Friday, November 9, 2018

Nightbooks - J.A. White

Summary: A boy is imprisoned by a witch and must tell her a new scary story each night to stay alive. This thrilling contemporary fantasy from J. A. White, the acclaimed author of the Thickety series, brings to life the magic and craft of storytelling.

Alex’s original hair-raising tales are the only thing keeping the witch Natacha happy, but soon he’ll run out of pages to read from and be trapped forever. He’s loved scary stories his whole life, and he knows most don’t have a happily ever after. Now that Alex is trapped in a true terrifying tale, he’s desperate for a different ending—and a way out of this twisted place.

This modern spin on the Scheherazade story is perfect for fans of Coraline and A Tale Dark and Grimm. With interwoven tips on writing with suspense, adding in plot twists, hooks, interior logic, and dealing with writer’s block, this is the ideal book for budding writers and all readers of delightfully just-dark-enough tales. (summary and picture from

My Review: Nightbooks was a fun, dark adventure that's a mix of Hansel and Gretel and Scheherezade.  It's filled with witches and curses and clever kids, the perfect mixture for any good story.

Our villain is properly spooky and the haunting dilemmas Alex and his friend Yasmin get caught up in are frightening.  Only by reading a different story he has written every night can Alex keep himself alive another day, and the stories he's concocted are pretty creepy and delightful.

The characters are fun and full, and the magical apartment always has something up its sleeve that adds to the spooky atmosphere, and is definitely not always as it seems. This book is a must for those who love ghost stories or dark fairy tales.

I always like a story about stories, and that theme runs strong in this novel.  Alex has been gifted with a mind for telling dark tales, something which sets him apart from others around him, and something he thinks he needs to squelch in order to fit in.  But as the book goes on, he realizes that gift is something that makes him special, something that he loves to do, no matter how creepy or dark the tales he tells.  I totally understand where he's coming from too--when you're 12 and you hit that middle school stage, you want to do whatever you can to fit in, even if it's going against who you really are inside.  We've all done it, I think.  What's cool is coming out of that and realizing who you're supposed to be, and this ordeal helps Alex come to that point, and how his stories, and stories in general, help him--and us--to be.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

For the sensitive reader: the stories Alex tells are spooky, and some deal with death, and the witch can be scary at times.

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