What to read next

This is the Brookline Public Library's Teen Services blog devoted to the best book lists and recommendations for anyone looking for the next teen title to read.

Welcome to Night Vale has a very…specific charm, and while audiobooks are the perfect format, there’s plenty of prose that will whet fans appetites too.

Standard authors and titles to check out for both humor and a strong sense of the macabre would be Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book and Coraline, of course, but also classics like the short story collection *Smoke and Mirrors) and Terry Pratchett (his latest Dodger is a delight, although not creepy like Night Vale).  The new audio production of the novel Neverwhere, boasts the voices of talents including James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Christopher Lee, will be available in the US in September. Together, of course, they wrote the excellent *Good Omens, which is also a hilarious audiobook.

Another possibility that’s more horror, with the modern-but-vintage sensibility of Night Vale, is *The Bone Key by Sarah Monette.  Monette excels at creating an atmosphere of creeping horror that’s all about the tension, not the gore, and her hero of these stories is the socially awkward, smart museum archivist Kyle Murchison Booth.  The setting is almost a character in and of itself, and highlights the gothic personal histories that are just below the surface of any old city. Even more fun, you can listen to the author herself reading a recent Booth story “The Yellow Dressing Gown” over here, or listen to the short story “White Charles” read by Kate Baker over here.

On the more traditional humor side of things there’s always Douglas “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” Adams, the amusing grammar guide The Transitive Vampire by Karen Elizabeth Gordon, and Edward Gorey’s wicked gems included in his Amphigorey collections and stand alone titles like The Haunted Tea-Cozy.  The graphic novel series Courtney Crumrin by Ted Naifeh has both a snide sense of humor and a wicked edge that keeps them feeling dangerous.

On the younger side, but with that same surreal style, is What We Found in the Sofa and How it Saved the World by Henry Clark — featuring a sentient sofa, evil flash mobs, and a town where all of that is totally normal.

Kelly Link writes short stories with a similar blend of the ordinary and unnerving in Magic for Beginners  — check out “The Faery Handbag” for a taste over here and be sure try out “The Hortlak” in the print edition.

Joe Hill also has a great sequence of horror short stories, *20th Century Ghosts, and his novels *Heart-Shaped Box and *Horns are strong works of intelligent horror. (Horns is also being made into a film starring Daniel Radcliffe.)  He also pens the stand-out horror graphic novel series *Locke & Key.

Another graphic novels series (and TV show, in fact) that features the same deadpan sense of humor about startling supernatural occurrences is The Middleman by Javier Grillo-Marxuach (comics here and TV series here.)  I love the humor in this one plus a great heroine in Wendy, who reminds me a bit of intern Dana.

On the excellent but creepy audiobook side of things — Libba Bray’s The Diviners, read by January Lavoy, is outstanding as an audiobook, and has a really great mix of humor, history (it’s set in 1920s New York City), and very disturbing horror. With a lighter tone (although also delving in to the darker side of people occasionally), Jaclyn Moriarty’s The Ghosts of Ashbury High is both a spoof of all Gothic literature as well as a portrait of a number of high school students entranced by two mysterious new students at their private school.  The audiobook is beautifully done, with a full cast for all of the different characters, and the town’s history and literary drama blend well with the modern day relationships.

I’m known to be a bit of a fangirl for Daniel Kraus’s grave-robbing thriller Rotters, especially on audio read by the versatile Kirby Heyborne, but it’s far more creepy than amusing, and so it may not work as well if the humor and hint of romance is what keeps you in Night Vale.

*Keep in mind that the starred titles are published for adults, so they have varying levels of adult content.

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