Dying for some paranormal romance? These swoon-worthy YA stories of supernatural love, all recommended by The Horn Book Guide, are sure to melt hearts and raise spirits.
Managing Editor, The Horn Book Guide
Cremer, Andrea Nightshade
454 pp. Philomel 2010. ISBN 978-0-399-25482-6
YA Werewolf Calla defies her pack by saving human Shay from death. Despite Calla’s betrothal to another pack’s alpha, she falls in love with Shay. Their forbidden relationship becomes even more dangerous when the two uncover the secret history of the Keepers, the werewolves’ magic-wielding masters. Intricate dynamics of pack membership, friendship, and romance strengthen this fantasy’s intriguing mythos.
Harvey, Alyxandra Haunting Violet
344 pp. Walker 2011. ISBN 978-0-8027-9839-8
YA Violet’s mother’s séances are a sham, capitalizing on the spiritualism rage sweeping through Victorian England. The sixteen-year-old is therefore shocked to discover she really can see ghosts. Harvey’s modern spin on the gothic novel features a feisty (and drop-dead gorgeous) heroine, an engaging mystery with supernatural underpinnings, and plenty of romance, with a penniless suitor pitted against a wealthy one.
Kade, Stacey The Ghost and the Goth
283 pp. Hyperion 2010. ISBN 978-1-4231-2197-8
YA After her accidental death, super-popular Alona — now a ghost — is bummed that she can only communicate with “weirdo loser” Will. Alternating narratives relate how their grudging partnership to help Alona cross over and keep Will out of a mental institution evolves into an unexpected romance. Long-kept secrets and several well-integrated subplots give the characters (especially seemingly vapid Alona) nuance.
Lim, Rebecca Mercy
280 pp. Hyperion 2011. ISBN 978-1-4231-4517-2
YA Mercy, an amnesiac fallen angel dreaming of her lost love, wakes up in choir-girl Carmen’s body, the latest in a series of lives she has unwillingly possessed. She helps shy Carmen find her voice and meets attractive, angry Ryan, who’s searching for his missing twin sister. Mercy’s voice, sometimes sullen, is refreshingly blunt, and the crime-thriller element is gripping.
Marr, Melissa and Kelley Armstrong, Editors. Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions
452 pp. HarperCollins/Harper 2011. ISBN 978-0-06-201579-2
YA These sixteen short stories run the gamut from lovelorn ifrits to vampire rock stars to cannibal Girl Scouts. Humor rules Margaret Stohl’s “IV League,” in which a busload of southern “Drinker” teens embarks on a New England college tour; Mary Pearson’s story of a captured gargoyle is deeply poignant; Carrie Ryan’s zombie dystopia “Scenic Route” is both chilling and hopeful. Entertaining and original.
McEntire, Myra Hourglass
397 pp. Egmont 2011. ISBN 978-1-60684-144-0
YA Emerson’s disturbing tendency to see people from the past draws the attention of Michael, a “consultant” enlisted to help her with her problem. Michael can’t resist romancing Emerson even as he explains her ability to time-travel and warns of the secretive groups that practice it. Emerson’s discomfort and isolation are well portrayed in this haunting supernatural love story.
Miller, Kirsten The Eternal Ones
413 pp. Penguin/Razorbill 2010. ISBN 978-1-59514-308-2
YA At seventeen, Haven leaves her small town for New York City to join Ethan, a man she has never met but who has visited her in visions since she was little. Once in NYC, Haven learns that her attraction has age-old roots that threaten to entangle her. Miller creates an engaging supernatural romance/thriller with well-developed characters and satisfying plot twists.
Mitchell, Saundra The Vespertine
296 pp. Houghton 2011. ISBN 978-0-547-48247-7
YA Sent to Baltimore in 1889 to enjoy the season and to find a husband, Amelia instead discovers a gift for seeing visions — and begins a romance with an inappropriate young man. Through Amelia’s first-person narrative, readers navigate a world governed by etiquette and an equally inexplicable supernatural one. The atmosphere in this paranormal romance is eerie and appealing.
Tiernan, Cate Immortal Beloved
407 pp. Little 2010. ISBN 978-0-316-03592-7
YA Dissipated parties and wild excess lose their charm for Nastasya after four-hundred-odd years, so she takes up an offer to try a simple and disciplined life among a small group of other immortals. Forced to confront her own history, Nastasya slowly begins to acknowledge her heritage and imagine a new kind of future. Dark romance and mystery enliven this tale of supernatural self-discovery.
van Diepen, Allison The Vampire Stalker
257 pp. Scholastic/Point 2011. ISBN 978-0-545-28375-5
YA A quirk of “literary physics” allows sexy vampire-hunter Alexander Banks, Amy’s favorite character from the Otherworld books, to cross into our dimension. Unfortunately, his nemesis, brutal vampire Vigo, crosses over, too, threatening Amy, her friends, and all of Chicago. This witty and well-plotted meta-narrative about a reader’s fantasy come to life has appeal for both vampire fans and voracious readers of all genres.
Wood, Maryrose The Poison Diaries
281 pp. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray 2010. ISBN 978-0-06-180236-2
YA Jessamine and her father are fascinated by Weed, an enigmatic young man with astonishing botanical knowledge. Jessamine’s father, who keeps a locked garden of poisonous flora, tries to learn Weed’s secrets. Jessamine falls in love — until she gets sick, and Weed must turn to the dangerous poison garden to heal her. A suspenseful, eerie historical novel with an extrasensory twist.
From the January/February 2012 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. These reviews are from The Horn Book Guide and The Horn Book Guide Online. For information about subscribing to the Guide and the Guide Online, click here.