A gothic ghost story set in Vietnam. A modern family who have been torn apart by time and a house possessed by its former occupants. Haunting is the perfect word for this story. I was engrossed from the very beginning and now that I have finished it I can’t stop thinking about it.
She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran (List Price: $18.99, Bloomsbury YA, 9781547610815, February 2023)
Indigenous woman Kari James loves heavy metal, Stephan King novels, and her local bar. When her cousin unearths a bracelet that belonged to Kari’s mother, Kari is suddenly haunted by both her mother and a horrible entity. In order to rid herself of both spirits, Kari will have to face her past and unearth secrets about her family. This engrossing debut blends horror with mystery with a deft hand, and I look forward to what Wurth does next.
White Horse by Erika T. Wurth (List Price: $27.99, Flatiron Books, 9781250847652, November 2022)
“I spend a lot of time thinking about what makes something scary. I think that there’s a lot to be said for danger, for the unknown, for hostility to life. Crocodiles are scary because they want to eat you. The dark is scary because it wants to hide things from you. Outer space is scary because it wants nothing from you at all, it is not even aware of you, and yet it can take everything from you with less conscious effort than you and I spend on a heartbeat. But the scariest thing, I think, is not a thing but a place; that place isn’t really a place so much as a relationship. The scariest thing is the space under your bed.” –Sarah Gailey, Letter to readers
What booksellers are saying about Just Like Home
Just Like Home is a splendidly twisted story that left me both delighted and disturbed in equal measure. Sarah Gailey checked all of the boxes with this one, and I couldn’t be happier. ―Kassie Weeks from Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida Buy from Oxford Exchange
Sarah Gailey leaned all the way into the truism that haunted house stories are a way to talk about how horrifying domesticity can be. How families can be a confusion of unkindness and violence and complicity. How home isn’t always something safe (that last one is something Gailey especially makes haunting amoeba strips from). Gorgeous; dark, and glistening. Like soul chemotherapy.
―Kyra Rathmann from Letters Bookshop in Durham, NC Buy from Letters Bookshop
Home is not always where the heart is! Gailey terrifies and amazes with the tale of Vera, who has been summoned back to her childhood home to watch her mother fade away from cancer. The old house is full of memories of Vera’s serial killer father and has become a shrine to his crimes, visited by gawkers, crime writers, and artists who want to get into the wicked mindset of a killer. Vera swore never to return but she just can’t escape the pull of home – and all that it contains. This is chilling and impossible to put down! ―Andrea Richardson from Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia Buy from Fountain Bookstore
Sarah Gailey’s books are wildly imaginative and addictive. Just Like Home is a deeply twisted horror novel about the Crowder family and the symbiotic relationship they have with their house. The horror of the story lies in facts (Vera knows that her father was a serial killer) and in things too disturbing to be real (is there something living under Vera’s bed?) Where reality and the supernatural meet is the brilliance of this novel. ―Jamie Southern from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, South Carolina Buy from Bookmarks
About Sarah Gailey
Hugo Award Winner and Bestselling author Sarah Gailey is an internationally published writer of fiction and nonfiction. Their nonfiction has been published by Mashable and the Boston Globe. Their short fiction credits include Vice and The Atlantic. Their debut novella, River of Teeth, was a 2018 Hugo and Nebula award finalist. Their bestselling adult novel debut, Magic For Liars, was published in 2019. Their most recent novel, The Echo Wife, is available now. You can find links to their work at sarahgailey.com and on social media at @gaileyfrey.
Sarah Gailey leaned all the way into the truism that haunted house stories are a way to talk about how horrifying domesticity can be. How families can be a confusion of unkindness and violence and complicity. How home isn’t always something safe (that last one is something Gailey especially makes haunting amoeba strips from). This is the kind of book that’s hard to summarize because ultimately very little happens; or a lot happens but it’s all hinted-at and spoilers. Just memories and remembrances looping around and around in both a slow lead-up to the past and a constant questioning. You spend a lot of time basically knowing what’s likely around the corner, but still being lured in by how twisty it gets – until you don’t know who to root for, or if you’re supposed to be rooting for anyone, or if the serial killer is the villain. Gorgeous; dark, and glistening. Like soul chemotherapy.
Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey, (List Price: $26.99, Tor Books, 9781250174727, July 2022)
“Anxiety is actually why I write. It’s why I started telling stories to myself as a child, because I found if I could feed my anxiety a story then it wouldn’t rip me apart, and so I always had a story going on in the back of my head to tell myself instead of going through worst case scenarios of my own life. Part of what makes a lot of people with high anxiety good storytellers is your brain is constantly coming up with the worst case scenarios and playing through things and replaying them and replaying them and replaying them, and that lends itself well to writing and storytelling. ” —Kiersten White, interview, BookPeople
What booksellers are saying about Hide
Hide is an absolute funhouse of a book about a not-so-harmless game of hide and seek
in an eerily abandoned amusement park with an unexpected (but very much appreciated) dash of Greek mythology. White’s adult debut is sure to amuse and haunt. ―Kassie Weeks from Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL Buy from Oxford Exchange
Get ready for one horrifying game of hide-and-seek… White’s vivid, razor-sharp, and
terrifying story will sink its claws into you, and hold on tight. This book is shocking,
heart wrenching, and beautiful, and I am now utterly obsessed with it! ―Lucile Perkins-Wagel from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, FL Buy from Copperfish Books
Hide is a rollercoaster ride (pun intended) of a story that brings a few delightfully dark twists to the usual aspects of a horror novel. Mack, a young heroine with a terrifying past, is put in the position of fulfilling her destiny in a game of hide-and-seek where the stakes are life & death. White presents a diverse cast of characters and several are irredeemable… but there a few “rough-around-the-edges” outcasts that had me cheering for them the entire time. This is a great October-ish read that’s perfect for any season of the year. ―Stuart McCommon from Novel in Memphis, TN Buy from Novel
Kiersten White is incredible, capable of capturing the fantasy of the contemporary world, and how you can build mythology into anything. Including a hide and seek competition at an abandoned theme park in the middle of nowhere. This entire book is the creeping feeling that you’re being watched, and you know who is watching you, and you know they’re going to stab you in the back, the question is just when and where. Hide has the perfect eerie, horrific atmosphere with a good helping of social commentary that fans of Until Dawn and Us will absolutely love. ―Caitlyn Vanorder from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC Buy from Bookmarks
About Kiersten White
Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling, Bram Stoker Award-winning, and critically acclaimed author of many books, including the And I Darken trilogy, the Sinister Summer series, the Camelot Rising trilogy, and her adult debut, Hide. Her books have been published in over twenty territories, and her novel The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is currently in development with Sony Pictures Television.
Kiersten lives with her family in San Diego, where she can regularly be found pressing her hands against the glass of her back door, furtively whispering I love you to her deeply ambivalent tortoise, Kimberly.
Ah southern gothic, my dearest friend, you’ve done it again. Isabel Cañas has joined hands with the spookiest of ghosts and written a tale of romance, mystery, and horror that would have even the stoutest individual shaking in their boots, wondering who would survive, if any at all. I loved every single second of The Hacienda, and am remiss that it ever ended, considering how desperately the author makes you crave more. This book is absolutely perfect for fans of Crimson Peak and Mexican Gothic, but most importantly, it’s perfect for the adults who were once teens in love with the supernatural romances of the ’00s and early ’10s.
The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas, (List Price: $27, Berkley, 9780593436691, May 2022)
Reviewed by Caitlyn Vanorder, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
This is one freaky book, scary as all get out, and really, really, hard to put down! I was reading late the night (3pm) and the story was cresting on one of the many waves that keep the plot roiling when out of the corner of my eye I saw my bedroom door slowly begin to creak mournfully open. Needless to say I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Turns out it was just my cat stretching out but that incident just shows how immersed I got into this creepy good book.
The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig, (List Price: 28.99, Del Rey, 9780399182136, July 2021)
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher was my introduction to Kate Summerscale’s irresistible recounting of fascinating events often lost to history. In The Haunting of Alma Fielding she weaves the true story of a London housewife whose experiences of the supernatural capture the imagination of pre-WWII London, and of the ghost hunter who investigates the poltergeist and discovers a stranger, darker tale. Surrounding Alma, we get a vivid picture of a public captivated by the allure of the supernatural and simultaneously filled with growing anxiety over the prospect of a global conflict. A masterful combination of fact, propulsive storytelling, and atmosphere.
The Haunting of Alma Fieldingby Kate Summerscale (List Price: $28, Penguin Press, 9780525557920, 4/27/2021)
Reviewed by Clara Boza, Malaprop’s in Asheville, North Carolina