Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Dead Strange reads

What do Area 51, the Bermuda Triangle and The Great Pyramid at Giza all have in common?  They are some of the great world mysteries that we like to debate and discuss.  They are also some of the topics discussed in Dead Strange: the bizarre truths behind 50 world-famous mysteries by Matt Lamy.  Dead Strange is part of the Zest Books Pop Culture series, which I adore, so is written in the trusted and easy to browse format.  Like other topics in the series, it is a great resource for putting together trivia contests, doing a scavenger hunt and teaching teens how to use an index, and having fun with your various social media sites. 

Fun facts inside:

  • The Dead Sea scrolls do not mention Jesus
  • The Catholic church still performs exorcisms
  • The heads at Easter Island have bodies attached to them
  • Almost all cultures have a Flood myth/story
  • The London police may have invented sneakers while trying to solve the Jack the Ripper case
  • The Knights Templar invented banking – and checks
  • Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, is the most famous thing to come out of Scotland
  • Some Nostradamus prophecies have come true, including Hitler and World War II
  • There is still no verifiable scientific cause for spontaneous human combustion
  • Many of the stones at Stonehenge have been lost, stolen or collapsed

You can also pair up teen fiction titles with the various Dead Strange topics to create a fun display.  Here are a few of my favorites . . .

The Alchemist by Michael Scott (alchemy)
Michael Scott tells the story of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel in this series.  There is magic, adventure and it is accessible to teens of all ages.  Many will recognize the name Nicholas Flamel from the Harry Potter series.  Scott did exhaustive research to write this series and it pays off handsomely.

Jade Green, a ghost story by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Amityville)
Amityville is perhaps one of the most famous haunted house stories, which was made into a very popular movie – twice.  Jade Green is a much more accessible haunted house story, safe for tweens and teens.  Jade Green is just one of many haunted house stories out there, but I love that is has a gothic feel that even younger teens can read.

The Embrace series by Jessica Shirvington (angels)

Shirvington creates a stunning hierarchy of angels in this world where Violet Eden learns that she is an angel with a destiny. Angels are a huge part of the current ya paranormal trend; you can also check out the Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick and The Fallen series by Lauren Kate.

Misfit by Jon Skovron by (demonic possession)
Not about demonic possession per se, but about a teenage girl who discovers that she is part demon (thanks mom!).  This is some great paranormal and one of my teen patrons says this is the best book she has ever read.

Numbers by Rachel Ward (psychics)
When she looks into your eyes, she can see the date you will die.  Really, what more do I need to say?  Part of an awesome series.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (Jack the Ripper)
The Name of the Star is just one of several books out for yas about Jack the Ripper.  Check out this post on serial killers for a couple of other Jack the Ripper titles.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Rick Yancey (Holy Grail)
I really like this adventure series where the very normal Alfred Kropp is thrust on a worldwide adventure when he learns that he is linked to a group that is searching for the Holy Grail.  Think Indiana Jones for teens.

The Once and Future King by T. H. White (King Arthur)
Classic but awesome tale that includes The Sword in the Stone.

Roswell series by Melinda Metz (Roswell)
Aliens try to blend is as high school students in Roswell, New Mexico in this series by Melinda Metz.  It is older, but really good; full of action and romance.  It also was the basis for the once popular WB series, which I also liked.

The Diviners by Libba Bray (seances, Ouija boards)
Probably one of the 10 best books of 2012, an evil force is unleashed when a bored socialite brings out her Ouija board at a failing party.  You know what they say, don’t play with Ouija boards people! Haunting, thrilling and not be read alone late at night.  I heard Libba Bray say this was supposed to be a type of historical Avengers, which is awesome.

Rot & Ruin series by Jonathan Maberry (zombies)
There are a ton of awesome zombie books out there for teens and adults (we talk about them here and here), but this is one of my favorites.  I feel like all I really need to say is this: there are zombies, they eat people.  In other exciting news, this great read is now in the process of being made into a movie. Yay!

Dracula by Bram Stoker (Dracula)
It seems like an obvious choice.  Also, check out this post about Dracula and YA Vampires by Christie G.

Dead Strange is part of the Pop Culture series at Zest Books.net. The entire series has tremendous appeal for teens and adults and is highly recommended.  Trivia buffs will love them, as will fans of the unexplained and those looking for a quick book to flip through.