Tag: paranormal

7 Underrated YA Books You’ll Wish You Read Sooner

There are a lot of mainstream YA books everyone has heard of: The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Fault in Our Stars, to name a few. But being a mainstream read doesn’t necessarily make a book “good” or any better than others of the genre, and these underrated YA books prove just that. These books might slip under the radar, but after reading them you’ll ask yourself: where have these books been all my life?

1. ‘The Gypsy King’ by Maureen Fergus

via goodreads

The Gypsy King is one of my all-time favorite YA fantasy reads, yet.  Maureen Fergus is a Canadian author and it can be hard to come by this book in the US but if you decide to go out on a limb and order it online, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

The book follows Persephone, a sixteen-year-old slave who is sold to a chicken thief named Azriel. But Persephone quickly realizes that Azriel is not what he seems, and Persephone herself is a part of a prophecy much bigger than herself. Equal parts sassy and brave, Persephone will have you rooting for her through her many adventures and her encounters with courtly life. 

If you love deception, courtly politics, romance, and adventure—you’ll fall in love with The Gypsy King and its subsequent books. Don’t let its meager number of reviews discourage you; the book might not be well-known, but it’s certainly something you’ll wish you discovered sooner.

2. ‘White Space’ by Ilsa J. Bick

via goodreads

White Space is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Half the time you’ll be disoriented, confused, and maybe even a tad scared–but don’t worry, it’s all part of the experience!

The book follows Emma Lindsay, who has the ability to disappear into other people’s lives in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, she finds herself in “White Space”—the very story she thought she’d written. Here she finds other people from different lives, states, and even time periods. As the characters (and readers alike) struggle to separate reality from fiction, they must ultimately come together to figure out why they’re there, and how they might escape. 

Compared to the likes of Inception, this book plays with your mind, pulling you in deeper into not only the world, but the minds of its characters. If you love ambiguous thrillers, add White Space to your TBR today!

3. ‘Pivot Point’ by Kasie West

Image via Goodreads

You’ve probably heard of Kasie West’s contemporary works, but what about her paranormal romance? Pivot Point follows Addison Coleman, a girl who can look into the future, and see how a decision will impact her life. When faced with the chance to live with her father outside of her paranormal world, Addie peaks into the future to see how her choices will play out. The book alternates between the two scenarios–one in which she stays with her mother, the other where she moves in with her father—showing both the good and the bad of each decision. At the end of the book, Addie must decide which path to follow.

Not only does Pivot Point explore a unique concept, but it’s heart-wrenching in the fact that Addie can only ultimately choose one path to follow, meaning she’ll never get to experience everything in the other. Short, fast-paced, and fairly easy to read, you’ll speed through this book in no time. 

4. ‘These Shallow Graves’ by Jennifer Donnelly

via goodreads

While Jennifer Donnelly is a fairly well-known author, I haven’t heard much buzz about her YA historical mystery. These Shallow Graves, a standalone, follows Jo Montfort who, instead of getting married like she’s supposed to, wants to become a writer for a newspaper. When Jo’s father is shot dead in what is supposedly a suicide, Jo teams up with a reporter from her father’s paper to go in search of the truth.

Action-packed, well-written, and romantic, These Shallow Graves is perfect for the mystery lover in you. 

5. ‘Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

via goodreads

Yes, this book is as cheesy as it sounds. But it’s cheesy in the best possible way, and is sure to hit you in your feels. 

Julia is the complete opposite of her arch-nemesis Jason; she’s book-smart, and not very popular, where Jason is the class clown. But when Julia begins receiving romantic texts from an unknown number on a school trip, Jason promises to help Julia track down her secret-admirer. Meant to Be is not only funny, cute, and romantic, but it explores what “meant to be” (more commonly referred to in the book by it’s slang counterpart: “MTB”) really means, and if it’s as realistic as it seems.

6. ‘Chase the Dark’ by Annette Marie

via goodreads

I’ve recommended this book before, but will never turn up the chance to talk about it, simply because it’s so unknown. Available in both Kindle and paperback, Chase the Dark explores the paranormal world of Piper Griffiths. As the daughter of two haemons, children born to humans and haemons, Piper shouldn’t be alive. Yet, miraculously, she is. When her father’s Consulate—a place meant to shelter daemons in their travels, and keep the peace between them and humans–is destroyed, Piper finds herself on the run with two untrustworthy (but very handsome) daemons.

Set in an urban fantasy setting, this YA book is one you won’t be able to put down. Annette Marie explores her deeply-built world over the course of five books—giving you all the more time to fall in love with the series’ characters. 

7. ‘The Demon King’ by Cinda Williams Chima

via goodreads

If you love fantasy, strong world-building, and courtly politics, you’re sure to love this four-book series. The Demon King introduces us to Raisa, the princess of the Fells, who yearns to one day lead her people like the famed warrior queen Hanalea. Meanwhile, Han Alister is a reformed thief who, in an encounter with the High Wizard’s son, steals the wizard’s amulet—only to realize it once belonged to the infamous Demon King.

Interweaving between plotlines, character perspectives, and remnants of the world’s past, The Demon King explores class relations and what it means to be a hero/heroine in a rich fantasy setting anyone with a love for the mythical will enjoy.

Featured Image via Mental Floss


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US President Conspires With Aliens (In This Story)

Today, we’re going to be doing something a bit different.  We’re going to be taking a look at a short story that was recently published on Future Tense Fiction – a series of short stories from Future Tense and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination about how technology and science will change our lives – which publishes a story each month.  The theme for January through March 2020 is politics.


image via center for science and the imagination


The short story, “It Came From Cruden Farm,” was published on Slate on February 29 and was written by Max Barry. The story starts off with what seems to be the newly inaugurated president in 2021. This can be inferred by the fact that the characters in the story mention Bush, Obama, and then Trump, all having their duties and chances in office, but using the past tense when talking about them. This is just a guess though, as neither the president’s name nor the year is given anywhere in the story. The president is simply referred to as ‘Mr. President.’


The story is about an alien that had come to Earth via a spacecraft, residing at Area 51 in the United States. According to the Air Force chief of staff, the alien has been there for the past twelve years, and it is revealed that Bush, Obama, and even Trump have met and talked with it.

The short story already raises our curiosity, and I’m sure, like me, you’re wondering, “Will the president see and speak to this alien like his three predecessors did?.”  Unfortunately, you don’t get an immediate and direct answer, just simply the information that the president wants to see it, despite the Air Force chief of staff’s hesitation.  The author is building up the story very well, forcing the reader to ask questions that can only be answered by reading on.


image via ufos disclosure

Eventually, the president does meet and speak with the alien. To remove the risk of spoilers, I’ll just stay that it’s not an optimal experience. At all. The First Lady then decides to tell her husband that sometimes its necessary to let things go, forget them, and look toward the future. Something about that statement doesn’t sit well with me.


This is where the story ends, the president and the First Lady leave Area 51, assuming that the alien will be forgotten about and kept a secret for an undefined amount of time. Something to be said about burying the truth? Or maybe just withholding it? It would certainly speak to our current political landscape.

In any case, if you’re interested in reading the short story in it’s entirety, you can read the full transcript over on Slate. Enjoy!

featured image via lisa larson-walker (illustration), danique dohmen (photo)

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Celebrating 18 Years of Coraline

“I don’t want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted just like that, and it didn’t mean anything? What then?” – Goodreads
Image Via Amazon

One of my childhood favorites, Coraline, is celebrating its 18th birthday. As a paranormal fiction, Coraline opened our eyes to escaping our dingy flats and entering a perfect world that was way more exciting than our own.

Moving into their new home, Coraline went exploring, finding that their new flat had “twenty-one windows and fourteen doors.” Thirteen of the doors can be opened, without the use of a key. But the fourteenth door is locked. One day Coraline unlocks the door and finds a passageway to a similar flat to her own. Everything seems marvelous until the other mother and father want to change Coraline and never let her go back home. Lost souls of other children have been trapped in the mirrors for many years. Their only hope is that Coraline can fight against her other family and save the children, her ordinary life and herself.



Although Neil Gaiman is well known for his adult literature, Coraline was the first children’s book that sparked the interests of children who enjoyed the mysterious and creepy stories. Critics enjoyed the book as much as children did, so much so, that Coraline was awarded the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novella, 2003 Nebula Award for Best Novella, and the 2002 Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers.


Image Via Syfy Wire


This wonderful childhood thriller was later adapted into a movie. The scenes were able to inhabit the storyline of the book through its contrast of colors and staying true to the emotions that outlay Coraline’s reality.

If you loved Coraline just as much as I did, check out Gaiman’s website for more of his wonderful tales.


Featured Image Via Den of Geek


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Inside The Outsider

Long live the King, because he’s done it again! Stephen King launched his newest thriller, The Outsider, in 2018, and trust us when we say that it is bone-chilling. And HBO seems to think so too, because yesterday they launched the premier of the 10 episode mini-series based on the book.

image via amazon

The Outsider presents the viewers with a case that is, in every literal sense, impossible. In small-town USA, an 11-year-old boy is found murdered and all evidences—eyewitnesses, security camera footage, fingerprints, DNA—point to one man, Terry Maitland, played by Jason Bateman (Bateman also directs). Here, however, is the catch — there is also legitimate proof that the prime suspect was elsewhere, and thus couldn’t have done the deed. So, this gives rise to an unexplained situation in which two polar opposite things are simultaneously true.

An impossible problem, of course, can only have an equally impossible solution, and the pressing issue in the plot is that the only place for it to go, eventually, is into supernatural territory, and we’re not mad about that. This makes The Outsider an even more gripping and haunting tale, which highlights an unspeakable crime and the strangeness it brought with it.

image via medium

The series may be slightly different from the book, but rumor has it that they may share the same ending. The book and the series continue to cast a chilly spell that creeps into ones bones, and its horror elements are used to amplify the investigation of everyday people’s struggles, with death, tragedy and adversity.


If you missed the trailer, here’s a sneak peak! But be careful, because it is creepy.

video via youtube

image via next season tv

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Featured image via HBO

5 YA Genres That Are Totally Dead

Young adult fiction is undeniably one of the most popular genres of all time. It was first categorized around the 1930s with Lauren Ingalls Wilder’s series Little House on the Prairie. Teachers and librarians were slow to accept books intended for younger readers, but young adult books today focus on issues in society with such a passion that even older adults love to read them.

YA subgenres have ebbed and flowed over the years, and the two ever-reigning subgenres seem to be fantasy and contemporary fiction. You can always find a unique new release of a fantasy novel or a self-aware contemporary love story. But what genres are so dead that publishers in 2019 will rarely publish them and why did young adults stop reading them?



1. Dystopian

Image result for the scorch trials city"

image via crosswalk.com


Ah, yes. Dystopian. Nostalgia for 2012, anyone? Maybe it was because everyone was talking about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world, but people were in a craze over dystopian society books like The Hunger Games and Divergent. Books about post-apocalyptic societies like The Maze Runner weren’t too far behind in the craze, either. Most dystopian subgenres are based on sci-fi and these particular subgenres started to oversaturate the sci-fi genre. Because of the immense popularity of books like The Hunger Games, every author wanted to replicate that fame and success. Understandably, readers got bored.

We became sick of tropes like “the chosen 16-year old who has a special ability that allows him or her to rebel and change dystopian society.” Readers began to pay attention to different genres and new authors, and the dystopian genre and its tropes slowly died out as YA readers found more relevant books. With the upcoming release of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakesit’ll be interesting to see how this dystopian writer tackles this so-called “dead” genre.



Image result for twilight"

image via empireonline.com


When you think of paranormal YA, think vampires, werewolves, and zombies. So basically Twilight minus the zombies. For a while, the Twilight series was the reigning series for the paranormal subgenre. Teens were obsessed and buying t-shirts to show off their pride in Team Edward or Team Jacob. So what happened? Well, other authors tried to replicate the success of Twilight, and teens kept reading vampire and werewolf books until they wanted a taste of something different. Once the movies were released, Twilight stirred up even more controversy as readers began to release that Bella and Edward were an unhealthy relationship portrayal for young teens.



Still, it seems a bit disappointing that the whole vampire subgenre should die out because of one bad portrayal— especially when there’s so many amazing vampire stories, like Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. But never fear for those readers who were into paranormal or urban fantasy books other than Twilight, or even those who were into Twilight (no shame here)— these subgenres are making a slow return, starting with Renee Ahdieh’s new vampire novel The Beautiful.




image via the portalist


Steampunk is one of a few YA genres that has never taken hold of a readership. Any successful steampunk books are technically classified under other YA subgenres and only have small steampunk elements. Those books that did attempt to focus solely on steampunk, an attempt that surged around the early 2000s, were usually adult books and were just too similar to each other to claim a place as a real subgenre.


4. Superhero

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image via CBR.com


Superheroes certainly have a presence in comic books and movies, but this genre just isn’t present in YA. There’s no clear reason why superheroes are more popular in movies than books— maybe viewers would rather see sexy superhero actors and actresses blow stuff up rather than reading about them. Or maybe, like steampunk, superhero YA books have just been too similar with dead YA tropes like “the chosen one.”



Image result for time travel"

image via the next web


Time travel in YA sci-fi hasn’t been as successful as you might think, although time travel in YA fantasy has more of a presence. Maybe it’s because sci-fi books like H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine were written way back in 1895 and readers’ fascination with time travel has died out since then. Yet time travel is still popular in movies and TV, so it’s also up to speculation as to why this genre hasn’t taken off in YA.

If you’re interested in more about the book market or dead genres in publishing, check out this video by Alexa Donne, author of Brightly Burning. She explains all of these dead genres and tropes in-depth and also has some fascinating insights about the publishing world as well as advice for new writers.




Featured image via The Pilot Press