Ghosts are big news in fiction for teens and tweens at the moment. The ghostly trend has firmly taken over from the vampire craze and seems to be almost as popular as the wave of dystopian fiction currently riding high in the wake of the hugely popular Hunger Games. I am always glad to see ghost stories back in fashion though as I am a huge fan and I envision a surge of interest amongst publishers, booksellers and readers after Celine Kiernan’s triumph at the CBI awards this year winning the book of the year and the children’s choice for Into the Grey on of my favourite books of this year.
There are a number of different kinds of ghost stories available depending on your tastes. If you want to be utterly chilled then Into the Grey, Long Lankin by Lindsay Barraclough and Unrest by Michelle Harrison are for you.
For younger readers though there are some great stories which use ghosts as a narrative device to explore history, examples of this include Spirit of the Titanic by Nicola Pierce and The newly published Ghost Detectives: The Lost Bride by Emily Mason (did you know that Emily Mason is really Rachel Pierce; Nicola’s sister?) this is the first in a series which features four friends on the cusp of their teen years who worry about friendship and fitting in more than ghosts. When the friends perform a ritual as a bit of fun they attract a restless spirit in need of help; the lost bride. This is a light-hearted adventure which will appeal to girls of 9 and upwards.
Another debut to watch out for is Butterfly Summer by Anne-Marie Conway a darker tale than Emily Mason’s it features a young girl; Becky who is confused and worried by her mother’s depression she knows there are secrets being kept from her and her new friend Rosa- May seems to be the only one who understands, but who is Rosa-May and why does she never leave the Butterfly Garden?
Another series of smart, funny, ghostly adventures are the Kitty Slade books by Fiona Dunbar. The feisty heroine of this series does lots of normal stuff; school, blogging, dealing with annoying siblings and a crazy grandma but she also suffers from phantorama; an ability to see ghosts, so she does a bit of ghost busting on the side. The Titles so far are Divine Freaks, Fire &Roses and Venus Rocks and these books will appeal to girls aged approx 10-15.
Also for teens a series I have mentioned before and which I adore are the Angel Kiss books by Laura Jane Cassidy; Angel Kiss and now Eighteen Kisses; featuring protagonist Jacki King who is haunted by the spirits of murdered women. These books are crime thrillers in which Jacki uses her physic gift to help the police. Laura has a fresh and individual voice and her second book won’t disappoint her fans as she continues to develop her likeable heroine taking her away from her small town home and back to Dublin building the tension and danger around her as Jacki solves the murder of another young woman. Although the books deal with a dark subject Laura’s writing is sparkling and conversational. She reminds me of Maeve Binchy and as a long time Binchy fan that is intended as the highest of compliments. The Angel Kiss books are suitable for readers aged 12 and above.