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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Tag: Gothic Horror

Halloween Movies to Make You Feel Young Again

Halloween has arrived and Wellington City Libraries has some spooktacular DVDs in the collection for your viewing pleasure and frightful night in.

Relive your childhood Halloween movie-watching ways with some of our favourite picks from our movie collection below. To complete the experience we recommend a plenitude of popcorn and a whole bunch of blankets to hide under. Even better if you can find your old teddy that used to bring you comfort in the dead of the night.

Let the scare fest begin!

image courtesy of amazon.com1. Tim Burton’s The nightmare before Christmas.

“Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, is bored with doing the same thing every year for Halloween. One day he stumbles into Christmas Town, and is so taken with the idea of Christmas that he tries to get the resident bats, ghouls, and goblins of Halloween town to help him put on Christmas instead of Halloween — but alas, they can’t get it quite right.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com2. Corpse bride.

“Set in a 19th century European village, this stop-motion animation feature follows the story of Victor, a young man whicked away to the underworld and wed to a mysterious corpse bride, while his real bride Victoria waits bereft in the land of the living. Though life and the Land of the Dead proves to be a lot more colourful than his strict upbringing, Victor learns that there is nothing in this world – or the next – that can keep him away from his one true love. It’s a tale of optimism, romace and a very lively afterlife, told in classic Burton style.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com3. Paranorman.

“From the makers of Coraline comes the story of Norman, a boy who must use his special powers to save his town from a centuries-old curse. In addition to spooky zombies, he’ll also have to take on unpredictable ghosts, wily witches, and, worst of all, clueless grown-ups. But this young ghoul whisperer will soon find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.comimage courtesy of amazon.com4. Gremlins 1 and 2.

“Billy Peltzer’s father buys him a new cuddly pet. But heed these three warnings: Don’t ever get him wet. Keep him away from bright light. And the most important thing, the one thing you must never forget: no matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs…never, never feed him after midnight.” (Catalogue). In the sequel, “A Gremlin is captured by a mad scientist, who not only helps it multiply, but gives it the ability to talk.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com5. Addams Family Values.

“It’s love at first fright when Gomez and Morticia welcome a new addition to the Addams household – Pubert, their soft, cuddly, mustachioed boy. As Fester falls hard for voluptuous nanny Debbie Jilinsky, Wednesday and Pugsley discover she’s a black-widow murderess who plans to add Fester to her collection of dead husbands. The family’s future grows even bleaker when the no-good nanny marries Fester and has the kids shipped off to summer camp. But Wednesday still has a Thing or two up her sleeve.” (Catalogue)

6. The Witches (1989) and (2020). image courtesy of amazon.com

In the 1989 version, “Nine-year-old Luke finds that saving the world from witches is a tall order for a boy who has been turned into a mouse.” (Catalogue). In the 2021 version, “The darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks him away to a seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world₂s Grand High Witch has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe, undercover, to carry out her nefarious plans.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com7. Ghostbusters 1 and 2. 

“The original “Ghostbusters” and its sequel teamed comedians Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis with director Ivan Reitman, to tell the story of a trio of paranormal investigators who must save the world from the evil clutches of the supernatural.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com8. The Goonies.

Another oldie but a goodie! Join the Goonies on a swashbuckling adventures! Following a mysterious treasure map into a spectacular underground realm of twisting passages, outrageous booby-traps and a long-lost pirate ship full of golden doubloons, the kids race to stay one step ahead of bumbling bad guys… and a mild-mannered monster with a face only a mother could love. A family adventure classic from start to buccaneering finish.

image courtesy of amazon.com

9. Labyrinth.

“When young Sarah cavalierly wishes that goblins would take her crying baby brother away, she gets her wish. Now, she must confront Gareth – ruler of a mystical world one step removed from reality, master of the goblins who abducted her brother… and creator of the treacherous labyrinth that Sarah must solve in order to make things right.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com10. Coraline.

“A young girl walks through a secret door that she has found in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life, but much better. When her adventure turns dangerous, and her counterfeit parents, including the Other Mother, try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home – and save her family.” (Catalogue).

Extra challenge… from beyond the grave!

Get into the Halloween spirit and dance your socks off zombie-style to Thriller by the late but talented Michael Jackson! Hmmm, I wonder if he would be keen to accept the vacancy of Wellington City Libraries’ library ghost?

Did you know? Wellington City Libraries’  Nao Robots, Frank and Stein, (formally known as Red and Blue) can whip out their own dance moves to to Thriller by Michael Jackson. Read more about them here.

Have a safe and happy halloween!

Mary Shelley and Frankenstein

I’ve been remiss in my duties – I completely missed Tuesday was the 219th anniversary of the birth of the great Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. Not only did she write Frankenstein -argued to be the first science fiction novel ever- she had a fascinating life. Her mother was the great Mary Wollstonecraft, an early proto-feminist who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in which she argued for equality in education in men and women. Sadly, her mother died shortly after Mary was born. But the rest of her life was no less interesting. She flouted convention by running off with the still-married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Their social circle included the notorious Lord Byron and John William Polidori, creator of perhaps the first vampire story in modern fiction (although the authorship is still debated today.)

The genesis of Frankenstein began during a sojourn by Lake Geneva. Lord Byron proposed that each of the guests each write a ghost story. Mary struggled for some time, but eventually, after a strange dream, began to write Frankenstein. She was only eighteen at the time, which is pretty impressive. The rest of her life was pretty hard; she had to deal with the death of her husband, some of her children, and debt. But Frankenstein remains a classic. And of course I have recommendations! Frankenstein is a great source of inspiration for writers.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFrankenstein, or, The modern prometheus, Mary Shelley

Of course I have to start with the book that started it all. It’s not just a straightforward science fiction story; it looks at the possibilities and potential abuses of scientific knowledge, questions of personhood as well as guilt and responsibility. Frankenstein’s “monster” is not the green-faced, bolt-necked, incoherent monster of the movies. Rather he’s able to articulate his suffering as on outcast in a way that still resonates: “I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHideous love : the story of the girl who wrote Frankenstein, Stephanie Hemphill

This book tells the story of Mary Shelley herself; her life from her childhood to the death of her husband. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking novel told in free verse poetry. Don’t let that put you off picking it up, though – not a word is wasted. It’s sparse and beautiful and affecting – much more than any other biography of Mary Shelley I’ve read.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMan made boy, Jon Skovron

What if Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride of Frankenstein had a son? Simply called Boy, he struggles to fit in with The Show, a refuge for other strange (mostly magical) creatures. He longs for a life outside, so makes the decision to leave – then goes on a road trip, while struggling to deal with a creation of his own. There’s also a sequel, This broken wondrous world.

YA fiction we’ve recently ordered

This randomly, accidentally, turned into a horror special, complete with some pretty nice book covers, we think.

The Mark of Cain, Lindsey Barraclough. The sequel to Long Lankin! The horror! Perfect timing for Halloween reserves. This one introduces the charming Aphra (1567). “Four years have passed since the death of Ida Guerdon, and Cora is back in Bryers Guerdon in the manor house her aunt left to her. It is a cold, bitter winter, and the horrifying events of that sweltering summer in 1958 seem long past. Until Cora’s father arranges for some restoration work to take place at Guerdon Hall, and it seems that something hidden there long ago has been disturbed. The spirit of Aphra Rushes – intent on finishing what she began, four centuries ago” (goodreads.com)

Evil Librarian, Michelle Knudsen. How could we not order a book called Evil Librarian? “When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact… a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body!” (goodreads.com).

Zomburbia, Adam Gallardo. “My name is Courtney Hart, and I’m here to tell you about things that suck. Being born in a podunk town like Salem, Oregon, for one. Living in a world infested with zombies? That, too. And the meat heads I go to school with? I think I’d actually take the undead over them most days. But I have a plan to get out of here and move to New York. I just have to keep selling Vitamin Z along with your fries at The Bully Burger. The secret ingredient? Zombie brains. I’ve noticed things are getting even worse lately, if that’s even possible. The zombies seem to be getting smarter and faster. If I can avoid being arrested, eaten by shufflers, or catching the eye of some stupid boy, I should be able to make it through finals week still breathing…” (goodreads.com)

Blackfin Sky, Kat Ellis. “When Sky falls from Blackfin Pier and drowns on her sixteenth birthday, the whole town goes into mourning – until she shows up three months later like nothing happened. Unravelling the mystery of those missing months takes Sky to the burned-out circus in the woods, where whispers of murder and kidnapping begin to reveal the town’s secrets. But Sky’s not the only one digging up the past – the old mime from the circus knows what happened to her, and he has more than one reason for keeping quiet about it.” (goodreads.com)

Upcoming Fiction

This week we’ve ordered a new novel by the ever-popular Jessica Shirvington, a gothic-horror sequel, some steampunk (!), and a collection of Magnus Bane stories (among many more!).

Corruption, Jessica Shirvington (November/December) – the sequel to Disruption. “Two years ago, Maggie Stevens began the hunt. Four weeks ago, Maggie’s world fell apart, when she finally found what she’d been looking for. And when Quentin, who had blindly trusted her, unravelled her web of lies. Now, Maggie lives in the dark. But she’s not about to stay there. Not when she still has to bring M-Corp down. Not when there is still a chance she could win him back. In the exhilarating conclusion to Disruption, Maggie must do whatever it takes to show the world the truth. And the price for her quest?” (goodreads.com)

Between the Spark and the Burn, April Genevieve Tucholke – the sequel to the quite-spooky Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. “The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet’s life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River’s other brother, are left to worry – until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn’t long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own..” (goodreads.com)

Waistcoats and Weaponry, Gail Carriger (November) – the third in the Finishing School series (steampunk!). “Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style – with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what – or who – they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.” (goodreads.com)

The Bane Chronicles, Cassandra Clare – more of Magnus Bane! This is the collection of stories about everyone’s favourite cat-eyed warlock that have previously been published as ebooks (we have some of them available on Overdrive). Cassandra Clare says: “Ever wondered about the enigmatic, mysterious warlock Magnus Bane? The only character to appear in every Shadowhunter book, Magnus has a past even more shrouded in mystery than his present. I’ve teamed up with acclaimed YA writers Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan to create the Bane Chronicles, the back (and front) story of Magnus told in ten linked tales.” (goodreads.com)

Upcoming Books

The horror/thriller edition of recently-ordered fiction.

Her Dark Curiosity, Megan Shepherd (January) – this is the sequel to The Madman’s Daughter, in which Juliet travelled to a remote island in search of her father, to discover he was performing horrific experiments on the island’s animals, creating human-like monsters of them. In Her Dark Curiosity, “Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father’s island – and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy – though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her. As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island…” (goodreads.com) These are inspired by classic novels: The Madman’s Daughter was H. G. Wells, and this one’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. 19th century gothic!

Nightmare City, Andrew Klavan (December/January) – “Tom Harding only wants the truth. But the truth is becoming more dangerous with every passing minute. As a reporter for his high school newspaper, Tom Harding was tracking the best story of his life – when, suddenly, his life turned very, very weird. He woke up one morning to find his house empty… his street empty… his whole town empty… empty except for an eerie, creeping fog – and whatever creatures were slowly moving toward him through the fog. Now Tom’s once-ordinary world has become something out of a horror movie. How did it happen? Is it real? Is he dreaming? Has there been a zombie apocalypse? Has he died and gone to hell? Tom is a good reporter – he knows how to look for answers – but no one has ever covered a story like this before. With the fog closing in and the hungry creatures of the fog surrounding him, he has only a few hours to find out how he lost the world he knew. In this bizarre universe nothing is what it seems and everything – including Tom’s life – hangs in the balance” (goodreads.com).

The Naturals, Jennifer Lynn Barnes (December/January) – Cassie can read people, can tell who they are and what they want just by looking at them. She’s not thought much of her talent until the FBI wants her for a classified programme called the Naturals, where they use gifted teenagers to help them crack cold cases. But the Naturals programme doesn’t just mean solving murders; when a new killer emerges, Cassie and the other Naturals are caught up in a lethal game of cat and mouse. Like Criminal Minds, people say!

Upcoming Summer Arrivals

Hollow City, Ransom Riggs (January 2014) – did you love Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children? This is the sequel, with another cool cover. “In 1940 after the first book ends, Jacob and his new Welsh island friends flee to London, the Peculiar capital of the world. Caul, a dangerous madman, is Miss Peregrine’s brother, and can steal Peculiar abilities for himself. The Peculiars must fight for survival, again.” (goodreads.com)

The Impossible Knife of Memory, Laurie Halse Anderson (January 2014) – The new novel from the author of Speak, Twisted, and Wintergirls. “For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own. Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over?” (goodreads.com)

Dark Sun and Other Stories, Robert Muchamore (November 2013) – Four CHERUB stories in one: ‘Dark Sun’, ‘The Switch’, ‘CHERUB at Christmas’ and ‘Kerry’s First Mission’.

Interesting fiction we’re getting soon

A not-so-futuristic dystopian story, some gothic horror, and another new book from the prolific David Levithan.

Gated, Amy Christine Parker. “In Mandrodage Meadows, life seems perfect. The members of this isolated suburban community have thrived under Pioneer, the charismatic leader who saved them from their sad, damaged lives. Lyla Hamilton and her parents are original members of the flock. They moved here following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, looking to escape the evil in the world. Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned: Pioneer is her leader. Will is her Intended. The end of the world is near. Like Noah before him, Pioneer has been told of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must arm themselves to fight off the unchosen people, who will surely seek refuge in the compound’s underground fortress – the Silo. Lyla loves her family and friends, but given the choice, she prefers painting to target practice. And lately she’d rather think about a certain boy outside the compound than plan for married life in the Silo with Will. But with the end of days drawing near, she will have to pick up a gun, take a side, and let everyone know where she stands.” (goodreads.com)

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, April Genevieve Tucholke. The first in a new series. “Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.” (goodreads.com)

Two Boys Kissing, David Levithan. Based on actual events, Two Boys Kissing tells the story of two seventeen year olds who have a crack at the Guinness World Record for kissing. Their participation in the 32 hour marathon becomes “a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites – all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other” (goodreads.com). From the author/coauthor of Boy Meets Boy, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and so much more.

Looking forward to:

The Boy on the Bridge, Natalie Standiford (August) – “Laura Reid goes to Leningrad for a semester abroad as Cold War paranoia is peaking in 1982. She meets a young Russian artist named Alexei and soon, with Alexei as her guide, Laura immerses herself in the real Russia – a crazy world of wild parties, black-market books and music, and smuggled letters to dissidents. She must keep the relationship secret; associating with Americans is dangerous for Alexei, and if caught, Laura could be sent home and Alexei put under surveillance or worse. At the same time, she’s been warned that Soviets often latch onto Americans in hopes of marrying them and thus escaping to the United States. But she knows Alexei loves her. Right? As June approaches – when Laura must return to the United States – Alexei asks Laura to marry him. She’s only nineteen and doesn’t think she’s ready to settle down. But what if Alexei is the love of her life? How can she leave him behind? If she has a chance to change his life, to rescue him from misery, shouldn’t she take it?” (goodreads.com). A history lesson and love story all in one. I think Natalie Standiford is great, so this I am looking forward to. This one could be given the coverflip treatment, some people suggest. We shall see!

Stupid Fast, Nothing Special and I’m With Stupid, Geoff Herbach. Over one summer, Felton Reinstein grows into an American Football sensation – he’s always been stupid fast, but now he’s so busy being a jock he hardly has time to notice his family life is coming apart. Reviews say this series is great for fans of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie, for example, or Godless, by Pete Hautman. Note: I’m With Stupid will get here before the others, so if you want to read them in order you might like to suspend your reserve on that one!

Thorn Abbey, Nancy Ohlin (July/August) – this one is a reimagining of the classic Gothic novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (which, incidentally, has the famous first sentence, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”). “Becca was the perfect girlfriend: smart, gorgeous, and loved by everyone at New England’s premier boarding school, Thorn Abbey. But Becca’s dead. And her boyfriend, Max, can’t get over his loss. Then Tess transfers to Thorn Abbey. She’s shy, insecure, and ordinary – everything that Becca wasn’t. And despite her roommate’s warnings, she falls for brooding Max. Now Max finally has a reason to move on. Except it won’t be easy. Because Becca may be gone, but she’s not quite ready to let him go…” (goodreads.com) You can read the prologue at the author’s website here.

If He Had Been With Me, Laura Nowlin (July/August) – This has been getting great reviews, but be warned, it’s saaad! “Throughout their whole childhood, Finn and Autumn were inseparable – they finished each other’s sentences, they knew just what to say when the other person was hurting. But one incident in middle school puts them in separate social worlds come high school, and Autumn has been happily dating James for the last 2 years. But she’s always wondered what if… The night she’s about to get the answer is also one of terrible tragedy.” (goodreads.com)

Looking forward to:

Fox forever, Mary E Pearson – the conclusion of the Jenna Fox trilogy. “Locke Jenkins has some catching up to do. After spending 260 years as a disembodied mind in a little black box, he has a perfect new body. But before he can move on with his unexpected new life, he’ll have to return the Favor he accepted from the shadowy resistance group known as the Network. Locke must infiltrate the home of a government official by gaining the trust of his daughter, seventeen-year-old Raine, and he soon finds himself pulled deep into the world of the resistance – and into Raine’s life.” (goodreads.com)

Paper valentine, Brenna Yovanoff. “The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls. For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness. With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life – and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.” (goodreads.com)

Dr Frankenstein’s daughters, Suzanne Weyn. “A new generation is creating a monster…. Giselle and Ingrid are the twin daughters of Doctor Victor Frankenstein, but they are very different people, and when they inherit his castle in the Orkney Islands, Giselle dreams of holding parties and inviting society -but Ingrid is fascinated by her father’s forbidden experiments.” (goodreads.com)

Prisoner B-3087, Alan Gratz. Based on a true story. “As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner – his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087. He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later. Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will – and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?” (goodreads.com)

These books shouldn’t take too long to make their way to Wellington – reserve one today!

Looking forward to:

So many interesting-looking books to read this year, not nearly enough time.

The Madman’s Daughter, Megan Shepherd (February) – based on The Island of Dr. Moreau by H G Wells. Juliet Moreau thinks that her father, a scandallous mad scientist, is dead. When she discovers he’s not, she travels with his assistant to the island where he is conducting experiments on animals to make them behave like humans. Which is actually pretty horrific when you think about it, considering how some humans behave. “Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius – and madness – in her own blood.” (goodreads.com) A gothic horror!

Altered, Jennifer Rush (February) – more experimentation, this time on humans. “Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them. Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs…” (goodreads.com)

Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Powell (March) – a love story set in 1986, the birth year of Lauren Conrad, Robert Pattinson, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Usain Bolt. Eleanor and Park are in high school, and are in love – true love, maybe? But no, they might be social misfits, but they – like, let’s face it, lots of other people – know that true love doesn’t happen when you’re 16 unless you’re in a fairytale. So this is perhaps a realistic story about love? We shall see!

Geek Girl, Holly Smale (March) – “Harriet Manners knows a lot of things. She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy” lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn’t quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she’s spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend’s dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves…” (goodreads.com)