Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Take 5: Mystery and Horror Cross-Overs for YA’s Wanting More

Last time I wrote about teens who were searching beyond the teen area for science fiction and fantasy cross overs, and showcased 5 authors who’s series are real hits with my teens. This time I thought I’d talk about mysteries and horror books.  These are always a difficult one to pinpoint, because what we think of as a YA mystery ( Gallagher Girls or Heist Society, Code Name Verity or books by Lois Duncan) or horror (Anna Dressed in Blood) doesn’t translate all that well into the world of adults (with the exception of Daniel Kraus, Patrick Ness and Andrew Smith, who Karen thinks does horror well and it translates for adults). And depending on your system, your mysteries can also include bits of the paranormal (I’ve seen Darynda Jones’ Charlie Davidson series- where Charlie is a living Grim Reaper – in both fiction, mystery and science fiction), while horror may not be separated at all. So be prepared to look in various categories for these authors.

Janet Evanovich

In case you don’t know, Janet Evanovich has written the extremely popular Stephanie Plum series (One For the Money, Two for the Dough) that has some of my readers comparing the thinking and antics of Stephanie to Sookie from the Sookie Stackhouse series.  They really enjoy the writing as well as the situations that Stephanie gets herself in- which I think helps make her more human and believable to teens who are always finding themselves in trouble for something.

Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs has been growing in popularity with a small group of my teens; whether it’s the popularity of the TV show Bones (which is on regular TV as well as on syndication) or they’re really getting into the forensics of her writing, I can’t say.  I can say that those who have a strong interest in the science and police investigation behind crime really enjoy her books. Karen’s note: Reichs teen series, Virals, is actually very popular at my library.

Stephen King

My teens love the earlier books by Stephen King: Cujo, Carrie, Firestarter, It, and Mystery are ones that are continuously gaining legs and moving throughout my library, to be hidden in a variety of new and interesting places.  Interestingly enough, they don’t seem to like the newer books (the ones published since his car accident in 1999), but anything before then seem to be perfect.

Dean Koontz

My horror loving teens have just recently found Dean Koontz, and I can’t keep them in his books.  They’re currently going through his Frankenstein series (which seems to be a trend with science fiction fantasy in YA as well), and are just inhaling them.  He’s “creepy” and “keeps you guessing” says one teen, which is what you definitely need is your horror.

Robert Kirkman

Robert Kirkman is the writer/creator of The Walking Dead graphic novels and produced the TV pilot of The Walking Dead, which is responsible for sucking away many of Karen’s nights during it’s seasons. My teens keep an eye out for the boxes of new books, eagerly awaiting the day when we get a new bound edition of The Walking Dead, and there are fights over who gets to read it first. The comics are definitely very graphic and not intended for a teen audience (rated M for mature, and there are VERY graphic scenes in there), but those who are in desperate need of their zombie fix are definitely going to get it here- they are very well written  and the story lines are wonderful, as well as deviating somewhat from the TV show (from what I’ve been told by the teens- I haven’t seen the show) so that adds to the excitement.

Take 5: Sci Crossover Authors for YA Looking for More

If your teens are like mine, once you find a voracious reader you cannot keep them satisfied  and if they’re in love with a particular genre they will STAY there until all option are exhausted.  While we’ve been talking about ‘new adults’ in YA, teens crossing over and back into the adult section is nothing new, but many times I’ve found that they want help finding a title or an author that they’ll really like- a series that they can get into.  Here are 5 of my go-to authors for teens that are craving Science Fiction and Fantasy who have devoured everything in the teen section.  

A word of warning, however- since these ARE adult books, there will be adult content. Sex (married and unmarried), GLBTQ content, battles, fighting, etc., on an extent that may not be in teen science fiction/fantasy books.  You know your reader, so recommend appropriately.

The late Anne McCaffrey

Readers that love dragons and new worlds love to jump into the world of Pern and The Rowan series.  If you’re worried about how they might take to it, you can start out with The Harper Hall Trilogy (Dragon Song, Dragon Singer, and Dragon Drums) which can often actually be found in YA Collections as the protagonists are teens themselves.

Mercedes Lackey

Creator of many worlds, I’ve had huge luck with her Valdemar books when teens have tired of the semi-heraldic fantasy science fiction books.  The protagonists all have magic of a sort (mind or physical), and there are evil empires and villains at work.  Her first books may be too violent for some readers (physical war crimes), but the newest series The Collegium Chronicles should be perfect for readers wanting something to expand into.

Kim Harrison

For those who have devoured the witches and vampire novels in YA, but may not quite be ready for Charlaine Harris’ True Blood series (I’m not ready yet, no matter how good they look on TV LOL), there is Kim Harrison and her Hollows series.  A witch, a vampire and a pixy form a detective agency and then comes werewolves and other paranormal beings into the mix.  Readers will definitely be looking for their next itchy witch fix.

Terry Pratchett

Nation was a Printz honor book, and his Discworld series has won numerous awards and touched many lives.  Dealing with the diagnosis of Alzheimers, Pratchett has assured the world that his legacy will live on in the hands of his daughter, which is reassuring to his numerous fans.  Borrowing from some of the greatest minds (Tolkien, Shakespeare, and others), his Discworld will engross lovers of high fantasy from the first pages.

Jim Butcher
I’m not sure who was more upset in our house when Sci Fi (SyFy, my bad) cancelled The Dresden Files, That Guy or myself. I love the contemporary with magic world that Jim Butcher creates, and loved the portrayal that was going on TV.  For teens that see magic in the every day, and want their magic combined with mystery, this is one of the best series around.

Take 5: Crossing Over Adult Books to Movies in 2013

These days it seems like Hollywood is raiding YA fiction for it’s screenplays.  We have Beautiful Creatures, City of Bones, and Ender’s Game to look forward to, while every day it seems another news release screams another book has been optioned, sometimes even before the series is complete (*cough* Insurgent *cough*). So I thought that while we’re talking crossovers for teens, we could look at some adult books that are making their way onto the big screen that are defiantly going to be attracting teens.

based on Carrie by Stephen King

Did you know they’re remaking Stephen King’s Carrie again? I didn’t until I had a teen who’s in LUV with horror movies come tell me all about it. Now, I am completely in love with the original with Sissy Spacek and John Travolta, and was *ahem* mildly upset at the TV remake (no matter what That Guy might say). The fact that it has Chloe Grace Moretz in it is making me think it’ll be worth travelling at least the few cities over to the $5 theater to see it.

based on the Kick Ass graphic novels by Mark Millar

I love any and all things related to comics and graphic novels. I adored Kick Ass, and loved what they did with Hit Girl, while understanding the backlash of having this itty bitty thing acting out the violence of the part.  However, my teens and I are SO THERE opening night.

based on The Host by Stephanie Meyer

I read The Host when it came out, and always thought that there should be *more* to follow. My understanding was that it was a series.  Was I wrong? And if so, did everyone miss it, because I cannot find any more books of the series anywhere.  My teens are excited because it’s something else by Stephanie Meyer (as the poster has on it- so we know that it’s a little shaky).

based on The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I will confess, once again:  I HAVE NOT READ THE HOBBIT. In fact, I started The Hobbit, got frustrated with it, put it down, never picked it up, and didn’t read The Lord of the Rings books, either. That is not stopping me or the teens from seeing the now THREE PART movie saga that The Hobbit has turned into.  However, I don’t think I’m going to track down one of the 48fps projector movieplexes- I have enough trouble with 3D.

Based on World War Z by Max Brooks

So, assuming that we’re not all dead in 2012, somehow we’re going to be invaded by zombies in 2013.  I haven’t read the book, none of my teens have read the book, but they saw the trailer when it popped up the other day on YouTube, and they want to see it just for the sheer number of zombies that are trying to eat Brad Pitt. I mean, really, if you haven’t seen the massive rush of zombies coming from all angles like water rushing from a burst pipe, then go here and look. Whatever you do, don’t make a candy eating game (teen version of drinking game) including the zombies because either a. everyone will miss out on the little bits of dialogue they’re going to have, or b. people will be so full they’ll be sick.
What book based movies are you and/or your teens looking forward to in 2013?  Share in the comments below!

Karen Says: But what about This?!

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