Thursday, January 6, 2011

Spotlight List: Gothic Fiction, part II

Spotlight is a feature I do where I pick a topic or theme and then highlight some books that fall into that theme. Here are some previous Spotlight posts:

Gothic Fiction, part I: Adult Gothic Fiction I Bet You'll Love
Classics that are Actually Fun to Read
More Spotlight posts

Interested in reading Gothic fiction?

Well, I am. I fell in love with the genre and totally saturated myself with Gothic fiction last year. But being the "More is More" type of person that I am, I want, well, more! I'll be participating in the Gothic Reading Challenge hosted over on Well-Mannered Frivolity in order to get my Gothic fix in 2011.

To help jump start my motivation, I've put together a little list here of some of my favorite Gothic fiction books as well as a few I'll be considering for the challenge. I will be releasing the list in four Spotlight posts (click on the titles to go to that post):
  1. Part I: Adult Gothic Fiction I Bet You'll Love
  2. Part II: YA Gothic Fiction, part 1
  3. Part III: YA Gothic Fiction, part 2
  4. Part IV: Gothic Fiction Classics
Unfamiliar with Gothic fiction? Check out Gothic Fiction Part I of this series for an explanation.

And, without further ado, I bring you
Part II: YA Gothic Fiction, part 1

The House of Dead Maids, by Clare B. Dunkle
Release Date: September 14, 2010
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 146
Author's Page
Amazon Page
Goodreads Page

I've already posted my The House of Dead Maids review, but no Gothic fiction list would be complete without this chilling prequel to Wuthering Heights. As far as prequels go, this one is top notch, perfectly capturing the young Heathcliff and filling in a few gaps in Wuthering Heights. The best part about this book is that it not only makes a great prequel, but it stands perfectly well on its own. You don't have to have read or liked Wuthering Heights to enjoy this deliciously creepy ghost story. A dark house, curses, ghosts, and murders make this story perfect Gothic fiction and one to keep the lights on at night while reading!


Tighter, by Adele Griffin
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 208
Author's Page
Amazon Page
Goodreads Page

Billed as a loose retelling of The Turn of the Screw (a Gothic classic), Tighter sounds right up my alley. It's a good thing I won an ARC through Goodreads. I'll be reading this one for the Gothic challenge in 2011.

From Goodreads:

When 17-year-old Jamie arrives on the idyllic New England island of Little Bly to work as a summer au pair, she is stunned to learn of the horror that precedes her. Seeking the truth surrounding a young couple's tragic deaths, Jamie discovers that she herself looks shockingly like the dead girl—and that she has a disturbing ability to sense the two ghosts. Why is Jamie's connection to the couple so intense? What really happened last summer at Little Bly? As the secrets of the house wrap tighter and tighter around her, Jamie must navigate the increasingly blurred divide between the worlds of the living and the dead.

Brilliantly plotted, with startling twists, here is a thrilling page-turner from the award-winning Adele Griffin.

The Twin's Daughter, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Release Date: August 2010

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 390
Author's Page
Amazon Page
Goodreads Page

If you've read my review of The Twin's Daughter, then you know how much I loved this book. Set in the early 1900s, this tale follows a quiet girl named Lucy as she observes the increasingly disturbing events surrounding her family. Like the cover (cover review), nothing in the story is what it seems at first. Murders, mistaken identities, intricate family secrets, and multiple deceptions make this book an excellent addition to YA Gothic fiction.

A Great and Terrible Beauty, by Libba Bray
Release Date: December 9, 2003
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Books in the series: Three, all published
Author's Page
Amazon Page
Goodreads Page

While taking elements from Gothic fiction and other books in the genre, this trilogy is ultimately unique in the best possible ways. Gemma is a strong protagonist, and her exploits are at turns admirable, frightening, and exciting. Family secrets, a hidden romance, supernatural abilities, and a boarding school harboring dark secrets round out this Gothic tale. I have only read the first book of the trilogy, but I plan to remedy that come 2011.

The Splendor Falls, by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Release Date:  August 22, 2009
Publisher:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 518
Author's Page
Amazon Page
Goodreads Page

While I tend to prefer faster-paced books, the premise of this one looks good enough to tempt me anyway (and even with the intimidating page count!). Here's the Product Description:

Can love last beyond the grave?
Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can’t dance. A broken leg ended her career, but Sylvie’s pain runs deeper. What broke her heart was her father’s death, and what’s breaking her spirit is her mother’s remarriage—a union that’s only driven an even deeper wedge into their already tenuous relationship.

Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment and shipping her to Alabama is her mother’s solution for Sylvie’s unhappiness. Her father’s cousin is restoring a family home in a town rich with her family’s history. And that’s where things start to get shady. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can’t stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, seems to be perfect in every way. But Rhys—a handsome, mysterious foreign guest of her cousin’s—has a hold on her that she doesn’t quite understand.

Then she starts seeing things. Sylvie’s lost nearly everything—is she starting to lose her mind as well? 

Stay tuned for next week's Part 2 of YA Gothic Fiction!


  1. Dang, I forgot to add the Gemma Doyle trilogy to my list of series to read. Thanks for reminding me. Anyway, great post. I'm learning more about gothic fiction than I ever imagined.

  2. Haven't read much Goth fiction but I am always willing to try different books. The House of Dead Maids sounds interesting. Good luck with the challenge :)

  3. What a great list of books - gothic fiction is a genre I wish I read more of!

  4. Aylee, You're welcome. I hope you're enjoying learning about Gothic fiction :P

    Nic, I scare easily, but I was frightened (in a good way) by The House of Dead Maids. It was a quick, fun read.

    Miss Remmers, I've recently gotten into the genre and it's so much fun. Especially a lot of the classics. They don't take themselves too seriously.

  5. Do you think The House of Dead Maids would be enjoyable without having read Wuthering Heights? Ditto Tighter and Turn of the Screw.
    You always find the best books to spotlight.

  6. wow, I haven't read much gothic fiction (i didn't realize it is a genre, lol, silly me). the only one i've read on your list is the Gemma Doyle Trilogy which was awesome! great list, i'll have to keep an eye out for these books :)

  7. Logan, Yup, you can definitely enjoy both of those books without having read the originals. Or, if a person read the originals and hated them, I still think they could very well enjoy both of these modern books.

    Audrey, Hope you enjoy others from the list! I recently discovered the genre myself and I love it.

  8. Great list. I'm a huge fan of Gothic fiction, as I've mentioned here before. :) I love the sound of Tighter. Can't wait to read that one. I also love that cover for The Splendor Falls. I've read some mixed reviews, but the cover makes me want to check it out!

  9. Oh these look really good! Tighter is a new one, can't wait for your review.

  10. Leanna, If you have any Gothic fic recommendations I'd love to hear them! Tighter was really good. I finished it last night and should have a review up soon. I love that cover too! The old cover does nothing for me, but this new cover really makes me want to read the book.

    Gina, I just wrote it. It'll be up soon! And it's a very positive review. :)

  11. I've started Splendor Falls and I'm loving it! The author sent me a copy and the cover is beautiful. I haven't gotten too far, but it is very good. MC is a bit selfish right now.


  12. Oh yes, I love the paperback cover! So pretty. Good to hear you're enjoying it so far.


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