Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride June 28, 2011

Sam, officially Samhain Corvus LaCroix, is a college-dropout turned fry cook at Plumpy’s.  After a break-time game of potato hockey ending in a broken taillight, he gets his first look at Douglas Montgomery.  After being attacked in the Plumpy’s parking lot, he gets his second look.  You see, like Douglas, Sam is a necromancer.  Douglas is powerful and evil; Sam is clueless about his paranormal powers.  Suddenly, Sam has to deal with Douglas’s basement, a hot werewolf girl, and Ashley the Harbinger.  Sam is about to get a lesson in necromancy.

Have you been looking for the next Twilight?  Perhaps a tale of teenagers with paranormal powers… that’s well written and clever?  Look no more.  Sam has a smart mouth, good friends, and a powerful enemy.  Will he figure out what powers he has and how to use them to save the day before it’s too late?  Includes an ending that could nicely segue into a sequel.

William C. Morris Debut Award finalist


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman March 4, 2011

A baby wanders out the open front door, away from his family that has just been murdered in their home.  He toddles into an old, abandoned graveyard, away from the killer.  A dark, shadowy figure keeps the killer away; the wispy figures the graveyard vote to keep the baby there, safe from harm.  And so Nobody Owens grows up in the graveyard and spent his days learning about history from those who were there and ghostly skills like Fading and Dreamwalking.  As he gets older, he learns lessons about the dangers of the outside, specifically the killer who continues to search for the boy who got away.

An interesting tale of a boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard.  There are a few spooky parts, but overall the story is endearing; the ghosts love and protect Bod as their own child.  Highly recommended for upper elementary or middle school.  Good book for boys.

Newbery Medal Winner


Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan November 9, 2010

Filed under: horror — Bethany @ 8:19 pm
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Darren Shan is just a normal guy.  He likes to hang out with his friends, watch TV, and daydream about having his own pet spider.  Then one day his friend comes across an invitation to “Cirque Du Freak”, a strange and mysterious freak show with things like a snake-boy, a wolf-man, and a performing deadly spider.  Darren can’t stop thinking about going, especially seeing the deadly spider.   On the fateful night of Cirque Du Freak, Darren and his friend Steve head to the spot, an old, abandoned theater at the edge of town.  What happens there changes Darren’s life forever, in the worst possible way.  What follows is his horrifying descent into the dark and bloody world of vampires.


Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Filed under: horror,mystery — Bethany @ 8:18 pm
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Coraline is bored.  Coraline is so bored that she’ll do anything.  She and her parents have just moved into a apartment.  Below them are two old ladies that are of questionable mental state.  Above them is an old man that keeps talking about his circus mice.  Coraline likes to go exploring, especially outside.  But one day it is raining.  She is so bored, that she counts all of the doors and windows in her apartment.  There are 21 windows and 14 doors.  Out of these 14 doors, 13 open and close like normal doors.  But the fourteenth door – the big, carved, brown wooden door – is locked.  She asks her mother where this door goes.  Her mother tells here that it goes nowhere, and unlocks it so Coraline can see that behind the door is a brick wall.  That night, though, Coraline is lying awake in her bed when she hears a “creak”.  Then she sees a shadow in the hall, a black shape that looks like a person.  When she turns on the light, there’s nothing there.  The next day, Coraline is still bored.  When her mother leaves her at home alone, Coraline decides to take another look at that mysterious door.  She climbs up on a chair and takes down the key ring.  There is a cold iron key that must go to that door.  She listens for her mother.  She’s alone, so she puts the key into the keyhole and it turns.  She stops again.  Still alone.  She slowly turns the doorknob and opens the door.  Instead of bricks, there is a dark hallway that smells like something very old.  She carefully walks down the hallway, until she sees something very familiar.  The carpet is the same carpet in her hallway.  The wallpaper is the same is her wallpaper.  The picture hanging in the hall is the same picture that hangs in her hall.  She looks around, confused.  She couldn’t have gotten turned around in a hallway.  Then she hears someone call her name.  It’s her mother – only it’s not.  The person standing there looks like her mother, only her skin is white as paper, she is very tall and very thin, and her fingernails are dark red, long, curved, and very sharp.  And one more thing – instead of eyes, she has big, gleaming black buttons.  “Coraline, we’ve been waiting for you for a long time.”


Nightmare by Joan Lowery Nixon

Filed under: horror — Bethany @ 8:16 pm
Tags: , , ,

Camp Excel.  An academic camp for underachievers.  Sound like fun?  That’s where Emily Wood has to spend her summer.  Emily has two older sisters that get straight A’s and have awards and trophies for everything they’ve ever done.  Emily’s parents can’t understand why she doesn’t.  Emily doesn’t understand why everyone can’t leave her alone.  If these things weren’t enough, Emily has this recurring nightmare.  She is struggling to get through a tangle of vines, already knowing what she will find when she breaks free.  A crumpled body lying half in, half out of the water, eyes stretched wide with horror, mouth open in a scream no one could hear.  She’s been having this dream since she was eight years old, but lately she’s been having it more than normal.  When she arrives at Camp Excel, she has a feeling of terror that’s almost as bad as the nightmare.  But why would she feel this way about a place she’s never even been?


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