Halloween is one week away, as evidenced by the spooky decorations that have taken up residence in the Teen Room. We've been decorated since early October because of our Teen Read Week celebration last week; the teens enjoyed dressing up in creepy costumes and eating some rather un-appetizing snacks. Our book display featured books about nasty creatures -- zombies, wendigos, and demons -- all linked to the week's theme, "It Came from the Library."
However, Halloween is as much about mystery and magic as it is about undead creatures and gory images. Keeping that in mind, there are three books on this year's list of Soaring Eagle nominations that seem appropriate for the week before Halloween.
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. Clare Gardner has visions; some of them are frightening, and all of them are, she thinks, significant. After all, Clare is no ordinary human being. She is a Quartarius, a quarter-angel, and has just begun to come into her powers. Her mother supports her and helps her piece together the meaning behind her visions. Therefore, when Clare begins to repeatedly see a boy, a fire, and a county-22 Wyoming license plate, her mother moves the family from California to Jackson Hole. In Jackson, Clare meets the boy from her vision, a new friend, and another angel -- who may not be as good as Clare thinks. Both Clare and her mother believe her purpose in being on earth has something to do with the vision; but will Clare be able to focus on discovering that purpose and not get distracted by high school, cliques, and a cute cowboy who has attracted her attention? Unearthly is another paranormal romance, a good choice for fans of the Twilight and Hush, Hush series. It's sequel, Hallowed, was released last winter; the projected end to the trilogy, Boundless, will be out in 2013.
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman. Eona has been trained in magic and sword-work, so that she can be presented as one of twelve candidates to be her country's next Dragoneye, a keeper of culture and magical power. Unfortunately, women are never allowed to be Dragoneyes, or even to approach the sacred circle; the penalty is immediate death. Eona and her master have undertaken a great risk in her training, and so have gone to elaborate lengths to conceal her gender, and her true nature. When the day of the choosing comes, the unexpected happens: not only is Eona selected to be ascendant Dragoneye, but she is also chosen by a mysterious thirteenth dragon -- a dragon who has not appeared in 500 years. Now, Eona and her master must continue their elaborate deception, while they find a way to learn of the dragon's power, even though there is no living being who can teach them. Danger, intrigue, and magic combine in this tale of ancient Asian culture; the sequel to Eon: Dragoneye Reborn is Eona: The Last Dragoneye. Fans of both the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan and the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams-Chima have been enjoying this duology.
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Andi is a wreck. She's brilliant, a borderline genius with incredible musical talent. But she cannot recover from a family tragedy, or the unraveling of her family life. She's failing at her exclusive private school; her mother is not coping with everyday life; and her father is too busy with his international career to notice. That is, until Andi's potential expulsion is brought to his attention. He acts decisively, whisking her away to Paris while he his on assignment there, so that she can complete her senior thesis on an obscure French composer. Andi hates her father, and hates being in Paris . . . until she finds a mysterious diary that belonged to another girl, much like Andi. This girl, Alexandrine, writes of the French Revolution as it is happening, and presents a first-hand account of one of the mysteries of the Revolution that still confounds historians. Andi becomes immersed in the drama and horror of Alexandrine's world, and her perception of reality becomes dangerously skewed. Does she, or does she not, see the ghosts of the Revolution? (For more on this title, see the March 3, 2012, entry of this blog.) This stand-alone novel is an excellent choice for fans of historical fiction, but be aware that the content is more mature than some of the other nominees.
So, if you, like me, prefer your blood and gore in small doses, why not enjoy one of these less-gory, but still suspenseful, novels this Halloween . . .and leave the icky images to the haunted houses?