, or she’s doomed to spend eternity in Hell with her father.
The deal? Help Fred neutralize a rival demon, who means to do more harm in her hometown than your average demon deal.
The Forest Demands its Due by Kosoko Jackson
Regent Academy has a long and storied history in the small, sleepy town of Winslow, Vermont. But so does the vast, dense forest that surrounds its campus. While the prestigious school is known for molding teens into world leaders, its history is far more nefarious—and far more entangled with the forest—than anyone could begin to suspect.
Seventeen-year-old Douglas Jones wants nothing to do with Regent’s king-making; he’s just trying to forget his past and survive his present. But then a student is killed and, by the next day, no one remembers him ever exiting, except for Douglas and the groundskeeper’s son, Everett Everley. As Douglas begins to research what he finds to be a centuries-long curse in the town, he and Everett awaken a horror hidden within the forest. And to save the town, and the school, the forest wants more blood as payment. The question is, will Douglas and Everett be able to pay the debt?
Critically acclaimed author Kosoko Jackson explores how power can—and will—corrupt absolutely and how cycles of violence are perpetuated throughout history in this high-octane, page-turning dark academia mystery of murder and magic.
The Narrow by Kate Alice Marshall
Everyone has heard the story of the Narrow. The river that runs behind the Atwood School is only a few feet across and seemingly placid, but beneath the surface, the waters are deep and vicious. It’s said that no one who has fallen in has ever survived.
Eden White knows that isn’t true. Six years ago, she saw Delphine Fournier fall into the Narrow—and live.
Delphine now lives in careful isolation, sealed off from the world. Even a single drop of unpurified water could be deadly to her, and no one but Eden has any idea why. Eden has never told anyone what she saw or spoken to Delphine since, but now, unable to cover her tuition, she has to make a deal: her expenses will be paid in return for serving as a live-in companion to Delphine.
Eden finds herself drawn to the strange and mysterious girl, and the two of them begin to unravel each other’s secrets. Then Eden discovers what happened to the last girl who lived with Delphine: she was found half-drowned on dry land. Suddenly Eden is waking up to wet footprints tracking to the end of her bed, the sound of rain on the windows when the skies are clear, and a ghostly silhouette in her doorway. Something is haunting Delphine—and now it’s coming for Eden, too.
Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon
Beholder by Ryan La Sala
No one survived the party at the penthouse. Except Athan.
Athanasios “Athan” Bakirtzis has made it far in life relying on his charm and good looks, even securing an invitation to a mysterious penthouse soiree for New York City’s artsy elite. But when he sneaks off to the bathroom, he hears a slam, followed by a scream. Athan peers outside, only to be pushed back in by a boy his age. The boy gravely tells him not to open the door, then closes Athan in.
Outside the door, the party descends into chaos. Through hours of howls, laughter, and sobs, Athan stays hidden. When he finally emerges, he discovers a massacre where the corpses appear to have arranged themselves into a disturbingly elegant sculpture―and Athan’s mysterious savior is nowhere to be found. Athan―the only known survivor―is now the primary suspect.
In a race to prove his innocence, Athan is swept up in a supernatural mystery, one of secret occult societies and deadly eldritch horrors with rather distinctive taste. Something evil is waking up in the walls of New York City, and it’s compelling victims toward violence, chaos, and self-destruction. Bound to him by a mysterious hereditary power, Athan has felt this evil hiding behind his reflection his entire life, watching him. Waiting. Now, it’s taking over.
She is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran
When Jade Nguyen arrives in Vietnam for a visit with her estranged father, she has one goal: survive five weeks pretending to be a happy family in the French colonial house Ba is restoring. She’s always lied to fit in, so if she’s straight enough, Vietnamese enough, American enough, she can get out with the college money he promised.
But the house has other plans. Night after night, Jade wakes up paralyzed. The walls exude a thrumming sound while bugs leave their legs and feelers in places they don’t belong. She finds curious traces of her ancestors in the gardens they once tended. And at night Jade can’t ignore the ghost of the beautiful bride who leaves cryptic warnings: Don’t eat.
Neither Ba nor her sweet sister Lily believe that there is anything strange happening. With help from a delinquent girl, Jade will prove this house–the home they have always wanted–will not rest until it destroys them. Maybe, this time, she can keep her family together. As she roots out the house’s rot, she must also face the truth of who she is and who she must become to save them all.
This Pact is Not Ours by Zachary Sergi
The summer before college Luca Piccone returns to Copper Cove, the idyllic campsite he and his closest friends have visited every year since they were kids. To Luca, Copper Cove is like the setting of the fantasy movies he loves, a sanctuary, protected from the dangers of the outside world, where nothing goes wrong and everything stays the same.
But this year things are changing.
Desperate to make this summer the best one yet, Luca tries to ignore the freshly torn rifts within his tight friend group, the pangs of unrequited love, the anxiety attacks he thought he’d left back at school, and the shadows at the edge of the forest threatening to break free. Until he learns the terrible truth.
Every generation the children of four families are bound by a pact. A pact designed to keep the camp pristine and the monstrous force lurking beneath the campsite imprisoned. But in order to do this, an unthinkable price must be paid–a price that has soaked the previous generations in blood. Can Luca keep his friends, and his favorite place, from being ripped apart?
By the end of the summer, only one thing is for certain: Copper Cove will never be the same again.
The Last Girls Standing by Jennifer Dugan
You don’t usually meet the love of your life while running from masked men with machetes, but that’s exactly what happens to Sloan after surviving a ritual killing that left so many of her fellow summer camp counselors dead. Cherry, the only other survivor, becomes a lifeline for Sloan, their traumatic experience bonding them in ways no one else can understand.
As the girls get closer, and Sloan learns more about the motives behind the attack that brought them together, she begins to suspect that Cherry may be more than just a survivor—she may actually have been a part of it. Cherry tries to reassure her, but Sloan only becomes more distraught. Is this gaslighting or reality? Is Cherry a victim or a perpetrator? Is Sloan losing her mind, or seeing things clearly for the first time?
Against all odds, Sloan survived that hot summer night. But will she survive what comes next?
Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon
My Dear Henry by Kalynn Bayron
London, 1885. Gabriel Utterson, a 17-year-old law clerk, has returned to London for the first time since his life― and that of his dearest friend, Henry Jekyll―was derailed by a scandal that led to his and Henry’s expulsion from the London Medical School. Whispers about the true nature of Gabriel and Henry’s relationship have followed the boys for two years, and now Gabriel has a chance to start again.
But Gabriel doesn’t want to move on, not without Henry. His friend has become distant and cold since the disastrous events of the prior spring, and now his letters have stopped altogether. Desperate to discover what’s become of him, Gabriel takes to watching the Jekyll house.
In doing so, Gabriel meets Hyde, a a strangely familiar young man with white hair and a magnetic charisma. He claims to be friends with Henry, and Gabriel can’t help but begin to grow jealous at their apparent closeness, especially as Henry continues to act like Gabriel means nothing to him.
But the secret behind Henry’s apathy is only the first part of a deeper mystery that has begun to coalesce. Monsters of all kinds prowl within the London fog―and not all of them are out for blood…
Monstrous by Jessica Lewis
Don’t go outside past dark. Come straight home after church. And above all—never, ever, go into Red Wood.
These are the rules Latavia’s aunt tells her as soon as she arrives in Sanctum, Alabama for the summer. Weird, but Latavia isn’t here to solve any scary small town mysteries; she’s here for six weeks and six weeks only, and then she’s off to college and won’t look back. Still, Sanctum has its perks—mainly, the cute girl who works at the local ice cream shop.
But Latavia can’t ignore how strange her aunt’s tiny town is. The residents are suspicious of her and at times hostile, and it’s clear she’s some kind of outsider. That’s proven when Latavia is dragged out of her house in the dead of night, into the forbidden Red Wood, and presented as a human sacrifice to an ancient monster.
Latavia won’t be eaten without a fight. She’ll do whatever she has to do to survive—even if that includes making a deal with the monster, endangering her crush and family, and even risk turning into a monster herself.
Saint Juniper’s Folly by Alex Crespo
For Jaime, returning to the tiny Vermont town of Saint Juniper means returning to a past he’s spent eight years trying to forget. After shuttling between foster homes, he hopes he can make something out of this fresh start. But every gossip in town already knows his business, and with reminders of his past everywhere, he seeks out solitude into the nearby woods, called Saint Juniper’s Folly, and does not return.
For Theo, Saint Juniper means being stuck. He knows there’s more out there, but he’s scared to go find it. His senior year is going to be like all the rest, dull and claustrophobic. That is until he wanders into the Folly and stumbles on a haunted house with an acerbic yet handsome boy stuck—as in physically stuck—inside.
For Taylor, Saint Juniper is a mystery. The surrounding woods speak to her, while she tries—and fails—to practice the magic her dad banned from the house after her mother died. Taylor can’t seem break out of her spiral of grief, until a wide-eyed teenager barges into her life, rambling on about a haunted house, a trapped boy, and ghosts. He needs a witch.
The Folly and its ghosts will bring these three teenagers together. But they will each have to face their own internal struggles in order to forge a bond strong enough to escape the Folly’s shadows.
What Stalks Among Us by Sarah Hollowell
Best friends and high school seniors Sadie and Logan make their first mistake when they ditch their end-of-year field trip to the amusement park in favor of exploring some old, forgotten backroads. The last thing they expect to come across is a giant, abandoned corn maze.
But with a whole day of playing hooking unspooling before them, they make their second mistake. Or perhaps their third? Maybe even their fourth. Because Sadie and Logan have definitely entered this maze before. And again before that.
When they stumble on the corpses in the maze, identical to them in every way (if you can ignore the stab and gunshot wounds)–from their clothes to their hidden scars to their dyed hair, to that one missing tooth–they quickly realize they’ve not only entered this maze before, they’ve died in it too. A lot. And no matter what they try, they can’t figure out what—or who—is hunting them.
Deeply unnerving, clever, and atmospheric, this time-bending, mind-bending speculative horror is a poignant meditation on the lasting effects of trauma and the healing powers of connection and forgiveness—all while delivering more surprise twists and turns than a haunted corn maze.
Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon
How to Get Over the End of the World by Hal Schrieve
James Goldman, self-described neurotic goth gay transsexual stoner, is a senior in high school, and fully over it. He mostly ignores his classes at Cow Pie High, instead focusing on fundraising for the near-bankrupt local LGBTQ+ youth support group, Compton House, and attending punk shows with his friend-crush Ian and best friend Opal. But when James falls in love with Orsino, a homeschooled trans boy with telepathic powers and visions of the future, he wonders if the scope of what he believes possible is too small. Orsino, meanwhile, hopes that in James he has finally found someone who will be able to share the apocalyptic visions he has had to keep to himself, and better understand the powers they hold.
Blackwater by Jeannette Arroyo and Ren Graham
Riverdale meets Stranger Things in this debut queer YA graphic novel, developed from a hit webcomic. Set in the haunted town of Blackwater, Maine, two boys fall for each other as they dig for clues to a paranormal mystery.
Tony Price is a popular high school track star and occasional delinquent aching for his dad’s attention and approval. Eli Hirsch is a quiet boy with a chronic autoimmune disorder that has ravaged his health and social life. What happens when these two become unlikely friends (and a whole lot more . . .) in the spooky town of Blackwater, Maine? Werewolf curses, unsavory interactions with the quarterback of the football team, a ghostly fisherman haunting the harbor, and tons of high school drama.
All That Consumes Us by Erica Waters
Magni animi numquam moriuntur. Great minds never die.
The students in Corbin College’s elite academic society, Magni Viri, have it all—free tuition, inspirational professors, and dream jobs once they graduate. When first-gen college student Tara is offered a chance to enroll, she doesn’t hesitate.?
Except once she’s settled into the gorgeous Victorian dormitory, something strange starts to happen. She’s finally writing, but her stories are dark and twisted. Her dreams feel as if they could bury her alive. An unseen presence seems to stalk her through the halls.
And a chilling secret awaits Tara at the heart of Magni Viri—one that just might turn her nightmares into reality; one that might destroy her before she has a chance to escape.
Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon
The Society for Soulless Girls by Laura Steven
A sapphic enemies-to-lovers retelling of Jekyll & Hyde, this dark academia thriller follows two roommates who must solve an infamous cold case of serial murders on their campus after an arcane ritual gone wrong prompts another death.
Ten years ago, four students lost their lives in the infamous unsolved North Tower murders at the elite Carvell Academy of the Arts, forcing the school to close its doors.
Now Carvell is reopening, and fearless freshman Lottie Fitzwilliam is determined to find out what really happened. But when her beautiful but standoffish roommate, Alice Wolfe, stumbles upon a sinister soul-splitting ritual in a book hidden in Carvell’s library, the North Tower claims another victim. Is there a killer among them . . . or worse, within them?
Here Lies Olive by Kate Anderson
Growing up in the dark tourism capital of the United States, sixteen-year-old Olive should be comfortable with death. But ever since an allergic reaction almost sent her to the wrong side of the grass, she’s been terrified that there is no afterlife. And after the death of her surrogate grandmother, Olive has kept everyone at arm’s length because if there’s Nothing after we die, relationships and love can only end in sorrow.
When she summons a spirit to answer her questions about death, Olive meets Jay, a hitchhiking ghost trapped in the woods behind the poorhouse where he died. Olive agrees to help Jay find his unmarked grave in exchange for answers about the other side and what comes next.
Meanwhile, someone―or something―is targeting Olive’s classmates, and the longer Jay lingers, the more serious the attacks become. Blaming herself for having brought Jay back, Olive teams up with maybe-nemesis, maybe-crush Maren, ex-best friend Davis, and new girl Vanessa to free Jay’s spirit before he’s trapped as a malevolent shade and the attacks turn deadly. But in doing so, Olive must face her fear of death and risk losing another person she loves to the Nothing.
Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon
You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kalynn Bayron
Charity Curtis has the summer job of her dreams, playing the “final girl” at Camp Mirror Lake. Guests pay to be scared in this full-contact terror game, as Charity and her summer crew recreate scenes from a classic slasher film, Curse of Camp Mirror Lake. The more realistic the fear, the better for business.
But the last weekend of the season, Charity’s co-workers begin disappearing. And when one ends up dead, Charity’s role as the final girl suddenly becomes all too real. If Charity and her girlfriend Bezi hope to survive the night, they’ll need figure out what this killer is after. Is there is more to the story of Mirror Lake and its dangerous past than Charity ever suspected?
Where Echoes Die by Courtney Gould
Beck Birsching has been adrift since the death of her mother, a brilliant but troubled investigative reporter. She finds herself unable to stop herself from slipping into memories of happier days, clamoring for a time when things were normal. So when a mysterious letter in her mother’s handwriting arrives in the mail with the words Come and find me, pointing to a town called Backravel, Beck hopes that it may hold the answers.
But when Beck and her sister Riley arrive in Backravel, Arizona it’s clear that there’s something off about the town. There are no cars, no cemeteries, no churches. The town is a mix of dilapidated military structures and new, shiny buildings, all overseen by the town’s gleaming treatment center high on a plateau. No one seems to remember when they got there, and the only people who seem to know more than they’re letting on is the town’s enigmatic leader and his daughter, Avery.
As the sisters search for answers about their mother, Beck and Avery become more drawn together, and their unexpected connection brings up emotions Beck has buried since her mother’s death. Beck is desperate to hold onto the way things used to be, and when she starts losing herself in Backravel and its connection to her mother, will there be a way for Beck to pull herself out?
In her sophomore novel Courtney Gould draws readers into the haunting town of Backravel and explores grief, the weight of not letting go of the past, first love, and the bonds between sisters, mothers and daughters.
A Guide to the Dark by Miriam Metoui
Something is building, simmering just out of reach.
The room is watching. But Mira and Layla don’t know this yet. When the two best friends are stranded on their spring break college tour road trip, they find themselves at the Wildwood Motel, located in the middle of nowhere, Indiana. Mira can’t shake the feeling that there is something wrong and rotten about their room. Inside, she’s haunted by nightmares of her dead brother. When she wakes up, he’s still there.
Layla doesn’t see him. Or notice anything suspicious about Room 9. The place may be a little run down, but it has a certain charm she can’t wait to capture on camera. If Layla is being honest, she’s too preoccupied with confusing feelings for Mira to see much else. But when they learn eight people died in that same room, they realize there must be a connection between the deaths and the unexplainable things that keep happening inside it. They just have to find the connection before Mira becomes the ninth.
The Wicked Unseen by Gigi Griffis
To say sixteen-year-old Audre doesn’t fit in would be the understatement of the century. She’s a city kid who’s found herself in a rural town. The only girl at school who’d rather kiss a girl than a boy. Not to mention that the whole town believes there’s a secret Satanic cult conducting rituals in the nearby woods–and Audre is a born skeptic.
When the preacher’s daughter and Audre’s secret crush, Elle, goes missing on Halloween weekend, the town is quick to point fingers–in Audre’s direction. While they harass Audre’s family for being newcomers and nonbelievers, Audre realizes she might be the only person here who can find her friend.
The deeper she goes, though, the weirder it gets. What happened to Elle–and is the evil this town is hiding really what Audre thinks it is?
Extasia by Claire Legrand
Her name is unimportant.
All you must know is that today she will become one of the four saints of Haven. The elders will mark her and place the red hood on her head. With her sisters, she will stand against the evil power that lives beneath the black mountain–an evil which has already killed nine of her village’s men.
She will tell no one of the white-eyed beasts that follow her. Or the faceless gray women tall as houses. Or the girls she saw kissing in the elm grove.
Today she will be a saint of Haven. She will rid her family of her mother’s shame at last and save her people from destruction. She is not afraid. Are you?
This searing and lyrically written novel by the critically acclaimed author of Sawkill Girls beckons readers to follow its fierce heroine into a world filled with secrets and blood–where the truth is buried in lies and a devastating power waits, seething, for someone brave enough to use it.
Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle
Welcome to Neverton, Montana: home to a God-fearing community with a heart of gold.
Nestled high up in the mountains is Camp Damascus, the self-proclaimed “most effective” gay conversion camp in the country. Here, a life free from sin awaits. But the secret behind that success is anything but holy.
And they’ll scare you straight to hell.
Such Pretty Flowers by K.L. Cerra
“Get it out of me.”
It was the last message Holly received from her brother, Dane, before he was found cleaved open in his fiancée’s lavish Savannah townhouse. Police ruled his death a suicide sparked by psychosis, but Holly can’t shake the idea that something else must have happened… Something involving another message he sent that night, the one that mentioned a “game” his fiancée, Maura, wanted to play…
Determined to discover the truth, Holly begins to stalk Maura—a magnetic, black-eyed florist with a penchant for carnivorous plants. But what begins as an investigation quickly veers into a darker fixation, one that lures Holly into the depths of Maura’s world: Savannah high society, eerie black roses, and a whisper of something more sinister. Soon, Holly is feeling a dark attraction to the one woman she shouldn’t trust. As Holly falls deeper for Maura and her secrets, she’s left with only one choice: find out what happened to Dane… before she meets the same fate.
Boys Weekend by Mattie Lunchansky
Newly out trans artist’s assistant Sammie is invited to an old friend’s bachelor weekend in El Campo, a hedonistic wonderland of a city floating in the Atlantic Ocean’s international waters—think Las Vegas with even fewer rules. Though they have not identified as a man for over a year, Sammie’s college buddies haven’t quite gotten the message—as evidenced by their formerly closest friend Adam asking them to be his “best man.”
Arriving at the swanky hotel, Sammie immediately questions their decision to come. Bad enough that they have to suffer through a torrent of passive-aggressive comments from the groom’s pals—all met with zero pushpack from supposed “nice guy” Adam. But also, they seem to be the only one who’s noticed the mysterious cult that’s also staying at the hotel, and is ritually dismembering guests and demanding fealty to their bloodthirsty god.
Part satire, part horror, Boys Weekend explores what it’s like to exist as a transfemme person in a man’s world, the difficulty of maintaining friendships through transition, and the more cult-like effects of masculinity, “hustle” culture, and capitalism—all through the vibrant lens of a surreal, scary, and immensely imaginative romp.
Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield
Leah is changed. A marine biologist, she left for a routine expedition months earlier, only this time her submarine sank to the sea floor. When she finally surfaces and returns home, her wife Miri knows that something is wrong. Barely eating and lost in her thoughts, Leah rotates between rooms in their apartment, running the taps morning and night. Whatever happened in that vessel, whatever it was they were supposed to be studying before they were stranded, Leah has carried part of it with her, onto dry land and into their home. As Miri searches for answers, desperate to understand what happened below the water, she must face the possibility that the woman she loves is slipping from her grasp.
Bloom by Delilah S. Dawson
Rosemary meets Ash at the farmers’ market. Ash—precise, pretty, and practically perfect—sells bars of soap in delicate pastel colors, sprinkle-spackled cupcakes stacked on scalloped stands, beeswax candles, jelly jars of honey, and glossy green plants.
Ro has never felt this way about another woman; with Ash, she wants to be her and have her in equal measure. But as her obsession with Ash consumes her, she may find she’s not the one doing the devouring…
Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.
What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.
Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.
Graveyard of Lost Children by Katrina Monroe
At four months old, Olivia Dahl was almost murdered. Driven by haunting visions, her mother became obsessed with the idea that Olivia was a changeling, and that the only way to get her real baby back was to make a trade with the “dead women” living at the bottom of the well. Now Olivia is ready to give birth to a daughter of her own…and for the first time, she hears the women whispering.
Everyone tells Olivia she should be happy. She should be glowing, but the birth of her daughter only fills Olivia with dread. As Olivia’s body starts giving out, slowly deteriorating as the baby eats and eats and eats, she begins to fear that the baby isn’t her daughter at all and, despite her best efforts, history is repeating itself.
Soon images of a black-haired woman plague Olivia’s nightmares, drawing her back to the well that almost claimed her life―tying mother and daughter together in a desperate cycle of fear and violence that must be broken if Olivia has any hope of saving her child…or herself.
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Tripping Arcadia by Kit Mayquist
Med school dropout Lena is desperate for a job, any job, to help her parents, who are approaching bankruptcy after her father was injured and laid off nearly simultaneously. So when she is offered a position, against all odds, working for one of Boston’s most elite families, the illustrious and secretive Verdeaus, she knows she must accept it—no matter how bizarre the interview or how vague the job description.
By day, she is assistant to the family doctor and his charge, Jonathan, the sickly, poetic, drunken heir to the family empire, who is as difficult as his illness is mysterious. By night, Lena discovers the more sinister side of the family, as she works overtime at their lavish parties, helping to hide their self-destructive tendencies . . . and trying not to fall for Jonathan’s alluring sister, Audrey. But when she stumbles upon the knowledge that the Verdeau patriarch is the one responsible for the ruin of her own family, Lena vows to get revenge—a poison-filled quest that leads her further into this hedonistic world than she ever bargained for, forcing her to decide how much—and who—she’s willing to sacrifice for payback.
Brainwyrms by Alison Rumfitt
When a transphobic woman bombs Frankie’s workplace, she blows up Frankie’s life with it. As the media descends like vultures, Frankie tries to cope with the carnage: binge-drinking, fucking strangers, pushing away her friends. Then, she meets Vanya. Mysterious, beautiful, terrifying Vanya.
The two hit it off immediately, but as their relationship intensifies, so too does Frankie’s feeling that Vanya is hiding something from her. When Vanya’s secrets threaten to tear them apart, Frankie starts digging, and unearths a sinister, depraved conspiracy, the roots of which go deeper than she ever imagined.
Everything the Darkness Eats by Eric LaRocca
After a recent string of disappearances in a small Connecticut town, a grieving widower with a grim secret is drawn into a dangerous ritual of dark magic by a powerful and mysterious older gentleman named Heart Crowley. Meanwhile, a member of local law enforcement tasked with uncovering the culprit responsible for the bizarre disappearances soon begins to learn of a current of unbridled hatred simmering beneath the guise of the town’s idyllic community—a hatred that will eventually burst and forever change the lives of those who once found peace in the quiet town of Henley’s Edge.
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Killingly by Katharine Beutner
Bertha Mellish, “the most peculiar, quiet, reserved girl” at Mount Holyoke College, is missing. One cold November morning the junior is spotted walking through the Massachusetts woods; then, she vanishes.
As a search team dredges the pond where she might have drowned, Bertha’s panicked father and sister arrive at the campus desperate to find some clue as to her fate or state of mind. Bertha’s best friend, Agnes, a scholarly loner studying medicine, might know the truth, but she is being unhelpfully tightlipped, inciting the suspicions of Bertha’s family, her classmates, and the private investigator hired by the Mellish family doctor. As secrets from Agnes and Bertha’s lives come to light, so do the competing agendas driving each person who is searching for Bertha.
Where did Bertha go? Who would want to hurt her? And could she still be alive?
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They Drown Our Daughters by Katrina Monroe
If you can hear the call of the water,
It’s already far too late.
They say Cape Disappointment is haunted. That’s why tourists used to flock there in droves. They’d visit the rocky shoreline under the old lighthouse’s watchful eye and fish shells from the water as they pretended to spot dark shapes in the surf. Now the tourists are long gone, and when Meredith Strand and her young daughter return to Meredith’s childhood home after an acrimonious split from her wife, the Cape seems more haunted by regret than any malevolent force.
But her mother, suffering from early stages of Alzheimer’s, is convinced the ghost stories are real. Not only is there something in the water, but it’s watching them. Waiting for them. Reaching out to Meredith’s daughter the way it has to every woman in their line for generations―and if Meredith isn’t careful, all three women, bound by blood and heartbreak, will be lost one by one to the ocean’s mournful call.
Part queer modern gothic, part ghost story, They Drown Our Daughters explores the depths of motherhood, identity, and the lengths a woman will go to hold on to both.
The Goth House Experiment by SJ Sindu
In “Dark Academia and the Lesbian Masterdoc,” a millennial English professor finds viral fame on TikTok, but her newfound notoriety could wreck her already unstable life. In “Patriots’ Day,” a man having an affair finds himself caught up in larger currents of anti-Asian violence. Throughout the collection, an array of loners and artists—a young poet haunted by the ghost of Oscar Wilde, a home brewer and wife during lockdown, a boy with wings—struggle for connection and fulfillment in a world battered by the pandemic and reactionary politics. A daring writer with limitless range, SJ Sindu can depict shocking cruelty as readily as small moments of queer joy.
Maddalena and the Dark by Julia Fine
What do you want most? What will you pay for it?
Venice, 1717. Before she meets Maddalena, fifteen-year-old Luisa has only wanted one thing: to be the best at violin. As a student at the Ospedale della Pietà, she hopes to join the highest ranks of its illustrious girls’ orchestra and be no longer just an orphan but a star, protégé of the great Antonio Vivaldi. Luisa is good at violin, but she is not the best. She has peers, but she does not have friends. Until Maddalena.
Sent to the Pietà to be reformed until the rumors about her noble family have passed, Maddalena is unlike anyone Luisa has met. Clever, reckless, and passionate, Maddalena can promise the world to Luisa, and when she does, their fates intertwine. But Maddalena has made a wager with something deep in the waters of Venice, and there will be a price to pay.
Don’t Forget the Girl by Rebecca McKanna
We never remember the dead girls. We never forget the killers.
Twelve years ago, 18-year-old University of Iowa freshman Abby Hartmann disappeared. Now, Jon Allan Blue, the serial killer suspected of her murder, is about to be executed. Abby’s best friends, Bree and Chelsea, watch as Abby’s memory is unearthed and overshadowed by Blue and his flashier crimes. The friends, estranged in the wake of Abby’s disappearance, and suffering from years of unvoiced resentments, must reunite when a high-profile podcast dedicates its next season to Blue’s murders.
Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin
Beth and Fran spend their days traveling the ravaged New England coast, hunting feral men and harvesting their organs in a gruesome effort to ensure they’ll never face the same fate.
Robbie lives by his gun and one hard-learned motto: other people aren’t safe.
After a brutal accident entwines the three of them, this found family of survivors must navigate murderous TERFs, a sociopathic billionaire bunker brat, and awkward relationship dynamics―all while outrunning packs of feral men, and their own demons.
A Season of Monstrous Conceptions by Lina Rather
In 17th-century London, unnatural babies are being born, with eyes made for the dark and webbed digits suited to the sea.
Sarah Davis is intimately familiar with such strangeness—having hidden her uncanny nature all her life and fled to London under suspicious circumstances, Sarah starts over as a midwife’s apprentice to a member of the illegal Worshipful Company of Midwives, hoping to carve out for herself an independent life. But with each new unnatural birth, the fear in London grows of the Devil’s work.
When the wealthy Lady Wren hires her to see her through her pregnancy, Sarah quickly becomes a favorite of her husband, the famous architect Lord Christopher Wren, whose interest in the uncanny borders on obsession. Sarah soon finds herself caught in a web of magic and intrigue created by those who want to use her power for themselves, and whose pursuits threaten to unmake the earth itself.