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Spooky and Supernatural Teen Reads: Ray Bradbury and Alice Hoffman Guide Readers to Literary Magic

Published by Teresita Quadnau

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For those wanting scary mixed in with science fiction, the following books are sure to please.

Something Wicked This Way Comes – By Ray Bradbury

Channeling the infamous line from Macbeth – By the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes – the godfather of Science Fiction, Ray Bradbury, weaves a harrowing tale of carnivals arriving at midnight, of a Dust Witch and a carnival proprietor – Mr. Dark – whose body is tattooed with images of past victims.

While the small Midwest town succumbs to the amusements that offer secret wishes, only two boys – Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway – are aware that there is something sinister about the beguiling ‘come-hither’ temptation of the rides. But to defeat this ancient evil, they must first face-off with Mr. Dark, who begins to hunt them down before they know it.

For Those Wanting Romance and Magic

Practical Magic – By Alice Hoffman

Unlike the lighter tone of the movie, the book Practical Magic fully taps into the isolation Gillian and Sally always felt in their hometown, being the latest in the line of cursed Owens women. Tormented by schoolmates, both try to escape their pasts the moment they are out of high school. Sally marries the boy next door, and Gillian becomes a professional vagabond with a perchance for bad boys. But neither magic nor past demons can be denied, and circumstance forces the sisters together to face black magic and the true nature of consequence.

For Those Wanting Old-fashioned Mystery

View From the Cherry Tree – By Wilo Davis Roberts

The View From the Cherry Tree pivots on the fact that sometimes, no matter what, adults simply refuse to believe what kids say. Such is the case for 11-year-old Rob. Lately, his sister’s upcoming wedding has monopolized his family, and Rob often seeks sanctuary in the cherry tree that borders his family’s property with that of Mrs. Calloway. She’s the type of mean old lady who calls to mind the witch from Hansel and Gretel.

One afternoon, while sitting in his tree, Rob sees Mrs. Calloway fall out the window and to her death. Everyone is in shock, but no one more so than Rob, for only he saw that she did not fall, but was pushed. Naturally, everyone thinks his imagination is in overdrive, but Rob knows what he saw. Too bad that someone else did too, for attempts are made on Rob’s own life as he tries to uncover the truth.

For Those Who Prefer Gothic to Grotesque

A Great and Terrible Beauty – By Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty follows sixteen-year-old Gemma through her new life at a British boarding school in the wake of her mother’s tragic death in India. Missing her family and the exotic land, Gemma begins to have visions, and the visions remind her of cryptic warnings her mother used to say about ‘gifts of sight’ that were sometimes passed down, generation to generation.

Slowly, Gemma explores her powers, even slipping into fantastical worlds that let her escape suffocating boarding school life. However, it soon becomes clear that there is a darker side to the magic, one that Gemma is told to stay away from by the mysterious boy from India, Kartik, who warns her that great peril awaits her if she continues down her path.

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