Seven years ago Liz was in a car accident which killed her mother and left her with no memory of the first ten years of her life. Since then nothing has felt quite right: on top of the perpetual nightmares, she keeps catching glimpses of things, things that can’t really be there, that no-one else can see.
When she inherits the famous Highwayman Inn from her grandfather, and moves to live there with her dad, she is convinced it will be a fresh start: but if anything, life at the Inn is stranger than ever. The sinister caretaker and his creepy son seem to be watching her constantly . . . A boy called Zachary keeps haunting her . . . And out of the pitch-black night, the Highwayman comes riding.
Inspired by Alfred Noyes’ poem ‘The Highwayman’, Glimpse is a ghost story, a love story, and a story of overcoming trauma.
Kendra Leighton’s Top 10 YA Ghost Stories
If you’re anything like me, you love a good ghost story.
One of the things I love best about the genre is how open to interpretation it can be — ghosts can be real or imaginary, terrifying or friendly. The ghosts in Glimpse are different at different times: imaginary; real; scary; romantic; trapped in their pasts, or taking an active role in their afterlives.
There’s a real variety of ghost stories to choose from in YA fiction.
Here are my top ten.
I recently discovered this series about a Louisiana girl who moves to London, only to be caught up in a series of murders emulating Jack the Ripper. The story takes a ghostly turn which is really original and fun. Loved the first two books, and am keen to read the third when it comes out next year.
Doll Bones is my favourite Holly Black novel. It’s both a heartwarming story about friendship and growing up, and a seriously creepy read about a china doll made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. The story’s three main characters must return the doll to where the girl lived and bury it, or be cursed for eternity. Technically Middle Grade rather than YA, I’d have both loved and been very scared by this story when I was younger!
The most light-hearted of all the books on my list, Tamsyn Murray’s Afterlife novels are a really fun, fast, entertaining read, suitable for the younger end of the YA spectrum. I own and love the whole series.
Emma Carroll’s recent debut is a historical novel that reads like an instant classic. Set in Victorian times, it follows the plucky Tilly as she encounters the ghost of local boy Kit. Tilly’s investigations into the mystery surrounding his ghost take her to Frost Hollow Hall, where she encounters even more strange goings-on. Pleasurably chilly, without being very scary.
A modern classic set during World War II, Prince of Mist is a story about ghosts, sunken ships, cemeteries, and unpaid debts.
One of my favourite YA novels, ghostly or otherwise! A Certain Slant of Light is a novel about two ghosts who inhabit teen bodies, learning lots about themselves and their hosts in the process. It’s beautiful and romantic, with a really satisfying ending.
Brenna Yovanoff is my all-time favourite YA author, and I adore Paper Valentine. The main character, Hannah, is haunted by her recently-dead best friend Lillian, and later by the ghosts of girls murdered by a serial killer. Like all Yovanoff’s books, the atmosphere is both innocent and creepy, and the writing is beautiful.
A satisfying Southern Gothic story about a New York girl who moves to a haunted mansion in Alabama. Cue phantom-babies crying in the night and a local secret, and you’ve got a fun ghost story.
Very different from Lauren Oliver’s YA books, Liesl and Po is a Middle-Grade story featuring magic, adventure and ghosts. Oliver’s ghosts are not your typical spooks—Po and his pet Bundle have been on the Other Side so long they’ve started to become blurry, losing their sense of appearance and memories of their pasts. A bittersweet tale about coming to terms with grief.
The most gory story on my list, Anna Dressed in Blood is about a vengeful teenage ghost who terrifies the locals and murders anyone who enters her house. It takes ghost-hunting Cas to work out why she’s so angry, and give the story an unexpected romantic twist.
Kendra is a YA author represented by Lutyens & Rubinstein Literary Agency. Her debut novel, Glimpse, will be published in June 2014 by Much-in-Little.
Kendra has a BA in English Literature from Durham University. Her first ‘grown-up’ job was teaching English in China, Spain, and the UK. She discovered her love for YA fiction while working as a middle-school English teacher.
In 2008, she left teaching to start a raw chocolate company in Cambridge. These days, when she’s not making chocolate, she can usually be found writing, reading, taste-testing chocolate (far more than necessary), or trying to steal other people’s cats.
You can read the interview I did with Kendra last year HERE
Luna: I agree with so many of these, especially Frost Hollow Hall. I read A Certain Slant of Light before I started my blog but it’s really good, so read it if you have the chance! You can find my reviews by clicking on the titles below:
Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
My So-Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson
Doll Bones by Holly Black